Authorship, says former Authors Guild President Roy Blount, Jr., is “a noble tradition, but a precarious line of work.”
That’s never been truer than it is today. Unauthorized digital uses expose our books to heightened risk of piracy. Publishers insist on an unfair split of e-book royalties. Opponents of copyright believe infringement is justified because “information wants to be free.”
The digital revolution presents great challenges to authors, but it also provides great opportunities. New technologies can benefit everyone in the book trade; they can eliminate the distance between authors and readers, deliver an enhanced reading experience, and incentivize publishers, distributors, and retailers to innovate in the digital economy.
Recent developments have only confirmed our view that when authors are treated well, all boats will rise together. When they’re not, the struggles between publishers and distributors threaten to overwhelm the field, at the expense of the creators whose works are essential to its continued prosperity.
Writing is a craft we hone daily. But writing is also a business; it’s the way many of us pay the bills and put food on the table. As the nation’s largest society of professional authors, the Authors Guild makes sure its members are up to speed on the latest developments in book publishing—and we make sure our members know how these developments will affect the bottom line.