Publishing and Politics

Richard Russo: A Writer’s Call to Arms

From the downward spiral of ebook prices to the major content grab of digital giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Google, the writer as we know it is seriously threatened. In a letter released by the Authors Guild, an advocate for writers’ interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression, bestselling novelist Richard Russo issues an eloquent and inspiring call to arms to his fellow writers. Noting that he has been quite lucky to live “the writer’s life,” Russo observes that most of today’s up-and-coming writers will not have the opportunity to focus their life on writing the way he has. To live as a writer today, another income source is absolutely necessary. In his letter, Russo contends that it is up to him and his fellow successful authors “… to defend and protect the writing life that’s been good to us, not just on behalf of younger writers who will not have our advantages if we don’t, but also on behalf of readers, whose imaginative lives will be diminished if authorship becomes untenable as a profession.” He calls upon his fellow writers to join the Authors Guild, and thereby to join the conversation about how to preserve and fight for the discipline and career of writing.

Read Russo’s full letter here; learn more about the Authors Guild here.

2 thoughts on “Richard Russo: A Writer’s Call to Arms

  1. OBS Post author

    Russo points out that the infocapitalists like Google and Amazon *need* new content in order to ply their trade and achieve their goals, which strengthens the hands of an authors’ collective like the AG.

  2. OBS Post author

    A strengthened hand for authors (and other content creators) would mean almost immediate collective action, spanning multiple publishing sectors such as publishers, libraries, bookstores, universities, authors. This does not seem to be happening in the face of, say, Amazon, where the corporation controls the pricing of the authors’ content, the relationship with the reader, and data about the competitive landscape, in terms of books and other products.

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