As ebooks revolutionise the way we read, one author says they can cut an author’s income by a third.
Author Jodi Picoult – who having written some 19 published novels, is one of the biggest-selling female writers – claims that ebooks could be making it harder to make a living in the book industry.
Talking to the Sunday Times, she explains this is because not only do ebooks sell at lower prices than printed books, but authors also receive a smaller percentage when the books are downloaded.
“With the rise of the electronic book the pay scales are changing greatly,” she says, “if you sell the same number of books now as you did a year ago you will make a third less money.”
She believes the solution is for writers to try to revive interest in the printed book. “Instead of rushing around saying how can we enhance the ebook I am very keen to try to enhance the printed book,” she says, “there was a reason people used to buy books and pass them down to their children.
“There was a beauty to the physical produce which is sacrificed with the immediacy of the ebook.”
She is far from the only author to express concern about the rise of the ebook.
Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections and Freedom recently said he believed serious readers would always prefer printed versions.
He feels reading a book on screen, he felt as if the words could be moved around. “For a literature crazed person like me, it’s not permanent enough.”
Now Jodi Picoult, a mum of three – whose published novels have sold around 50million copies worldwide and who has also had four of her books turned into television films and one into a movie (My Sister’s Keeper, which stars Cameron Diaz) – is promoting physical books by writing a novel with her daughter Samantha, 16. Called Between the Lines the book, which is aimed at young people, is printed with full-colour illustrations.
Meanwhile, her new book Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult is published by Hodder & Stoughton on February 28 at £18.99.
What do you think about ebooks? Are they helping authors or not? Let us know your thoughts below…