Wylie to Harvard: We’ll License Clients’ E-Books On Our Own

Harvard Magazine‘s July-August issue features a profile of Andrew Wylie (class of 1970). In addition to hashing through familiar Wylie lore (Andy Warhol, bad poetry, “The Jackal,” Martin Amis), the piece also gives readers Wylie’s take on the current state of the publishing industry–most notably, the question of e-books:

Wylie’s negotiations with publishers on the book industry’s version of the iPod, e-books, are currently on hold across the board. He’s dissatisfied with the terms publishers have been offering for e-book rights, which were not widely foreseen and are not allocated in most extant book contracts. Wylie threatens to monetize those unassigned rights by going outside the publishing business entirely: “We will take our 700 clients, see what rights are not allocated to publishers, and establish a company on their behalf to license those e-book rights directly to someone like Google, Amazon.com, or Apple. It would be another business, set up on parallel tracks to the frontlist book business.”

Witholding the rights to e-Roth and e-Rushdie? That’s potentially a pretty big threat.

Of course, this being the Harvard alumni magazine, we also get a bit of nostalgia for schoolboy days:

At Harvard, he would have graduated summa cum laude in French literature but for his brash political blunder of trashing one of his thesis advisers in the thesis itself.

Wylie to Harvard: We’ll License Clients’ E-Books On Our Own