With apologies for an element of cross-posting to readers of the copyright-focused 1709 Blog, this blog also reports on the survey on authors' earnings commissioned by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) in the United Kingdom from Queen Mary, University London's Phillip Johnson, Johanna Gibson and Gaetano Dimita).
The survey, What Are Words Worth Now? A Survey of Authors' Earnings, gives a non-too-encouraging picture of what an author might expect if he or she decides to live on income comprised of royalty revenue. You can read the report (12 pages) here. Among its findings, the report confirms that earnings derived from the digital commercialisation of authors' works are on the increase, but that overall incomes are coming down: the proportion of professional authors who earn a living solely from writing has fallen from 40% in 2005 to just 11.5% by 2013.
This blogger suspects that this figure may pick up a bit as more authors opt for self-publishing models and online delivery, while more readers use the internet for finding, selecting, buying and reading works, but there is a limit to the extent to which these efficiencies will compensate for the traditional ways of bringing books and their purchasers together, and entire categories of work such as interactive children's books and coffee-table books are unlikely to see any meaningful benefit at all.
I think this is very worrying. Writers are part of the way we understand and question life, and they provide the ideas which filter through to films and the rest of our culture and thinking. Losing writers must be detrimental to our civilisation.
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