In a long profile in the current issue of Harvard Magazine, agent Andrew Wylie revealed that eBook deals are “currently on hold across the board” at his famous agency, and cautioned publishers that he could take eBook rights elsewhere.
Wylie’s agency counts 700 clients, including major writers like Dave Eggers, Al Gore, Philip Roth, and Louise Erdrich–so these are not idle threats. eBookNewser has more about the article.
Here is an excerpt: “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.'”