Discussion and Analysis

Discussion and Analysis

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5214-9.ch010


A discussion and analysis of the key aspects emerging during the course of the research comprise the basis of this chapter. It addresses, inter alia, the effect of the parallel importing debate on authors’ rights, the issue of publishing contracts, the idea of a “heavenly library” and copyright protection on the Internet, including a discussion on how existing territorial copyright structures may be affected by electronic publishing. This chapter also considers the Google initiatives and possible new business models for authors. The emerging theme of resale royalties for authors is examined and compared with the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act 2009. In conclusion, observations are made on the role of the author in the changing publishing landscape, situating the author as member of the “author sphere” in the context of the public sphere.
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Authors’ Sources Of Income

Notably, most authors reported additional means of income from a variety of sources. Given the low general income derived from their writing, it was not surprising that 92% of part time and 57% of full time surveyed authors reported a supplementary source of income. As noted, at least 66 different professions/sources of income were described in the survey, as diverse as ‘waitressing,’ ‘town planner,’ ‘journalist,’ ‘university professor’ and ‘builder’s labourer,’ to name but a few examples. The interviewed authors described their occupations in a variety of ways, such as publisher, lecturer, marketer, legal practitioner, full time writer and in-retirement and wrote fiction, non-fiction, academic books, business books, memoirs and travel guides. This purposive sample group also included ‘elite’ interviews, by virtue of their expert knowledge of the writing industry. In both the full time and part time groups, the largest alternative income source was from teaching and academic work, with savings and investments the second most prevalent source. Several respondents also relied on Government grants to supplement their income.

It was evident that only ‘bestselling’ authors such as Earls relied purely on their writing to earn a living, whilst a number of interviewees derived income from teaching and journalism in addition to writing books. Even established and highly regarded authors such as Moorhouse recognised the economic difficulties faced by authors as evidenced by his earlier comments (2008, p. 4).

In the context of this research, the authors are earning even less than their counterparts (such as performing artists) in the arts industry (as reported by Cunningham & Higgs, 2010, p. 4), with authors reporting a higher incidence of multiple income sources. It is also evident from the list of job descriptions provided in Chapter 8 that many respondents are employed in capacities completely unrelated to writing and that many also rely on savings and investments. The largest group of respondents fell in the category of earning only $1,000 - $2,000 per annum from their writing, including nearly 18% of full time authors. Considering the fact that these were all ‘published’ authors, the findings show that financial motivation is not a primary concern for most writers, although a small percentage (2.3%) disclosed earnings in excess of $100,000 per annum.

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