Alliance with D.C.-based percentery comes amid changes in book biz

In a response to the changes rocking the book publishing biz, ICM Partners has set a strategic alliance with Washington, D.C.-based Sagalyn Agency to bolster its already strong publishing department.

Sagalyn is a prosperous boutique run by Raphael Sagalyn, who reps a roster of more than 100 authors. The agency largely focuses on non-fiction writers, including journos, academics and business leaders, though it does rep some fiction heavyweights as well.

The pact calls for Sagalyn to be renamed ICM/Sagalyn. Although it is not an outright acquisition, ICM agents and Sagalyn may wind up co-signing clients, and Sagalyn will have access to ICM’s back office functions. ICM’s Media Rights Department will rep Sagalyn authors in setting deals for adaptations of books into film, TV and other media.

The ICM-Sagalyn alliance comes as the publishing biz braces for a round of consolidation, triggered by the merger deal announced last month of two book biz behemoths, Random House and Penguin Group. That union spurred speculation of more mergers to come in the challenged marketplace, with News Corp.’s HarperCollins unit reportedly making an unsolicited overture to CBS Corp. about a possible purchase of the Eye’s Simon and Schuster unit.

The bulking up among publishers has been spurred by the dramatic changes in the retail book marketplace in the past decade. Amazon and a handful of other online booksellers now thoroughly dominate sales and are increasingly dictating onerous terms on publishers large and small, according to biz insiders.

ICM/Sagalyn will field a formidable roster of authors including Dan Pink, Claire Shipman, Katty Kay, Franklin Foer, David Ignatius, Daniel Suarez, Howard Kurtz, David Simon and Ross Douthat.

“Publishing has never experienced a time of such challenges and opportunities, and it’s never been more important to have alliances that can take full advantage of a writer’s and thinker’s intellectual property,” Sagalyn said. “I’m very pleased to join with ICM Partners to help represent my clients’ interests and jointly develop new projects from my base here in the nation’s capital.”

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