Industry & Advocacy News
July 20, 2018
Our round-up of key news affecting authors. In this week’s edition: A really expensive paperback, the problem with children’s books, and how to create your author platform.
Amazon’s Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback
The New York Times
Third-party vendors can distort Amazon book prices in order to try and make a quick buck. By making the books appear artificially scarce, they can justify the prices they set. Peter Andrews, a former Amazon brand specialist, states: “If I’m selling a $10 book for $610, all I need to do is get one person to buy it and I’ve made $600. It’s just a matter of setting prices and wishful thinking.”
The International Publishers Association at WIPO: Drawing a Line at Copyright Exceptions
Each year, the World Intellectual Property Association holds an international meeting on copyright law. The takeaway: “Don’t try to develop international regulations in copyright exceptions. Leave them to each nation.”
How Musicians Get Paid (or Don’t) in the Digital Age
“You can die of exposure,” says Denise Donlon, a former music executive for Sony and CBS. Due to illegal downloading, musicians are now promised exposure instead of cash for their music, and it is harder than ever to transform renown into royalties. What do you do when everyone wants your work, but no one is paying up?
Only 1% of Children’s Books Have BAME Main Characters—UK Study
A recent UK study conducted by Arts Council England found that only 1% of children’s books have a main character who is black or minority ethnic. Additionally, those that do are disproportionately focused on political issues. The director of the study called the findings “stark and shocking.”
Look, Read, Listen—What’s the Difference?
Can someone say “I read the audiobook?” Are reading and listening really all that different? One writer argues that listening to an audiobook transforms the work into something else, often even diminishing it. At a time when audiobook sales are skyrocketing, this is an import distinction to make.
Netflix’s Millarworld Film and TV Adaptations Highlight the Importance of Books
The growing need for intellectual property by streaming giants “to develop into niche or four-quadrant hits across the mediums of television, film, and narrative audio” is opening up new opportunities for authors. “The ideal source material can be (relatively) inexpensively produced, can explore a massive variety of ideas, and is copyrighted by a single individual, making the rights easy to negotiate.”
Writing a Book or Article? Now’s the Time to Create Your ‘Author Platform’
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Even if you’re more interested in reach than sales, success requires effective marketing—and that requires the intense involvement of the author. Not having a well-developed author platform means missing out on one of the best ways to ensure the success of your work. Just relying on your publisher to get your name out is never enough.
G.M. Used Graffiti in a Car Ad. Should the Artist Be Paid?
The New York Times
“If GM’s view prevailed,” writes a lawyer for the aerosol artist, “all graffiti art that exists on a building—that is, most graffiti art—would suddenly be unprotected by copyright.”
Book Sales Boom but Authors Report Shrinking Incomes
Despite UK publishers’ record-breaking £5.7 billion in sales for 2017, authors’ earnings are down, and publishers are not necessarily seeing higher profits. Overpaying celebrity authors and underpaying those who write for a living is one part of the problem. Others accuse Amazon “of using its power to keep book prices artificially low, which had undermined authors’ incomes.”