I loved this piece in the most recent Private Eye. Bloomsbury, which raked in millions from the Harry Potter books, asked Costa Prize short-listed writer Martyn Beresford to contribute a series of blogs to their website. They explained that there would be no cash payment – but they could offer him payment in books. This is part of his reply:
I’m afraid I won’t be able to help you. I’m a professional writer…and earn my living from my writing and teaching – so, frankly, it’s insulting for Bloomsbury to offer no proper payment for the time, skill and expertise that would go into the work you’re asking me to do. You’re a publisher, you make a profit from publishing, and yet the very people who make your business possible – writers – are treated as some kind of cheap labour. When Bloomsbury hire plumbers, electricians, taxi drivers, painters and decorators, do you offer to pay them in free books?
Yay for Martyn Beresford!