Harvard Magazine profile of Andrew Wylie
Andrew Wylie is well-known within the literary community…and has recently become better known than he was outside of it.
He’s a literary agent, but one with his own mind and style.
In a way, he has recently broken the blockade around bookstores. While he has in the past negotiated with the guards at the gate to let his clients enter to sell their goods, he has just taken them off the well-trodden main road and brought them through a side entrance.
He has taken well-known and prestigious books, and rather than sold the e-book rights to a publisher, placed them directly in the Kindle store.
See this earlier post for a list of titles.
This has ignited a firestorm of response.
Who is this bold freethinker?
Harvard Magazine has an excellent
about Wylie that gives you some real insight and information.
It was written before the recent deal, as evidenced by this short excerpt:
“In his personal reading, Wylie has little use for e-book devices like Kindle, although e-book rights are currently a topic of intense discussion among all publishers and agents. “We spend 96 percent of our time talking about 4 percent of the business,” he says (e-books’ current share of publishing revenue). “That 4 percent will climb slowly, and I think it will grow first for frontlist,” he continues. “I suspect that the trashier the book, the more likely it is to be converted to an e-book. You don’t have a desire to save James Patterson in your library. Those who want to keep a book for a long time will buy a physical book.”
Now, I happen to think his opinion will evolve on this. The books he recently published are backlist, and have leapt into the top half a percent of books in the Kindle store.
Booklovers love the books…not just the medium in which it appears (although they love paperbooks, too). I think those that love the words adapt more easily to e-books. If you think of a book as “that thing on the shelf”, or in some cases, “that thing in the humidity-controlled case”, you may have more trouble getting past that.
I think those who want to keep the book forever may be more likely to want an electronic file. I feel more secure that my e-books will be able to be read fifty years from now than my paperbooks (especially mass market paperbacks of the past sixty years or so). I know of people who have lost a library to a fire, and know that it happens with floods and other issues as well.
I think when he sees how well these books sell that he will see that it is the booklovers, the constant readers, the word venerators who are leading the way to e-books.
I found the article quite fascinating, and I suspect many of you will as well. Of course, virtually all of you will read it in electronic form…
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.