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tv   Interview with Mary Rasenberger  CSPAN  June 11, 2016 7:30pm-8:01pm EDT

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great narrative to the story to do all this research that is grounded in textual research had a tremendous writer. these are the three books. >> you will see all three authors on booktv this fall. editor and publisher of doubleday.
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>>host: booktv ozzie spend too would get the different aspects of the publishing world and one of those is the authors guild says she is the executive director of the group. what is that, mary rasenberger? >> organization started in 1912 that a was to represent coauthors interest
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copyright's, free-speech we have been doing the same thing for over 100 years we represent their interests than publisher is we just had up panel on contract initiatives where we are looking at the standard trade publishing agreement and asking questions if the terms are the same in the digital world. we have 9,000 members we provide services for our members legal services for authors and also agents and other members and we provide web site services helping them to build their web site you cannot not have a of web site if you have a book
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today it is fairly low cost in respect lot of time that we are the only group in the u.s. the represents all authors and we're trying to ensure that they can make a living today is getting harder and harder but we took a survey about one year ago where we found that the authors aren't making much money and is said income was down almost 30 percent it was a median income of 24,000 per year some of we're talking pretty low wages for a book author that is usually very highly educated and it is getting to the point it is not sustainable to be a book author so what we're
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focusing on right now is ensuring that they can make though living wage. >>host: before we get into those issues james patterson and david mccullough? >> we have quite a number of well-known authors that are part of the authors guild. we also have all kinds to be a member you have to have a published book or certain levels of income we have memberships were the income levels are lower so that is so we can accommodate itself published authors that may not be going through a traditional publishers but it is an opportunity if they
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call them independently published. >>host: how did you get into this work? >> i have been a copyright lawyer for about 25 years i worked at the copyright office and library of congress i spent a lot of time advocating for authors' rights as a lawyer and in private practice i dealt with the number of authors as well as publishers try been very much a part of this role professionally and then i was an author and my husband is an author my stepdaughter is an author and many of my friends so i am very empathetic to their plight. >>host: because of the
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electronic aspect has that changed for the authors? >> because part of that contract is that they have not changed enough things are really shaking up in the industry we would expect to see more types of models of publishing the you expect of digital media it is up for grabs what they might get because there is more diversity so part of the fair contract initiative is to take a step back and have publishers do the same and say what will make sense today in this environment? and in a way that ensures that the authors are real partners in the agreement because there has been some
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recent changes in those have largely favored publishers at the detriment of the authors like the dances that were paid out into payments and then three but most of that came before the book was completed but now they have to wait until after the book is finished and after it is published to get a chunk of their advance so i used to be the of the dance is what you lived off of and did research and travel that that is less and less true and now they have to take on other work that makes it much harder to write a book in a timely fashion that they want to write or they have to take credit to write
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the book let's go back to the advances being advances. also the option causes and not compete and they have gotten much more stringent with a publisher if that is accepted if they deliver the book that was promised so these are the issues around the edges that we're talking about right now. >> walks through the recent court cases this is a mosaic distribution case said amazon and apple where is the authors guild? >> that is the broad question so i will start with electronic distribution we are neutral of what
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format or how they publish the media we wanted to be written and read so the formats it doesn't really matter it is how they want to read but the media has caused some obstruction of how authors get paid and this is a huge issue for us right now where they making less money now? there is a number of different causes and one of them is that amazon pushed down the price of the electronic book that $9.99 that has had the effect to devalue the books so before that was the threshold now
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it means less money for the publisher and that one budget line where that is somewhat negotiable is now zero not so the author loses out so there is toehold that movement is something is online issue before free so one issue was piracy and in recent years an increasing amount of books with them were to be made available by rio criminal copywriting ventures trying to make their money off the books without charging $2.99 instead of $9.99 so that has caused a disruption and then the devaluation that the
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thought anybody can write so why do we pay for that? so there is a real difference i was going to say you but with me and you will spend a lot of their time riding it that is different from what i would write as a professional book author those that can haul in and on aircraft and can be extremely good with words and we want to encourage them to continue to writing books. >> the recent court cases? >> yes. you are referring to google books so now this is going back 10 years to major
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academic libraries and scandal of the books and then said we would get your free digital copy back exchange in the radius these to help them for research purposes to improve their algorithms now to teach computers language so the use of authors content to figure out how to improve their business to make more money so they make copies for themselves have the library and many copies trying to use these books and then they created google books or anyone is searchable then you can find a snippets' to put in a
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search term if you want to research hummingbirds you pleded hummingbirds than all the books would come up and bring up all the places in the book that term appears so actually we have a case on behalf of authors' own the rights to their books even publishers that separately settled sabir only involved in the books the author does and the fact of the matter is that people will use the book cannot actually buy it the other night my daughter was a college students said we love the book because we don't get around to go order the men time so i just go on google books with the search
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term i can get what i need. and we have also heard that from any of the authors but the bigger issue with the case and i am so sad because it sets a very bad precedent set everything back and they did every copy was fair because of the service they provide which was such a wonderful service so we will call all fair use i think a 72 hard to get a hold of the author which is a natural because they had to sign that settlement agreement earlier that they agreed to pay to acquire the rights but that settlement was not approved by the district court so that is why the
