More than 2,500 authors have put their names to a letter in London's Sunday Times as part of the Save Our Books campaign, launched in an effort to maintain the U.K.'s "copyright exhaustion" principle. The paper also ran a news story about the campaign.
Exhaustion of copyright refers to an author's selling—or licensing of a publisher to sell—copies of their book in designated markets. It is feared that the British government will approve a relaxation of the territorial component of copyright, enabling editions meant for markets beyond Europe to be sold in the European Economic Area, including the U.K.
Signatories to the letter include Kazuo Ishiguro, Bernardine Evaristo, Hilary Mantel, Philip Pullman, Cressida Cowell, David Nicholls, Adam Kay, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Sophie Kinsella, among others. The letter states: "Weakening the U.K.'s copyright laws would impair our ability to earn an income which would have a devastating impact on this country's vibrant, world-renowned book industry. If writing becomes a profession only accessible to the wealthy, important stories will not be told."
Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: "This letter is a clear and urgent call from authors to avoid an outcome that weakens our copyright laws. Britain is a world leader in publishing and currently exports more books than any other country in the world. The wrong outcome would jeopardize the whole books industry and vandalize the U.K.'s cultural landscape. It would mean fewer books, by fewer authors, for fewer readers. We urge the government to Save Our Books."
Among the other signatories are Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler, Val McDermid, William Boyd, Paula Hawkins, Alice Oseman, India Knight, Hallie Rubenhold, Tim Peake, Naomi Ishiguro, Prue Leith, Carol Ann Duffy, Peter James, and Nikesh Shukla.
Save Our Books is an initiative of the U.K.'s Publishers Association with the Society of Authors, the Association of Authors' Agents, and the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.
A version of this story initially ran in BookBrunch.