As the publishing industry business model adjusts to the increased importance of digital sales and discovery, agents have also been adjusting to the new digital reality. They’ve allowed Amazon to circumvent publishers and work directly with authors, while others have extended their businesses to include film production based on their clients’ books. Now, UK literary agency Andrew Lownie has announced it’s launching a new imprint called Thistle Publishing.
Using Amazon publishing program White Glove, Thistle will “release e-books and print-on-demand copies of titles where the e-book rights are not controlled by a publisher” according to The Bookseller. In the piece, Lownie says the economics of Amazon’s program are just better for authors, and agents by extension. The White Glove program pays authors 70%, if the e-books are priced between £1.49 and £7.81.
He added, “Publishers will be left behind if they don’t adapt.” Just last month, bestselling author Joe Simpson parted ways with Random House citing disadvantageous e-book royalty rates.
Lownie said the agency was still focused on representing authors, but it made sense to expand into publishing. “There are some books that don’t fit the conventional model, where publishers don’t see the market for it, but we do — or they can’t publish it quickly enough.”
Fellow UK lit agency Curtis Brown has also partnered with Amazon. It launched a digital self-publishing program called Curtis Brown Creative via Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace in December 2012.