RARA-AVIS: Strange news about Jmes Ellroy

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 12 Jul 2000

http://www.inside.com/story/Story_Cached/0%2C2770%2C6322%2C00.html Wednesday, July 05 10:11 a.m. Another day, another e-publishing announcement. Or so it seems in the book world lately as publishers scramble to stake a digital claim in a field full of nontraditional upstarts like MightyWords, Xlibris and iUniverse.

The latest announcement came during the final week of June when agent Laura Nolan of Sobel Weber revealed that she is hosting what may be the first-ever auction for an e-book by a well-known writer. On July 10, Nolan will accept best bids for Widespread Panic, a collection of five fiction and nonfiction pieces by L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. All of the pieces have been published in GQ magazine, but Sobel Weber retains the e-book rights.

Nolan is expecting interest from both ''traditional and nontraditional publishers,'' and the winner will be responsible for the technical aspects of the project, as well as the marketing and distribution through online channels. No floor has been set for the auction, but Nolan says she will look at more than just the advance. One of the major areas of contention between agents and e-publishers has been the structure and rate of royalty payments. Mainstream publishers traditionally want to pay a standard royalty
(usually around 12 percent), while e-book outfits usually offer close to a 50-50 split.

Ellroy's auction comes as the e-publishing market is expanding, probably thanks to the highly successful spring publication of Stephen King's Riding the Bullet as a downloadable book.

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