If you haven't heard, the Wylie Agency has lost its e-book battle with Random House, meaning that thirteen of the twenty contested e-titles are back under Random House's control. While I'm sure this has soured both Wylie and Amazon (with whom Wylie made the exclusive sales contract) on The Big House, it's an important victory for the publisher and, I think, for their authors. Also, Amazon gets to sell those e-books (via Random House) regardless, so I'm not sure how upset they really are.
What does that mean for you, gentle readers and writers?
First and foremost, it means that you need to be more aware than ever about e-rights: what your contract says about them, what your royalty rates are, under what conditions those rights can revert, &c, &c. Electronic rights are going to be immensely important over the next five years, and if you and your agent aren't on top of your game, any mistakes you make can and will come back to bite you.
Second, as I've mentioned before, I do think that electronically native imprints and sales models that more closely knit the acquisition and sales forces are the way of the future. That is to say: while Wylie went about this project the wrong way, I think their idea has merit and may represent the prevailing sales model in the next decade or two (smaller agency/house hybrids with more emphasis on e-books).
Finally, it signals (to me, at least) the necessity of editorial, computer-savvy, and legal input into the publication process, meaning that regardless of where e-books go in the next few years, you're still going to want someone on your side to edit, format, and sell your book.
What do you think, bros and she-bros?