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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Bottom 50 per cent of UK authors made less than £10,500 in 2013

The median earnings of authors in the UK has fallen below the minimum wage, according to a survey of 2,500 writers, published by researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Bookshop - Image credit - Furcifer pardalis

The Business of Being an Author, commissioned by the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS), found “huge inequality” in authors’ earnings, with the top five per cent of earners accounting for 42 per cent of total authors’ income

The study found that just one in ten authors can afford to work solely as a writer, compared with 40 per cent in 2005.
In real terms, the researchers found that authors’ earning have declined by eight per cent since 2005.

The report also found that:

  • The bottom 50% (those earning £10,432 or less) earned just seven per cent of authors’ cumulative income
  • 17 per cent of authors did not earn any money from writing in 2013, despite 98 per cent of these having had a work published or exploited in each year from 2010 to 2013
  • Since 2005, the typical author has become poorer against society as a whole and now (from self-employed writing) earns only 87% of the minimum wage

The research was carried out by Professor Johanna Gibson, Queen Mary University of London; Professor Philip Johnson, Cardiff University, and Dr Gaetano Dimita, Queen Mary University of London.

Image credit: Furcifer pardalis

About the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Institute (QMIPRI)

For media information, contact:

Mark Byrne
Public Relations Manager
Queen Mary University of London



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