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litigation continued and nobody thought it was fair use so the problem is as you move further into the digital age every nine user just the beginning of the changes we will see. people ask there is more and more searches on the excerpts basis we want to protect those sources of revenue because otherwise we will see less and less money then to pay the author is the defense's and we will see fewer professional authors in a few of the kinds of books that take a while to write those highly researched books and that is not good for us as a country
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>> you reference this but there is a whole generation growing up thinking everything is free. music, books, the music world has settled a little bit but where will this end up with the books? >> we are really trying to preventing that from happening to the book industry. they think the music industry is 25 percent of what was 10 years ago? they really lost their shirts because of the idea that music should be free. now we see services and it is getting back on his feet but it is much smaller than the past so we are trying to prevent spastic, from
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entering the public sphere but and redo have less of a problem they are not teenagers looking for things they tend to be more mature however it is starting to happen that now it is so easy to find books for free but one of our authors told me recently as she is a scholar of also writing romance novels for fans will tell her i read your books for free. sorry about that. but i cannot afford them. so we're seeing that start
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to happen and over the next year we want to start a campaign. that writer's market they need to be paid for their work readers, we know you love them but don't read the books for free because they make impossible for them to make a living but. >>host: you referenced we're on the cutting edge about books being distributed. what are some of those changes? >> i think we will see more reading on line and i say very long term if you think about the printing press that was 100 years before the public interest -- publishing really became an industry they did you to look like many scrips a we're in the paradigm that
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there will be more and more reading on mind so the distribution i and all but given how much things have changed your going to see a lot more change. >> the authors guild has been in court cases in some states. >> currently no we do not have any court cases right now. >> do you have any plans? >> not currently i don't think i could talk about it anyway but no right now we just finished of google books case so we're taking a deep breath we have a lot of other advocacy programs we are working on one is the
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campaign to authors to help them learn how to exploit their books how to self published hansel to publishers and just remember authors are freelancers no benefits even. so they often live hand to mouth some very famous writers better now elderly they never made a ton of money in publishing and they're not doing well now. so we have to help them find new sources of income. also there is a new membership for student and the emerging writers to help them understand the business and get into the business and how to become a professional writer and then
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we will continue to have all sorts of issues to educate of all the things that is going on right now because now you have been in the business 20 or 30 years now of a sudden there are new ways of marketing? authors never had to do their own marketing before but now they do so we helped them to negotiate dash and then there is a lot of advocacy like focusing on and copyright law and the judiciary committee of the house has been looking and revisions of the copyright law over several years there are a number of issues we think are of importance that
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we're working very actively. >> has that consolidation affect what you do? >> it hasn't directly affected the authors guild that what it has done is for the big publishers, they are owned by major international corporations now and that was on them so in turn the authors are looking for books that will make good money and less likely to give that living wage advance to the 95 percent of the authors. >> if another so say book or
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somebody buys an author's book, 86, it cost $20 how does that break down? can you walk us through the general breakdown? >>. >> probably not without figures in front of me but a certain amount if we talk about a hard copy is about $3 goes to manufacturing. the wholesaler takes a big cut. by forget what percent. the author for the hard copy get somewhere between tanner 15% normally of the retail list price and then the publisher gets the profit on top of that but the author
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gets 25% generally sometimes that is negotiable but they're getting a 25% of the net profit after costs. >> of the $9.99? they don't get 25 percent of that? >> no purpose of the profits of the publisher after amazon has taken there third year 35 percent cut and the publisher has paid the cost. >> how many different models are out there? what is a myth list dr.? >> one that sells some and continues to publish but is not day best seller. >> so how many different
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models are there out there right now with that breakdown? >> there is traditional publishing which today is the most stable but there are also ways to self published there are new services that will provide electronic books and copies whereas an author you could contract with them if you want to sell its publishing take amazon with their amazon jindal platform basically they have a format that you put your text into then you check the agreement you cannot negotiate at all
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you have to except the arrangement and whenever terms that they give you that they will put up your book if you give them exclusive rights they can do 70 percent but they are doing nothing other than putting up your book and you have to agree to a price of $2.99 or $7.99 if you want to sell on another platform which most of them to they don't want to be exclusive or have more leeway with prices bebel choose the nonexclusive option which gives the% royalty we think that is ridiculous because the amazon is only providing a platform they are not
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investing much as terms of labor they are very good at accounting to get you paid but also to be a part of their libraries a subscription service where "the reader" can pay $10 to will whole library of books that is based on the pool completely non transparent or how they divided up among the authors so those have gone into the pool which you have to do if you have the exclusive arrangements have not made much money doing so so the doctors who can make it with self publishing that is another option. >> matching the senate judiciary committee and
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copyright law water some of the changes they are considering with the authors guild? >> right now is led by the house judiciary committee as the senate tries to get involved the issue is that we're focused on right now there are a number of minor issues but the creation of a tribunal that we have that the copyright office that is important because without a remedy to bring back right in frederick cost 150,000. individuals cannot afford that so authors or photographers have no way to a force under the current
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system this would have a small claims court or you could view the part -- to the proceedings over the fallen you don't need a lawyer a lawyer will tell you you don't need a lawyer and it is claims under a certain amount i think the number is $30,000 or less. so it gives them the ability to have a real life we are supporting that. we're also supporting legislation to take down rules are is a section of the law that was enacted with the copyright act that allows any service provider to escape liability for
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copyright infringement if they comply with certain rules.

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