Money Matters

Earlier this week, Scott Turow--author, lawyer, and president of the Authors' Guild--posted another one of his end times articles. It seems that I've seen articles by Turow every time there's a major court decision about copyright or whenever we've gone too long without someone lamenting the decline of reading. The next day, the rebuttals started to appear. A few days after Turow's article, I saw a follow up article to a story I've been following about the Night Shade Books buy-out reporting that the Night Shade authors would have their percentages increased.

All these articles got me to thinking about author compensation. The io9.com article about Night Shade Books lays out the new percentages, and they look woefully small. I realize full well that publishers need money for printing, editing, advertising, etc. But with ebooks starting to outpace print book sales, I wonder why the percentages haven't shifted in the authors' favor. I've actually wondered why ebooks haven't brought costs down for readers and librarians more. (With reference books, I've noticed that ebooks are often more expensive than their print counterparts. But that's for another blog entirely.)

I know a lot of the authors I read have day jobs. I really wish that they made enough to quit those jobs and write full time, but a writer needs to be wildly successful to be able to do that. It's a shame that our creative people aren't rewarded more, because they give us--as a society--what we need. Authors hold up a mirror to society to show us the things we're not seeing. They entertain us, but also teach us. As a species, we've been telling stories since we could speak coherently because stories help us make sense of the world. Turow needs to calm down because we will always need stories.

I still buy books, even though I use the library to get my reading fix, because I want to support the authors I love. If you're a reader, use the library, but don't forget to buy a book or two. 

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