Literary agent Andrew Wylie has said he believes the era of publishers cowering and giving in to Amazon is at an end, comparing the online retail giant to terror group ISIS.
In a keynote address at the International Festival of Authors in Canada, the agent spoke in detail about Amazon, addressing its ongoing dispute in the US with Hachette Book Group, and his own decision to pull his digital imprint from the online retailer, according to Canada's Quill and Quire magazine.
Wylie also gave his views on self-publishing, describing it as “the aesthetic equivalent of telling everyone who sings in the shower they deserve to be in La Scala”.
The agent was quoted as saying what was happening with Amazon was “a continuation of what used to go on with the chains”.
“It is a set of terms dictated by a digital trucking company, and the publishing industry, up until now, has cowered and whined and moaned and groaned and given Amazon pretty much everything they want,” Wylie continued. “Now I think that’s going to stop. I think Hachette, to their great credit, drew a line in the sand and didn’t fold…. The deal that Simon & Schuster cut with Amazon – and no one is allowed to know anything about the deal, and nobody has any idea what it is – but basically, it’s back to the agency model. And, it’s pretty good for authors. And there is a good chance, in my view, that Amazon will be told, 'You either do business on our terms, or we’re going to develop other channels of distribution.'"
Publishers Weekly reported that Wylie said publishers would be able to raise digital royalty rates for authors in the future if the health of the publishing industry increased.
“I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of ISIS-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”