Impact and Sustainability, Wob News

Introducing AuthorSHARE: The world’s first reuse royalty initiative for writers

authorshare reuse royalty initiative world of books

We have a very exciting announcement! In a world-first, authors are now able to receive royalties on sales of used books thanks to AuthorSHARE – a groundbreaking new scheme designed to create a fairer deal for authors in the used book market.

Until now, authors have only been able to receive royalty payments on sales of new books. However, in recent years there have been increasing calls from within the writing community for a new approach to address the growth of the used book market.

More and more of us are choosing to buy used books and the market is growing at 12% annually – compared to 1% for that of new books. AuthorSHARE now opens up the used book market to those behind the stories we love so much. For the first time, they will be able to receive a fee when their books are resold online and enjoyed by a new owner.

The scheme was the brainchild of William Pryor, founder of Somerset-based Bookbarn International, and has now been made a reality thanks to our involvement as the UK’s largest retailer of used books – alongside The Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). World of Books has created a royalty fund worth £200,000 for the schemes first year, which is expected to increase annually.

A message from our CEO, Graham Bell

Graham Bell, Chief Executive of World of Books Group, says: “The growth of the used book market is fantastic in so many ways; it offers affordable literacy and protects the planet by enabling more goods to be reused. But until now, authors have missed out on the benefits of the movement towards a more circular model of book consumption.

A new book will be sold once but their stories can be enjoyed by multiple owners. The AuthorSHARE scheme addresses this, giving authors the potential to be paid at every point in its lifecycle. We’re incredibly proud to be paying authors for their stories and creativity – not purely fresh ink and paper.”

A thrilling launch!

Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors, says: “We are thrilled at the launch of AuthorSHARE. We know that books are often passed on or sold many times, yet authors have to date only benefited financially from the first sale. It is great to see that they will now receive a small share whenever their book is sold from the websites of Bookbarn, World of Books and other participating retailers. As well as the welcome financial boost, authors love to know that their books are still being read and enjoyed long after the first sale.”

ALCS has a membership of over 112,000 writers in 105 countries worldwide who could stand to benefit from the scheme, with payments being made directly to authors or their agents twice a year by the organisation.

Owen Atkinson, Chief Executive of ALCS, said: “We’re delighted to be part of a scheme that will help support ALCS members in the used book market. Writers deserve to be remunerated fairly for every use of their work – whether it’s library-lending, photocopying or used reselling – and Author Share provides a great opportunity for them to receive income from this previously inaccessible revenue stream.”

Right now, royalties on used books can only be paid on purchases made directly from the World of Books and Bookbarn International websites, but both hope others within the industry will join the scheme to enable more authors to benefit.

William Pryor, Bookbarn International Group’s Chairman, said: “As a writer as well as founder of Bookbarn, I was puzzled that authors, the very people who create the raw material of our business, were not benefitting. In 2015 this gave me the idea that has, thanks to World of Books bringing their scale of operations to the scheme, now become AuthorSHARE. This is all about giving authors recognition for the value they create and we hope other retailers within this space will eventually join us in this innovative voluntary initiative”.

More information about the scheme, including how authors can get involved, is available on the Society of Authors website.

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  • Reply Rodger Bradley June 1, 2021 at 10:05 am

    This is great news. As a published author of a number of books, it provides encouragement that mainstream publishers are the only opportunity for writers to continue to see rewards for their labours.

  • Reply fiona norman June 1, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Author Share – a brilliant idea. I am so happy you have set this up (I am not an author).

  • Reply Michael Hansen June 1, 2021 at 10:07 am

    I purchase used books only, and the cheaper ones . As somebody who lives on a fixed income I have to take funds from my state pension to buy books. I sometimes go without food to enable me to have my books. The idea sounds great as long as it does not fall on the customer to pay for it. There are thousands of products in the used market in the same position, and none I would say benefit the original manufacturer . I don’t buy it

    • Reply Terry Price June 1, 2021 at 7:50 pm

      Can’t you use the library to help you read books for free. You need to eat and look after yourself.

    • Reply Jonella Vidal June 2, 2021 at 1:24 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the comment. There will be no price increase to cover the cost of the royalty payments. Every year, we are setting aside a fixed sum of money that is linked to our performance as a business – and the royalties will come out of this. It is World of Books covering the cost of the scheme – not our customers.

  • Reply Stuart Fleming June 1, 2021 at 10:28 am

    I’m an artist and I don’t expect to get payments every time my paintings are resold often at higher prices so I don’t agree with royalties on used books – it’s a no brainier and will inevitably increase prices.

    • Reply Jonella Vidal June 2, 2021 at 1:25 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the comment. There will be no price increase to cover the cost of the royalty payments. Every year, we are setting aside a fixed sum of money that is linked to our performance as a business – and the royalties will come out of this. It is World of Books covering the cost of the scheme – not our customers.

    • Reply Ronald Turnbull June 18, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      As a UK artist you do (or anyway can) get payment when your paintings are resold at higher prices, above a certain threshhold. Check out ‘artists resale right’ from DACS Designers and Artists Copyright Society.

