Gibson, Johnson and Dimita (2015)
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|Gibson, Johnson and Dimita (2015)|
|Title:||The Business of Being an Author: A Survey of Author’s Earnings and Contracts|
|Author(s):||Gibson, J., Johnson, P., Dimita, G.|
|Citation:||Gibson, J., Johnson, P. And Dimita, G. (2015) The Business of Being an Author: A Survey of Author’s Earnings and Contracts. Available: https://orca.cf.ac.uk/72431/1/Final%20Report%20-%20For%20Web%20Publication.pdf (last accessed: 23 May 2019)|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Kretschmer, Gavaldon, Miettinen and Singh (2019)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data were obtained via a survey of writers belonging to the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Agency and Society of Authors. The survey sought to determine information regarding writers’ earnings and contractual issues. In total, the survey returned 1,477 complete responses (a 7% response rate).|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“A survey of authors was carried out between January and March 2014 with approximately 35,000 writers being contacted and asked to complete the survey. There were 2,454 respondents (7% response rate) starting the survey and 1,477 respondents (4.2% response rate) completing it. The results therefore present a fair reflection of UK authors in 2014.”
Main Results of the Study
Authors earnings have been fallen by 19% since 2005, with present average earnings of £16,809; full-time authors (spending 50% or more of their time writing) have also experienced a decline in earnings of 8%, with average earnings of £28,340. However, the writing profession appears to favour a “winner-takes-all” structure, with a small concentration of authors earning a disproportionately high amount of money. As such, median earnings are considered more accurate, though represent a more significant drop in earnings; per these figures, authors earn £4,000 and professional writers £11,000 (less than minimum wage). Earnings may vary according to age (with younger authors earning less) and gender (with professional female authors earning approx. Average 80% of male earnings).
The survey suggests an improvement in author/publisher relationships, with many authors retaining copyright in their work (only 12% never retaining copyright in their work following publication). Advances continue to be paid, though with less frequency (only 66% reportedly receiving such) and for lower value (44% reporting a decrease over the last 5 years). Moral rights continue to be enforced by authors, and are rarely disputed with publishers (occurring with only 4% of authors). Nonetheless, authors perceive themselves as having a weaker bargaining position than they did five years ago, and buy-out contracts remain common (with 46% having signed such a contract).
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The report does not offer any policy recommendations. Instead the report suggests worsening wages for authors overall, and particularly professional authors, though some modest improvement with contractual relationships with publishers.