Amazon trying to bypass publishers, acquire ebook rights direct from writers and agents

Here’s an interesting new development in the Amazon ebooks scramble – the online retailer is apparently trying to obtain Kindle publishing rights for some older and otherwise unlicensed titles direct from authors or their agents in the UK [via @DamienWalter]:

UK literary agents and authors have been approached directly to sell e-book rights to Amazon as it builds its Kindle e-book arsenal ahead of the UK launch of the iPad. US e-book publishers including Rosetta Books are also approaching UK agents and authors to buy backlist e-book rights, with Rosetta favouring an exclusive Amazon deal as part of the package.


A second UK agent said the approaches were being made by Amazon department Kindle Evangelist. “The way they represent themselves is, ‘We are following this big author, he/she is not available in e-book form, why not, can I do anything to expedite that?’ You may say ‘E-book rights have gone to Random House’, in which case they’ll accept that. But if you say ‘No deal has been done’, they might try to be more proactive—engineer a way to encourage the marriage [with the publisher], or even look to acquire the rights themselves.

That should stir up the kerfuffle again, I’m guessing.

2 thoughts on “Amazon trying to bypass publishers, acquire ebook rights direct from writers and agents”

  1. This sounds like good news to me, so long as the authors have the sense not to limit themselves to the Kindle deal. Why should the publishers be involved? They didn’t pay for e-rights.

  2. A year or so ago a friend of mine who works for a Major British Publisher asked me about out-of-print SF that I thought might have electronic rights available and a likely readership. The MBP involved was already scratching around for these rights in other areas, and had been for some time.

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