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Additional details emerge on Ian Fleming publishing deal

16-Mar-2012 • Literary

As MI6 reported earlier, the back-catalog of Ian Fleming novels will be heading to a new publisher this year as the contract with Penguin expires.

Most media coverage omitted the fact that Fleming's two non-fiction titles, 'Thrilling Cities' and 'The Diamond Smugglers', were included in the deal, but this was re-enforced today.

As well as the economics of the Bond license, speculation that a reported rift with Penguin over the e-book rights may have contributed to the publisher not extending their contract (IFP released the Fleming novels as e-books independently in 2010), and has been a key bargaining chip when shopping the deal around publisher.

IFP managing director Corinne Turner explained to The Bookseller website today: "When we were launching e-books in the UK ourselves, we were never saying we would keep e-book rights locked away forever. To look after Fleming in the current market, you need to have the full rights to manage the brand." Curtis Brown agent Jonny Geller, who handled the deal, added: "We didn't have any problem rolling the e-book rights back in—it shows publishers have moved on, and have a lot to offer."

The release schedule will see the paperbacks and e-books released this summer, and the Vintage Classics hardback editions after that, but before the new film "Skyfall" opens in cinemas.

Vintage managing director Richard Cable told the site: "We felt there were two overlapping but distinct audiences—a strong nostalgic audience, but also a new audience coming through all the time."

Penguin's children's imprint Puffin remain under licence for the Young Bond print editions, but the lucrative e-book rights remain with IFP, presumably looking for a new home, too.

Penguin UK CEO Tom Weldon said: "We were kindly offered a new 10-year licence but the financial value we placed on it was different to the one [IFP] placed on it. We wish James Bond and the Ian Fleming estate all the best."

IFP are still looking to close a deal for a publisher to take over the USA and Canada rights from Penguin.

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