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Press Release: 01.06.2021 - Worlds first scheme gives authors royalties on used book sales

Worlds first scheme gives authors royalties on used book sales

  • The new AuthorSHARE scheme pays authors royalties on used book sales for the first time
  • Until now, authors could only receive royalties on sales of new books
  • The scheme gives authors a fairer deal as the used book market grows an estimated 12% annually
  • It has become a reality thanks to a coalition between World of Books Group, Bookbarn International, The Society of Authors and The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.

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 exponential growth of the used book market. The market for used books is growing at 12% annually – compared to 1% for that of new books – and is estimated to be worth £563 million in the UK by 2025. For the first time, authors 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 the involvement of World of Books Group – the UK’s largest retailer of used books – alongside The Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). World of Books have created a royalty fund worth £200,000 for the schemes first year, which is expected to increase annually.

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.”

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 AuthorSHARE provides a great opportunity for them to receive income from this previously inaccessible revenue stream.”

At present, royalties on used books can only be paid on purchases made directly from the World of Books and Bookbarn International websites, but both retailers 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. Society of Authors website


Media Contacts

Nick Ford, Communications Manager, World of Books Group and on behalf of Bookbarn International Group | D: +44(0) 7967 789993

Martin Reed, Head of Communications, Society of Authors | D: +44(0) 20 7031 8565

Notes to Editors

About Bookbarn International Group
Bookbarn International

Bookbarn, based in Somerset, started selling second-hand books through internet channels in 2000. Bookbarn sells used, antiquarian and new books through:

  • Multiple online marketplaces around the world
  • The Bookbarn website
  • The Bookbarn bookshop supported by the Bookbarn Café (the company is the only “mass lister” second-hand bookseller that is open to the public)
  • The Darwin Rare Book Room
  • Books by the Yard website selling colour and style matched books to interior, film and TV designers.
  • Wholesale sales to India and China In July 2020 Bookbarn acquired the business of Cambridge Rare Books, which specialises in antiquarian books.

About World of Books Group

  • In 2008 World of Books was founded with an ethos to do good to help charities and to make a positive impact. Over the last decade they have grown from a start-up into a leading global seller of quality used books and pioneers in re-use and recycling. Their inventory has grown to over 7 million items in stock, and they sell a book somewhere in the world every two seconds.
  • World of books are an accredited B Corp. Certified B Corporations (B Corps™) are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
  • World of Books Group is comprised of re-commerce technology businesses: World of Books, Ziffit and Shopiago.
    • World of Books is a leading global seller is used books online to missions of customers; directly, though third-party platforms and wholesale partners.
    • Ziffit is a free and easy to use app and website to sell unwanted books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and games for cash. One of the largest trade-in sites in the UK the Ziffit business model is 100% circular.
    • Shopiago is an online sales software product that is utilised by charities to generate additional revenue for good causes and enable more goods to be reused.
  • In 2018, World of Books Group launched Shopiago, a for-profit software company that supports charities and helps more goods to be re-used. The re-commerce software enables charity retailers to manage their listings across online marketplaces, exposing their goods to buyers around the world to help increase revenue for worthy causes.
  • Ziffit has been developed to help close the loop on new book purchase, use and reuse. The innovative application of technology, to help individuals, charities and commercial partners to generate additional income, supports a wider circular economy vision.
  • World of Books Group vision is to be the leading seller of used books globally, while helping people to reuse and recycle for less through innovation and technology.

About the Society of Authors
The Society of Authors

The Society of Authors is the UK's largest trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators. With a current membership of 11,500, they have advised, supported and spoken out for authors at every career stage since 1884. They work to empower professional authors from all backgrounds with support, knowledge and community, and to work with industry and government towards an industry landscape that sustains and nurtures creative careers.

About the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)

ALCS is a not-for-profit organisation started by writers for the benefit of all types of writers. Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity, ensure they receive fair payment and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal. It represents over 112,000 members, and since 1977 has paid over £570 million to writers. Find out more at