I’ve talked with a few authors about digital rights since starting this blog, and more and more people are seeing digital rights as something separate to the print rights. Before e-book rights were something ‘thrown in’ to a contract. We’ll publish your book. Oh, and we’d like your digital rights as well, as long as we’re at it. But now authors are seeing these rights as something they should retain.
A recent article in The New York Observer notes that Andrew Wylie of The Wylie Agency has put digital rights on hold across the board. They are looking to bypass publishers and license books directly to Google, Apple, and Amazon. Once again, Publishers should be nervous. Just when it looks like e-books might prove to be a cash cow, agents and authors suddenly have a way to deal directly with the distributors. Why deal with a publisher when an author can keep 70% of the proceeds of a book?
To all authors out there, if you are about to sign a contract with a publisher, think long and hard before you sign away any digital rights. You might be giving away more than you think.