This article is from Timesonline UK. 

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/b...

I'm no expert in business or high tech but these recent defections by best-selling authors, starting, I think, with business author Steven Covey and now including novelist Ian McEwan and perhaps soon Anne Rice (who I saw on an Amazon thread recently asking readers what they would think if she bypassed her publisher and inked a deal with Amazon) seem to me like foundational cracks to the infrastructure of existing publishing. (The chairman of the Society of Authors is quoted here as thinking much the same thing.)

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Are we surprised by these turn of events? Several of us in here have been predicting this to come along for some time now.
It's early yet. I remember quite a few years ago when Madonna signed with a concert promotion company instead of a record company. That was supposed to mean the end of record companies, but it hasn't happened yet (I know, they aren't as big as they used to be, but most music is still produced by record companies).

Fitzgerald was right, the rich are different, they really do play by different rules. What they do may not affect us much at all.

As for making space in bookstores, that's a big if. Jim Huang posted today (or mabe it was yesterday) that he's closing down his bookstore, The Msytery Company - we've sure heard that a lot lately.
That's sad news about Jim Huang. I've come to accept the routineness of bookstores closing, but he was always so visible, and hosted last year's Bouchercon so well. I'm sure he'll stay active in the crime writing fraternity (or sorority, as your gender dictates), but it's a shame the bookstore couldn't make a go of it.
Entirely predictable--so much so that even I predicted it. Expect a slow-motion jailbreak as one by one the big namers' current contracts play out and they start exploring their options.
I think what this illustrates to some extent is author rebellion against the stranglehold publishers have had on them.
In the years since I received my first contract and was starry-eyed about my publisher, "my friend, my supporter, my fan" I have heard from authors over and over again: "the publisher is NOT your friend. Write it on your forehead and never forget it again."

However, while one's agent continues to be the author's friend (similar interests), agents may not support such wholesale rebellion against print publication. My feeling is to be cautious at this point.

And may I add that I am resentful about the bestselling author's suggestion that "established" authors be given 70 % and others only 50 %?
There may have been more than one Anne Rice thread, John. In the one I read she was thinking forward too, not only backward. But she did say she appreciated what her publishers had done for her, and it was definitely an exploratory kind of questioning. I didn't mean to imply she was dead set on jumping ship, only a possibility, and I don't think she was speaking only of ebooks. (Of course this is all from memory, so I may have "misremembered," to quote Roger Clemens.)

In regard to ebooks, I don't know who knows what is "still the way to go." As for print rights, I agree with you, a big publisher is still best. Steven Covey is no idiot, I suspect, and he has bypassed big publishing in regard to his erights.

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