Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Digital Age: Better Or Worse For Writers?

The hot topic this year at the Frankfurt Book Fair will be the impact of the digital age on writers. While some writers are finding the atmosphere is more conducive to getting published, other writers are finding themselves on the defensive against unscrupulous users who are freely trading their protected work.

This is an interesting conversation with two clearly opposite sides to the same coin. On the one hand, it is now easier than ever to get your work published and promoted to a wide audience via any number of ebook publishers. This proliferation of digital literary work means more opportunities for writers.

For published writers, people downloading and sharing their electronic works is both good news and bad news, especially if they are not getting a slice of proceeds. Prolific horror writer Stephen king has made no secret of his dislike of used book retailers because, as he points out, every time a book is sold the writer should get their fair share.

It is clear there is more work which could be done to protect published authors from losing out on revenue, but it is certainly advantageous for them to protect the electronic publishing houses which make it possible for more writers than ever before to control their own destinies.

What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment.

Buying and selling of rights to works has soared by 30 percent in the last seven years, Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos said.

"Rights trading has become broader and has become a trade with companies, with people, agents who we did not (even) know in recent years," he told reporters.

"Suddenly there are lots of people with whom one has to talk."

He highlighted Cornelia Funke, one of Germany's best-known children's authors, whose book "Reckless" was written with a scriptwriter alongside from the start.

"A book contract for us is 10 pages at the most. In the film industry they are thousands of pages because everything must be covered," Boos said of the practical challenges.

Click here to read more about the Frankfurt Book Fair.


Voice of LIberty said...

That is just pure greed. The author should get royalties every time the book is sold, resold, etc? What? Is he f-ing kidding? It's attitudes like that that lead to waste because no one will want to pay a higher price for a used book, so it would just be thrown out instead.

Jerry Battiste said...

It seems to me we could all benefit from a system that accounts for every sale of a book. Time was,we couldn't control whether someone bought a book and handed it to their friend when they were done with it. In the Digital Age I would like to think we have MORE control, not less.