Backlist e-book publisher Rosetta Books celebrated the first fruits of its settlement with Random House over e-books rights, announcing that it has licensed 51 titles by prominent Random House authors.
Arthur Klebanoff, founder and CEO of Rosetta Books, said he was "delighted" to bring the works of these authors to the electronic reading audience. The authors include such acclaimed and bestselling writers as Douglas Adams, Margaret Atwood, John Cheever, John Updike, Pat Conroy, Jonathan Herr and P.D. James. The books will be available in the MS Reader, Adobe e-Reader, Palm Digital and Mobipocket e-book formats. Klebanoff will now be able to offer about 150 titles through the RosettaBooks.com site. "We hope to be able to offer 500 titles by the end of the year," he said.
The licenses are exclusive to Rosetta and in many cases represent the first electronic editions ever released by these writers (with the exception of one or two expired Gemstar licenses), as well as the first electronic licenses approved by their agents. Among the agents and agencies approving the licenses are Andrew Wiley, William Morris, Robert Barnett and Janklow & Nesbit.
The deals were negotiated by the Random House subsidiary rights department, and Klebanoff was quick to praise the publisher for its work and cooperation—a marked change in the relationship between Rosetta and Random after more than a year of litigation over the e-book rights issue.
The licenses generally run for three years, with a three-year renewal option—standard sub-rights terms, according to Klebanoff—and include an advance against royalties. "The solution that ended this war," said Klebanoff, "has been standard industry practice. And 90% of the authors and agents approached approved the deals. That's a great batting average in area that has been in litigation."
Klebanoff said he is also in negotiations with at least two other New York houses and expects to announce the release of "dozens" of new e-book editions the near future.
The deal with Rosetta complements Random's own e-book efforts. Company spokesperson Stuart Applebaum said that Random House's e-book sales have improved steadily, and that first-quarter e-book sales were "the best period ever." Random House offers more than 1,200 e-book titles and, said Applebaum, is adding new titles every week.