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The Evil Empire?

It appears Simon & Schuster wants to replace Microsoft as the most hated company in America. They recently instituted a change in their boilerplate contracts making it virtually impossible for the rights to a book they publish ever to revert to the author. Response has been less than enthusiastic. The Author's Guild is up in arms. The PPW list serve had a link to this story on Publishers Weekly. If anything, the agents sound madder than the authors.

What were S&S thinking? And this in the same week Miss Snark announced she is (sob) retiring. The world seems a harder place somehow!

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2007 01:11 am (UTC)
I can see this S&S thing going two different ways. The first way is that no other publisher is willing to risk their livelihood (agents and their writers) and consequently S&S stops receiving manuscripts from agents and is forced to recant said contractual language. The other, more sinister response is that in short order, every major publishing house adopts similar language in their boilerplate contracts. The upshot of this is that writers and agents will either have to accept it or there will be a resultant upsurge in small publishers and what I'm thinking to call supported self-publishing, which would have more marketing support than the current self-publishing industry but less than a full-scale publisher would have. A conglomeration of writers may even come together to form their own publishing company.

Anyway, the old Chinese curse is absolutely relevant here; we do indeed live in interesting times.

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May. 21st, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
Interesting. Scenario 2 reminds me a lot of how the studio United Artists was founded. The actors got tired of the big studios making them sign contracts where the studios made all the money Some of the biggest stars, including Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, created their own company called, naturally, United Artists. Sounds like S&S will try to prevent that situation by allowing the biggest "stars" to get a better deal.
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