Thursday, February 28, 2008

Catch-up

A few things I think worth noting:

Kate Pullinger contributes a characteristically feisty article to today's Guardian drawing attention to the fact that authors are in danger of losing out in new contracts with publishers over digital rights. She points out that since digital books will make printing, warehousing and transport unnecessary,
'the primary function of a publishing house in the digital age is selection and branding, though even this is difficult to quantify and define: for the most part we don't buy a book because it is published by Penguin, we buy the book because we want to read that writer.

At the end of the day, the writer herself is a more valuable brand than the publishing house and it's time for writers to wake up to this fact: why should we sign contracts giving us a paltry 15% royalty in an industry where actual costs are being massively reduced overnight? Why aren't writers jumping up and down over this?'

Earlier this week, in the wake of William Sidelsky's Prospect article on newspaper review pages and in answer to earlier criticisms on the Guardian books blog, books editor Claire Armitstead set out her principles in drawing up The Review (and inevitably provoking further criticism from commenters).

Finally, I hope to god that Madame Arcati is writing a novel.

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