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Tuesday, 8th July 2014

UK: What Are Words Worth Now? A Survey of Authors' Earnings

Source: Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)(UK)

From Press Release:

“What Are Words Worth Now?”, a survey of almost 2500 working writers, commissioned by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and carried out by Queen Mary, University of London has found that increasingly few professional authors are able to earn a living from their writing.

The survey found that in 2013, just 11.5% of professional authors (defined as those who dedicate the majority of their time to writing) earned their incomes solely from writing. In 2005*, 40% of professional authors said that they did so.

The typical (median) income of the professional author has also fallen dramatically, both in real and actual terms. In 2013, the median income of the professional author was just £11,000, a drop of 29% since 2005 when the figure was£12,330 (£15,450 in real terms). According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation figures, single people in the UK need to earn at least £16,850 before tax to achieve a Minimum Income Standard (MIS).

In contrast to the sharp decline in earnings of professional authors, the wealth generated by the UK creative industries is on the increase. Statistics produced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 show that the creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy (over £8 million per hour) and the UK is reported as having “the largest creative sector of the European Union”, and being “the most successful exporter of cultural good and services in the world”, according to UNESCO.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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