How Many People Profit From A Book?
I was thinking about how many people profit from a book yesterday and it was quite a revelation, and I am not even sure that I came up with the full list, so if you want to shed any light on my thoughts, please feel free to use the comments box below.
It is difficult to know where to start because there are many chicken and egg scenarios within the process, which comes out looking more like a treadmill than a linear process. For example, there would be far fewer writers selling their books if it were not for computers and the Internet.
So, the writer composes his story using a computer, which he has had to buy, rent or borrow. That means that the computer and the software are overheads, and millions of people are employed designing, manufacturing, marketing, selling, delivering and repairing them worldwide. The delivery systems take similar steps to the computer manufacturers, in that they need planes, trains and trucks, drivers and repair shops.
We writers then upload our formatted work to a publisher, although some employ others to proofread, format and deliver their book for them. The publisher uses unique software that they have (had) developed by highly skilled programmers on expensive, fast servers. Then the copy is checked for flaws by humans and machines.
When it has passed all the tests, it is published online. However, at this point, only a few people actually know that the book exists, so it has to be promoted, usually by the author. However, he may choose to employ others to help or completely take over the process, which is labour-intensive and involves using several websites like Twitter and Facebook. These are free to us, but paid for by advertisers and they also employ thousands of people.
Print books involve foresters, loggers, paper mills, ink-manufacturers, printing machines, copiers, photographers, graphic designers, printers and operators.
There are also firms that specialise in providing platforms from which authors can promote and sell their books. These have to be paid for by the author and are another overhead, as is the Internet Service Provider, the website host and registrar and all the governing bodies that regulate them and tax them.
Finally, a few ‘lucky’ authors get to earn enough money to pay tax, which helps pay the fat salaries that our politicians so richly deserve, and those of the civil servants who enforce their will.
It’s quite a bunch, isn’t it? Yet you can get a book for a fiver, and finally, hopefully, the reader will profit from having read it.
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Podcast: How Many People Profit From A Book?