Update, 24 Aug 2010:Wylie’s agency has made-up with Random House and is canceling this deal with Amazon, so never mind.
Original post below:
Up until now, some of the biggest names in Western literature–Philip Roth, V. S. Naipaul, Hunter S. Thompson and Salman Rushdie for example–have been poorly represented in the ebook space. Thanks to an ongoing feud between publishers and authors, that changed dramatically last week.
That’s because just a few days ago, literary agent Andrew Wylie announced a new publishing venture named Odyssey Editions, which will issue ebook versions of some of the agent’s most famous clients. At the same time, Wylie revealed an exclusive two year deal between Odyssey and Amazon to sell twenty classic works of literature for the first time in ebook form.
The move delighted some in the publishing industry and infuriated a lot of others, especially Random House, which the next day announced it would stop buying any books from authors represented by Wylie’s literary agency. (Booksquare has a great overview of the business angle, if you’re interested in these behind the scenes shenanigans.)
There will continue to be debate over whether Odyssey Editions marks a new phase of business as usual in publishing, or whether it will cause problems. Personally, I hate the penny-pinching cover designs and hope this doesn’t become a trend among cheap publishers. Ugh.
The immediate and more important effect, however, is that the following twenty classic books are now available for your Kindle:
“The Adventures of Augie March”
Jorge Luis Borges
William S. Burroughs
“The Stories of John Cheever”
“The Naked and the Dead”
“The Enigma of Arrival”
“The White Castle”
“Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”
Hunter S. Thompson