The news Rosetta Books has announced a deal to a one-year exclusive with Amazon for the digital rights of author Stephen Covey should come as no big surprise. Hot on the footsteps of Random House’s attempt to land grab digital rights it recognises two things; authors are the creators of wealth and are often taken for granted and digital and physical aren’t the same no matter how much Random say they are.
Rosetta have, like they did in 2001, stepped into the breech and gone for what everyone knows is often fair game and available. Covey have said that they intend to continue to publish books with their traditional publisher Simon & Schuster, but publish digitally with Rosetta. Rosetta are widely reported to have more titles under negotiations.
Amazon says that Covey is their "13th bestselling author of all time."
So at a time when major trade houses are stalling on the release of digital titles, Random is claiming divine rights over all, others are voting with their feet.
So who owns the rights to the titles claimed by many under the Google Book Settlement?
The backlist, out of print titles and orphans all hold significant potential. The problem often is that they are left to fend for themselves and find there own way in a market still obsessed with the front list and those launch windows. Well maybe we are starting to see these often forgotten and under invested titles starting to fight back and authors come back from the dead.
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