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Big media agencies v literary agents

5 July 2010

'Does this sort of convergence achieve that much-hyped "synergy" between platforms? Or do the greedy celebs hog the trough, leaving starveling literati with the scraps? A multi-media strategy pays richer dividends to busy, versatile authors for whom film adaptations, TV slots, press columns and the like come easily. For focused literary types who simply want the best deal for their words, other agents still keep faith with books alone. Besides, in a digital domain of self-managed online careers, growing numbers of writers could do without agents - and even publishers - at all. Save for superstars, e-books will mean that 10 (or 15) per cent of not very much - the usual agent's bargain - becomes a fraction of next-to-nothing. But don't blame glitzy talent-managers for our reluctance to pay properly for culture in the age of "free".'

Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor, in the Independent