No happy end in sight for French authors

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The yearly Paris book fair opens its doors to the public on Thursday afternoon, a popular event that was last year marked by an unprecedented demonstration by hundreds of authors protesting at their generally poor and diminishing incomes. Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis reports on a profession which, with the multiplication of titles published and the advent of digital publishing, sees anything but a happy end ahead, and reveals data which shows that, women authors earn on average significantly less than their male counterparts.

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Mediapart has gained access to a wide-ranging study into the financial situation of authors in France conducted by a complimentary pension fund for authors, the IRCEC, and which involved data concerning 117, 237 authors who subscribed to the fund between 1995 and 2013. At first glance, the results, not yet published, suggest that writers have a comfortable lifestyle. In 2013, the average annual income was 37, 559 euros, with a strong disparity between men and women. Male authors that year earned an average 46 239 euros, while female authors averaged 29,114 euros.