Perseus Will Help Literary Agency Clients Self-Publish E-Books

In recent months, several major literary agencies have added e-book publishing services for their clients–the largest so far being Trident Media Group, which announced Trident E-Book Operations just last week. Now Perseus Books Group is launching Argo Navis Author Services, which will help literary agencies jump on the bandwagon and offer those e-book publishing services to their authors.

Literary agencies Janklow & Nesbit and Curtis Brown are the first agencies to sign up to offer Perseus’s new service to their clients, the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) reports, with “more than a dozen other agencies” also close to signing on. One of those others is ICM, Publishers Lunch reports. The agencies aren’t required to sign exclusive agreements with Perseus.

The revenue split is 70 percent for the author, 30 percent for Perseus. That’s the same split that Kindle offers to book, magazine and newspaper publishers. Traditional publishers generally keep 75 percent of e-book revenues and offer just 25 percent to authors.

Argo Navis will provide primarily distribution and marketing services, “like placing product pages on retailer Web sites,” the NYT reports, with beefed-up marketing services available for an extra charge.

As more literary agencies either add e-book publishing services or begin publishing e-books outright, some agents and others have raised concerns about conflicts of interest. In a possible attempt to circumvent those concerns, Perseus CEO David Steinberger told the NYT, “We’ve heard from authors that they may have a book that’s never been published, but it doesn’t fit what their existing publisher is looking for.”