Or else a real interest in its bottom line. Seriously, guys, if you have not been on Absolute Write and Writer Beware and John Scalazi's blog--in other words, you don't watch publishing--you have no idea the shitstorm the author community leveled at Hydra the last week or so. The level of wank and screaming has been positively beautiful. So what has the Random Penguin done in the face of all this screaming?
They've changed their tune.
Note: THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE. If there is ONE GROUP that should understand what authors will and will not put up with in contracts it is the big publishing houses who have to negotiate said contracts.
It's still a contract that will have you by the unmentionables if you don't negotiate, in part because negotiation is expected and Hydra is starting with "We get all the marbles" because they know you/your agent will bargan them down to a few dozen marbles and that really cool cat's eye shooter they wanted in the first place. But now they've shown that not only are they willing to negotiate, they're willing to throw out the bad shit they shouldn't have done in the first place.
The important thing is, if you submit you don't lose your book forever and always (REVERSION CLAUSE YAY!) and you won't be paying their expenses on the e-books.
I DO, however, want to point out that yes, you damn well are. Hydra is and always has been aimed at the more successful of the self publishing crowd. A 50/50 split is generous for professionally published books, but it is tiny compared to the 70/65/80 offered by KDP, Pubit and DA, respectively. You're getting a smaller cut of the pie because you're doing less. You're not editing, doing artwork or formatting on your own, so by taking that smaller cut you are, in effect, paying Random House to do it for you. Which I am fine with doing, if you manage to get into Penguin Random House's clutches. You'll be selling more books and making more money, so hooray for Trade publishing and not being a dick.
I still don't like them. I still think that any publisher willing to own Author Solutions and not clean it up has the integrety of a wet sponge, but they are officially no longer Darth Vader Death Star evil.
Will post if and when SWFA revises its decision RE: Hydra as a qualifying market. Stay tuned.