  • Reply Ken Speed June 1, 2021 at 11:11 am

    I agree authors deserve a % of re-sold books- but only from the profits of the seller-ie: World of Books.
    If that cost was passed on to customers, I will be closing my account.

  • Reply Steve June 1, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Excellent scheme. Hard to believe fixed income means book buy or food. I don’t buy it.
    How does the rights for recorded music writers and performers differ from authors? I understood copyrights apply for ownership so charges can be made for use/sale regardless of new/used

  • Reply Sue White June 1, 2021 at 11:25 am

    I think that this is a great idea. I prefer to buy used books, because it is better for the environment, and is a great way to recycle. I have always felt guilty that the authors, the people who give me many hours if pleasure, did not benefit from this. I do want them to keep writing their fabulous books, and to do this they need to earn a living. I work on the minimum wage, so sometimes money is tight. However I am happy to pay a little extra to support this. All it means is that I may just have to wait a little longer for the book I want. I am happy to do this.

    • Reply Jonella Vidal June 2, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the comment. There will be no price increase to cover the cost of the royalty payments. Every year, we are setting aside a fixed sum of money that is linked to our performance as a business – and the royalties will come out of this. It is World of Books covering the cost of the scheme – not our customers.

  • Reply Neil B June 1, 2021 at 11:45 am

    A good idea. Is this ‘royalty’ paid only to living authors, or is there a ‘limit’ on this royalty, e.g. the limit of copyright or only for the first 30 years since the book was originally printed, been paid?
    Books published in the 1880’s are now under copyright laws that did not exist until recently.

  • Reply Angela June 1, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    As a lover of used books I feel they have character like many other readers, I rely on them at times to be the cheaper option due to being on a lower income. I agree that the authors should benefit from the sale but wouldn’t like it to increase the sale of second hand books greatly. I feel this would take the option of buying them off people that rely on them which would be wrong x

  • Reply Sally Cemm-Evans June 1, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    I applaud this initiative – well done to all concerned. Now all you need to do is get the charity bookshops on board!

  • Reply roger dillworth June 1, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    I buy used books for the simple reason they are cheaper than buying new. If the intention is to somehow charge more for the used article then I’m out. The reason some people
    buy used is generally because we cannot afford new.

  • Reply Alice June 1, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    I liked the idea in principle, and read through all the blurb to see how this would be paid for. The only mention was the royalty fund for the first year.
    Like the previous commenter, I too am limited in funds, and was my go-to site.
    Time will tell from where the royalty fees come!

    • Reply Jonella Vidal June 2, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the comment. There will be no price increase to cover the cost of the royalty payments. Every year, we are setting aside a fixed sum of money that is linked to our performance as a business – and the royalties will come out of this. It is World of Books covering the cost of the scheme – not our customers.

  • Reply William Crawford June 1, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Does this mean that your prices will increase?

  • Reply William Crawford June 1, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    I agree with Michael, world of books is quite expensive as it is.

  • Reply John June 1, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    I almost always buy used books on the basis that as soon as they land on my door mat they have become second hand! I am very happy to pay a modest authors royalty where it is an original work and the system is seen to be fair with ALL the proceeds going to the authors. What percentage of the purchase price is envisaged? My only exception would be for antique books where the purchase price is higher than the original new price, and suggest the royalty should be based on the new price when published and only apply to books that are under, say, 25 years old from their first publication date.

  • Reply Bill Lawrence June 1, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    Great idea it’s about time. But I can’t see anywhere what the % of the resale price goes to original author nor if this is going to force an increase in price of second hand books, Also are the original publishers now going to expect their share too?

  • Reply Elizabeth Lewis June 1, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    Wonderful idea and long overdue. I’m happy to keep buying my books as used, knowing that the world of books is sharing the good fortune of increasing sales with the authors.

  • Reply Alison June 1, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    While I can agree that this is nice for authors, I am with the previous commentator, Michael. If I could afford to buy a new book I would buy a new book. I buy used books from various sites and always as cheaply as possible. A grandmother on a fixed income, a low income, I rely on companies like yours. Were you to pass on any costs to me as your customer, you may price me out of being your customer. The authors are wonderful, I am discovering the Discworld Tiffany series at the moment. No longer with us, I presume you would pay this author’s estate? I feel it excellent that you wish to pay authors ad infinitum, but please don’t forget me in all of this. Or Michael or the thousands like us. Also, I pass on a lot of books completely free of charge, to various charity shops. I’m sure many of your customers will do the same. In our way, we are bringing your authors to the attention of a wider audience. We are doing our bit.

  • Reply Terry Price June 1, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Great idea, authors don’t make money as it stands – so this will help authors to continue in their craft. Well done all concerned.

  • Reply Julia E Pritchard June 1, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Delighted to hear of the scheme. I usually buy novels secondhand but do feel guilty about the authors. Well done! Let’s hope it catches on with other companies too.

