"Amazon is like IS" terrorist group says Andrew Wylie, literary agent of Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie

Lynsey Barber
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Wylie compared Amazon to IS (Source: Getty)

One of the most powerful people in the publishing world has compared Amazon to the Islamic terrorist group IS.

Andrew Wylie, agent to literary stars such as Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie, called the online retailer a “sort of Isis-like distribution channel” in a speech at the International Festival of Authors on the future of the industry.

In a single statement, Wylie has managed to take up a notch an ongoing, contentious and very public battle between the traditional publishing world and the online book retailer over ebook pricing that’s been rumbling on for a while now.

The literary agent, nicknamed “the jackal”, labelled Amazon’s tactics brutal and called on publishers to stand firm in their negotiations with the US firm over royalties for ebooks, the Guardian reports.

He told an audience in Toronto: “I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of Isis-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%. Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”

Famous authors have sounded off against Amazon about its desire to lower ebook prices which they say will cost writers much needed royalty money. Amazon meanwhile, has rounded on the big publishers for wanting to keep ebook prices artificially high rather than offering customers good deals, even urging readers to email Hachette boss Michael Pietsch about the issue.

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