Everyone breathe easy: Andrew Wylie and Random House are friends again. As the headline in the Bookseller would have it, the publisher has won the battle: the literary agent has agreed not to release electronic versions of Random House titles under his own imprint, Odyssey Editions (a name perhaps implicitly casting Random House and the other big publishers as Polyphemus and the Cyclopes). In return, however, Wylie has won a better deal on royalties, at least for the big-name writers under dispute, or in many cases their estates. Boyd Tonkin suggested in the Independent last month that this may have been his plan all along. And Wylie more or less admitted what he was up to in an interview with the Financial Times a couple of days later:
I am only trying to make a point in order to underscore the importance of getting the right terms with a view to uniting the two [print and digital] revenue streams.
Point emphatically made and, it would seem, taken. (Wylie sails away laughing; publishers blindly hurl rocks into the sea.) The biggest loser is Amazon, who had an exclusive deal to sell the Odyssey books on Kindle. But few people will be shedding any tears over that.