Growing list of French publishers refuse to deal with the Jackal
French publishers just aren’t having anything to do with it. Rien. According to a report by Barbara Casassus and Philip Jones for the Bookseller,
Agent Andrew Wylie has moved to reassure French publishers over electronic rights after a number ceased trading with his agency following the agent’s decision to set up as a digital publisher earlier this year. One, Antoine Gallimard (pictured), described Wylie’s move as “unacceptable”. Gallimard is one of 50 signatories to an open letter published in today’s Bookseller Daily that warns agents against splitting digital and print rights. A number will meet Wylie in Frankfurt to discuss the row.
The letter, from the French Publishers Association (Syndicat National de l’Édition), was written as a response to “the actions of certain agents who seek to position themselves as direct competitors to the publishers of their own author/clients” — a thinly disguised reference to Wylie. Wylie made good on a threat to ‘do digital’, when he launched Odyssey Editions in July with a deal with Amazon to sell 20 titles exclusively.
The SNE letter explicitly warns against putting digital rights in the control of “outside parties”, including “agents”, who it said were “liable to endanger the equilibrium within the profession”. The “commercialisation” of electronic rights was “the natural responsibility of the publisher”, the letter states.
According to the report, many of France’s leading publishers have signed on, including: “Gallimard, president of the French Publishers Association (Syndicat national de l’Édition, SNE) and chief executive of Editions Gallimard, Flammarion Teresa Cremisi, Albin Michel c.e.o. Francis Esmenard, Editis c.e.o. Alain Kouck, La Martinire c.e.o. Hervé de la Martinière, Média Participations c.e.o. Vincent Montagne, Hachette Livre c.e.o Arnaud Nourry and Actes Sud c.e.o. François Nyssen.
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.