Home » Technology News » 2011 » August » August 19, 2011

'E-books becoming threat to aspiring writers', says leading author

August 19, 2011 - London

E-books are increasingly becoming a major threat to the future of English literature because aspiring writers will not be paid enough to make a living, a leading author has claimed.

The Telegraph quoted Graham Swift, who won the Booker Prize in 1996 for his novel Last Orders, as saying that new writers face earning lower royalties for their work as e-books than for traditional hard- and paperbacks.

"If aspiring authors see that they are unable to make a living from their work, it may cause them to give up and leave potentially great stories unwritten," Swift said.

"I wouldn't envy a young aspiring writer now," he said.

"E-book does seem at the moment to threaten the livelihood of writers, because the way in which writers are paid for their work in the form of e-books is very much Up in the Air," he added.

Describing the arrival of e-books as the greatest change for authors, Swift accused e-book sellers of using digitalisation as an excuse to pay writers less.

"When anything goes digital, let alone something as immaterial as a book, there is a tendency to see it as just in the air to be taken, and to lose the sense that somebody once made it," the paper quoted Swift, as saying.

"I think the purveyors of e-books are only too happy for this atmosphere of 'everything belongs to everybody' to increase because it means they don't have to think so much about the original maker of the thing, or they can get away with paying them less," he said."Unfortunately writers take a very small part of the profit on their books, and I think in the e-book world there is a real danger they will take even less, unless they are vigilant and robust about protecting their own interests," he added.


Comment on this story