The Aussie boutique literary agency that originally sold FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY to Random House has made the news feeds for some time. We’ve all read about the person who found this or that at a garage sale, bought it for five dollars, and it’s worth a half-million, and now the seller wants the item returned. The courts are all over the place on this, with respect to their rulings. I bring up this matter because of the ongoing court case in Australia involving the owners of the boutique literary agency that signed Erika Leonard (E.L. James) and originally sold the rights to the first GREY for one million dollars. With the book’s runaway sales numbers, and the sequels as well, the literary agency ended up with forty million dollars.
The agency was owned by four people, and as one might guess, the greed factor quickly entered the scene. One partner is suing for the ten million she never received, and while the judge has ordered that this amount is be set aside in an escrow account, the money supposedly has been spent, and now it appears that some real estate is sought to satisfy the claim. Good luck on that one. The funny part about this is, the agency owners were reported to have been beyond ecstatic to receive the original million. And I never understood how they were entitled to a dime more, let alone thirty-nine million. Does a lack of business acumen guarantee restitution? If it does, I know a lot of people who should be right up there with Bill Gates.
Update: In September of 2016 a judge purportedly settled in the dispute, and the Aussie literary agency partner who filed suit is now supposed to be paid the $10 million.