The Internet Claims Its Latest Victim: Writers

From the Australian, a story about the British Society of Authors‘ fears that Internet will kill writing as we know it (“Writers lament effects of internet“):

Ms Chevalier said the century-old model by which authors were paid a mix of cash advances and royalties, was finished.

“It is a dam that’s cracking,” she said. “We are trying to plug the holes with legislation and litigation but we need to think radically.

… 

“For a while it will be great for readers because they will pay less, but in the long run it’s going to ruin the information. People will stop writing.”

Fortunately for these worried writers, there’s a terrific precedent already in place: the music business, when threatened by peer-to-peer filesharing, also tried to “plug the holes with legislation and litigation” and now enjoys more robust health than ever.

I kid, people, I kid.

It’s a complicated issue, but it’s certainly not the same as the crisis facing the owners of the music industry. And as someone who is intimately acquainted with the going pay rates for writing, I can say definitively that poor pay will not cause writers to stop working. Writing pays more and more poorly and yet more and more people want to be writers. If people only wrote for the money, then we’d have a problem on our hands.

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is the editor of Booklist Online and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix.

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