Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gabriel Garcia Márquez Offers €5 Ebook

The Guardian reports that "the Spanish-speaking world's most famous literary agent, Carmen Balcells" has struck a deal with Spanish ebook downloading site Leer-e that will enable her client authors to sell their ebooks directly to consumers and also set their own prices.

As these do not hold the Spanish-language electronic rights to most of her authors' books, Balcells is in effect publishing them directly through leer-e. "I cannot tell you exactly what rights the authors get, but I can say that it is much more than they get from their books printed on paper,'' said Ignacio Latasa, co-founder of leer-e.

He said about 120 works by the authors on Balcells' books would eventually be available to download from leer-e. A dozen are already on the site.

It is not so much the pricing that is revolutionary since €5 approximates $9.99 but that Balcells has done an end run around publishers. There have been some suggestions that literary agents could become more active in 'selling' their stable of authors (or a long established literary property) directly to an ebook distributor rather than working with a publisher. Some literary estates may have been purchased recently with the intention of leveraging new formats without the need to 'bother' with a publisher. The vast bulk of these literary collections are finished works and therefore a publisher could be limited in the amount of value-add they can offer.

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