Literary Mega-Agency Andrew Wylie has gone and started a brand-new e-book war. They have exclusively signed some of their highest-profile clients, including Salman Rushdie, John Updike, Saul Bellow, William S. Burroughs, and Oliver Sacks, to exclusive e-book deals with Amazon, meaning that many huge books (including Updike's Rabbit series) will only be available on the Kindle in e-book format for at least two years. The books will be published under Wylie's own Odyssey imprint.
Random House announced that they will do no new English-language business with Wylie. This is a fairly huge thing: Authors and bookstores can already be their own publishers, and now agents are getting into the publishing game, further devaluing the authority of huge publishers. It will be interesting to see how Wylie prices the books, too: On the whole, agents have been claiming that e-book prices are too high and that authors are getting too small of a cut of e-book sales.
If these exclusive deals with DRMed e-book outlets keep coming, someone is going to have to design a Threadsy-like interface that will allow people to see which of their books are on which platform.