On Lessons Learned (From The Writers’ Strike)

February 28th, 2008 · No Comments
by Kassia Krozser

While I’m entirely in favour of digitising content – the idea that every book ever written in whatever language could be available at the click of a mouse or tap on a button seems like a grand utopian ideal to me, bigger, better, and more democratic and accessible than anything Gutenberg could have envisioned – the problem is that the royalty terms publishers are offering for digitisation are almost exactly the same as terms offered for publishing books. Figures vary from one publishing house to the next, but most seem to be settling on somewhere between 10% and 20% of the retail price of the book.
. . .
At the end of the day, the writer herself is a more valuable brand than the publishing house and it’s time for writers to wake up to this fact: why should we sign contracts giving us a paltry 15% royalty in an industry where actual costs are being massively reduced overnight? Why aren’t writers jumping up and down over this?

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