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Robert McCrum in Guardian Unlimited’s World of Books

13 April 2001

Robert McCrum in Guardian Unlimited

Not just for writers, but a must for anyone interested in books, this is quite simply one of the best places for keeping up with the literary world on the net.

's World of Books

(After writing about the high advances paid to some new authors and the huge amounts received by bestselling authors - including Forbes's estimate of $36 million to J K Rowling and $28 million to John Grisham in the year 2000)

'The truth about advances is that they are a stark reminder that books are a business. Historically, a very few people - writers, booksellers, literary agents, publishers - have made a great deal of money out of books. What's forgotten is the fate of the countless thousands who have made virtually nothing after a life of unremitting, hard, lonely work. The average earnings of the writer in Britain are, very roughly, less than the take-home pay of a moderately industrious house cleaner.'