Fixing Author-Publisher Partnerships

Authors guild book publishing contracts digitalAs The Authors Guild sees it, the digital age has not been kind to most authors.

According to preliminary results from a recent survey of its members, the organization finds authors’ income from their writing fell 24% over the past five years.

“Authors are earning less, but publishers are making as much money as they used to,” says Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director of the Authors Guild.

While that problem has several causes, the proliferation of “clauses that have become even more draconian in recent years” is, in Rasenberger’s view, one key culprit.

In response, the Authors Guild launches a “Fair Contract Initiative” geared toward arming authors with knowledge—and, it hopes, negotiating power—about ways to press publishers for better terms.

Much more.

Related: Authors Adjust Outlooks for Leaner Times

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Authors Guild Partners with Open Road (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
The organization quietly discontinues a partnership with the controversial publishing service provider Author Solutions and makes a deal with Open Road Media, allowing Authors Guild members to get their back-list ebook and audiobook titles back into the digital marketplace.

Can Start-ups Prod Publishers to Innovate? (DBW)
For many publishing start-ups, innovation—rapid and often dramatic—is a matter of life or death, yet traditional publisher tend to adjust much more slowly to the very same market changes. At BookExpo America last week, several start-up heads weighed in on why and explained how publisher–start-up partnerships can help push innovation forward in the industry.
Related: How Innovation Happens (and How It Doesn’t)

Digital Book World Expands Resources for Publishers (DBW)
Today we’re rolling out a new monthly series of digests focusing on key areas of the publishing ecosystem. Called “DBW In Brief,” each concise, curated issue is free to download and showcases a range of expert insights and opinions. We’re also relaunching our membership program to include free, unlimited access to Digital Book World University courses and automated delivery of each monthly brief in the new series. Details and a limited-time discount right here.

Publishers Trade Free Ebooks for Social Shares (GalleyCat)
Hachette and Simon & Schuster are two of several publishers running pilot programs with the social media marketing platform BookGrabbr, which lets publishing partners distribute free samples and, in some cases, full editions of their ebooks to readers who help promote those titles within their social networks.

Social E-Reader Glose Launches Android App (TechCrunch)
The mobile app offering users an interactive, social e-reading experience expands to Android-running devices and adds a selection of free ebook samples to its content offering. Glose says its publishing partners now number around 600.

Why Amazon Is Offering Free Same-Day Delivery (Wired)
Amazon’s decision last week to drop the charge associated with the same-day delivery service it offers Prime members for certain goods strikes one observer as falling in line with the “growth-before-profits” strategy the e-tailer is known for. If the program “becomes popular, consumers may come to expect that same level of service at the same price from everyone else—and everyone else will be hard-pressed to match it.”

Free Speech Demonstrators Decry China’s BEA Spotlight (NYT)
While a 500-person delegation of Chinese publishers gathered as guests of honor at BookExpo America last week, activists including best-selling Chinese authors convened to protest the censorship that they say pervades the country’s publishing establishment. Advocates for freedom of expression say they worry global business interests will supersede those concerns.

James Patterson Starts Kids’ Imprint (Pub Lunch)
The best-selling author unveils “jimmy patterson,” a new Little, Brown imprint dedicated to middle-grade and young adult titles whose proceeds will help support a range of charitable programs focused on literacy, schools and libraries.

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