CEO of Macmillan is appalled at the Wylie deal; Random House disputes rights
July 22, 2010 | 2:50 pm
By Paul Biba
Macmillan CEO says of the Wylie deal, in his blog:
I am appalled, however, that Andrew has chosen to give his list exclusively to a single retailer. A basic tenet of publishing is that our function is to reach as many readers as we can. We disseminate our books and the ideas within them as broadly as possible. I understand why Amazon wants an exclusive deal with Andrew. They have asked us too for exclusive product, as has every major retailer we deal with. This is smart retailing, and a great deal for Amazon. But it is an extraordinarily bad deal for writers, illustrators, publishers, other booksellers, and for anyone who believes that books should be as widely available as possible. This deal advantages Amazon, which already has the dominant share in this market. …
This move further empowers the dominant player in the market to the detriment of their competitors and creates an unbalanced retail marketplace. In short, the exclusive-to-Kindle aspect of this deal has no strategic value at all for authors and publishers. Given the advantage for Amazon, I’m sure the deal has been financially attractive for Andrew Wylie’s new venture. In the long run, though, making literature exclusively available digitally to a single retailer will be damaging to the whole book community: authors, agents, publishers, and readers.
In a related story Random House said:
“We are disappointed by Mr. Wylie’s actions, which we dispute. Last night, we sent a letter to Amazon disputing their rights to legally sell these titles, which are subject to active Random House publishing agreements. Upon assessing our business options, we will be taking appropriate action.”