  • Reply Brendan Craig June 1, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    I’m an author. Some of my books were 6 – 8 years in the crafting. Last month I received $2.63 in royalties. Writers also go without food. It is a Noble idea. Even if you only reach a fraction of the writers you will do much to boost the belief and will of those who create. Wonderful game-changing idea.

  • Reply James E. Heisler June 2, 2021 at 2:13 am

    This idea has great merit. I have one book published and 18 books in the rough draft, pending illustrations.
    I purchase Golden Books as a hobby. I am on several fix incomes, but attend the Friends of the Library sales often. My wife and I wait until the last day of the sale and purchase books for $1.00 per bag (about 30 books per bag). I have been a school crossing guard for over 21 years and package these books in bags of about one dozen each and give them out to families in June and December of each year. My
    reward is seeing the smiles from parents…especially in December. When purchasing from thrift stores,
    my wife heads for the “adult” section and I go the the “kids” section and purchase books for less than $1.00. And, after all this fun, we head for a burger place and then lug all these book in the house.

  • Reply Rita Bullen June 2, 2021 at 5:02 am

    Congratulations on achieving this fund to share with the Authors. I just hope this does not mean your prices will go up as I too live on a pension and can only purchase used books when I have saved enough to pay for them.

  • Reply Alison June 2, 2021 at 8:42 am

    If I could afford to buy new books, I would do so. A grandmother on low fixed income, sites such as World Books are my go to saviours. I am in agreement with the previous commentator Michael. Authors are wonderful but I cannot afford to have the cost of this admirable scheme to pay authors ad infinitum laid on me. Such a move would push me out of affordability. Also, I should like to know if you intend to pay the estates of deceased authors also? Certain books I keep but I give most to charity shops after I’ve read them. In this way, I play a part in the recycling process and in widening the profile of the authors. I do think that any move to lay the cost of this initiative on the customer would not be in the best interest of many if not most of your customer base. Please do us the courtesy of telling us how you intend to fund this sceme and if necessary, open the whole plan to debate. World Books is a VERY important resource for me. Iwant to keep it that way..

    • Reply Jonella Vidal June 2, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the comment. There will be no price increase to cover the cost of the royalty payments. Every year, we are setting aside a fixed sum of money that is linked to our performance as a business – and the royalties will come out of this. It is World of Books covering the cost of the scheme – not our customers.

  • Reply Sab June 3, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Like many others I hope this won’t be eventually reflected in the used book prices as the lower price is a main factor why I buy used – that and because not all Classics are still available as new. How will you divide the money back to the authors? I read mostly Classics which are out of copyright. Will you give a share of the royalties to the Thomas Hardy Museum etc instead? Or will only contemporary authors benefit from your scheme?

  • Reply Denise Mitchinson June 4, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Such interesting comments! Personally I think it’s a great idea. When you think of all the people who also make money throughout the lifetime of the book. It seems that World of Books recognise this and want to give something back and why not? If you love books and enjoy a certain author and want them to keep creating then they need to earn a living. We’ll done World of Books!

  • Reply Carol Clewlow June 5, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Another big thank you from an author for this. I’m a world of books lots of stuff from you and your service is first class. Even more of a fan now!

  • Reply How to support independent bookshops - and authors | Nicola Morgan June 11, 2021 at 8:00 am

    […] I’d be happier if you didn’t buy secondhand unless the bookshop is part of Author Share […]

  • Reply Ronald Turnbull June 18, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    To allay the fears of worried book buyers, with World of Books’ turnover stated on the Internet as £40m, a £200,000 fund comes out at around 1/2 p in every £1, or 2p on a book selling at £4. For comparison, I get 9p every time my book’s borrowed from a library, via the government-funded Public Lending Right scheme. As an author, I appreciate the gesture and I’ll look with interest at my October statement from ALCS – but I don’t expect to be buying any Champagne! Maybe a bottle of Cava.

  • Reply Mary Boerebach June 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

    A great idea. If the books become too expensive, (I hope they won’t) but if they do, there is always the library. Do the negative people realize how long it takes on average to write a book? I’m also a widow with a small pension. The statement of having to go without food is ridiculous. If one is keen to buy a second hand book, from any supplier, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg,. I learned to budget when young saving up to build or buy a house with four small children. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
    Fair go for Authors.

  • Reply Kevan July 7, 2021 at 6:21 am

    I think this is a good idea, however will this mean the creeping prices rise for customers? Many authors will benefit from this but the reason many customers buy here is because of the environmental aspect of re-using something and also due to the cost.

    • Reply Jonella Vidal July 26, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Hello Kevan,

      We’re glad you think it’s a good idea! The cost of the royalties will come from a grant set aside by our company. It is entirely separate from the book sales, so no cost trickles down to the customer. Providing affordable books is extremely important to us, and this will not change.

  • Reply Peter Turnham August 2, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you World of Books – when I first started writing books a couple of years ago, it amazed me just how little of the purchase price of any book goes to the author. A year of work, quite often, for a large 400+ page book can on some platforms give the author about £1.00 for a £10.00 book! So – well done for coming up with this idea. I wish you (and us ALCS member-authors) much success!

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