Is the end of the publishing world nigh?

News that agent Andrew Wylie has bypassed conventional publishers to sell his clients' ebooks direct to Amazon has created panic. Is it curtains for conventional publishing asks The Guardian?

Wylie's authors include Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and John Updike. His new venture called Odyssey Editions is launching with just 20 titles, but publishers are hitting back wondering where this leaves them in the traditional publishing model.

Random House, which publishes Roth, Rushdie and Amis in the UK, has written to Amazon already 'disputing their rights to legally sell these titles'. It declared Wylie a 'direct competitor' and ruled out 'entering into any new English-language business agreements with the Wylie Agency until this situation is resolved'. And book retailer, Waterstones is none too happy about it either.

The Guardian asks, "In the week when Amazon claimed that ebook sales passed those of hardbacks the questions are unavoidable: who needs big publishers? Are the interests of writers and readers best served by big publishers, or the Jackal?"

The jury's out on this one.