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Authors Not Offering Lower Royalties For Waterstones Living Wage

In a move that will surprise absolutely no one at all various non-thinking authors are demanding that Waterstones pay a living wage without varied non-thinking authors actually offering to pay any of it themselves. Now, that does really surprise, doesn’t it?

But that is what they’re doing. Demanding and not offering:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] More than 1,300 writers including Kerry Hudson, David Nicholls, Sally Rooney, Michael Rosen and Val McDermid have backed a campaign for Waterstones booksellers to be paid the living wage. The support follows a petition from staff at Waterstones, signed by more than 6,000 people, which calls on the book chain’s managing director, James Daunt, to pay booksellers a starting living wage of £9 an hour, or £10.55 for the Greater London area. “Working for a rate of pay that is below the living wage results in booksellers who are stressed, preoccupied and who have little spare time and energy to devote to buying books, reading them, and keeping up with news and trends in the industry – all of which activities are undertaken outside contracted hours, and which many staff consider to be (and are encouraged to view as) integral to their role,” says the petition. [/perfectpullquote]

Well, super, but the only moral way of insisting that this group over here get more money is to offer to dip into your own wallet to make that happen. Is this what our authors are suggesting?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Hudson, the author of Lowborn (Chatto & Windus), and Lounge Marketing’s Sam Missingham drafted the letter, which has been published on Organise. Val McDermid, Sally Rooney, Damian Barr, Juno Dawson and Daniel Hahn also signed the letter as well as former Waterstones bookseller and One Day (Hodder) author Nicholls. The letter calls on Waterstones to “acknowledge” booksellers’ expertise with an increased wage, adding booksellers play a “vital role” in literary culture. Hudson said she was “shocked” the real living wage was not a standard at Waterstones and said if the pay increase is not possible now then “surely a real and public commitment to becoming a living wage employer in a fixed period of time should be.” [/perfectpullquote]

Are they hell.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Waterstones says it can’t pay living wage, as 1,300 authors support staff appeal
Managing director says book chain ‘simply not profitable enough’, as Sally Rooney, Val McDermid and other authors write to protest[/perfectpullquote]

For they’re not demanding that their publishers sell to Waterstones cheaper so that the booksellers get paid more, are they? Nor are they insisting their publishers cut their royalties on sales to Waterstones so that the booksellers get paid more. Instead they’re demanding that the other suppliers, the suppliers of capital to the firm, should get less.

“Give these people more of that guy’s money!”, the cry of the political whore down the ages. Still, makes a nice list of people not to read, or at least not to spend money on having read, doesn’t it?

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Rhoda Klapp
Rhoda Klapp
5 years ago

Whereas Amazon tells you more about the book, lets you read reviews, gives an array of prices, tells you if you can get it cheaper 2nd hand, will sell you an ebook. And they have all the books, not just a few.

5 years ago
Reply to  Rhoda Klapp

And makes suggestions for other books and knows what you have already bought and can deliver it to any address you want.

5 years ago

Couldn’t they find J K Rowling?


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