Philip Pullman calls for authors to get fairer share of publisher profits
The source article is worth a look, as it contains more statistics:
The profits from publishing: authors' perspective | The Bookseller
The statements by a publishing industry chief executive in the final paragraph of the Guardian article are a prime example of despicable doublespeak, in which he justifies the divide-and-rule tactics of contracts in a patronising way:
Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said on Monday that “publishers absolutely recognise that writers should be fairly rewarded for their work and they do a huge amount to support talent”.
“Royalties and advance flows are agreed on an individual, case-by-case basis and will vary across the industry. Publishers do communicate directly and transparently with authors, for example through royalty reports, but each contract is business-sensitive and so the communication is understandably with the individual concerned,” said Lotinga. “There are commercial sensitivities around much of this information that will inevitably impact what could be shared more widely.”
One thing that I've never understood about publishing contracts, is how did it ever get to a point where writers gratefully accepted a pittance of 10-15% for their work? Imagine presenting those terms to any other profession or trade.
That this form of slavery has come about is surely because we are scattered individuals trying to progress with our writing alone. Sure, there are associations we can join, but they are toothless lapdogs if all they do is politely whine for more money. But, how would you organise a writers' strike?
It's easy to see how self-publishing has thrived!