Who received royalties from first AuthorSHARE payment

26 November 2021

ALCS members received royalties for the purchase of second-hand books for the first time ever in September, thanks to the new AuthorSHARE scheme. This was warmly received by thousands of writers at a time when every penny counts.

A grand total of 36,761 writers were allocated a share of the royalties from sales of their used books sold through used book retailers, World of Books and Bookbarn International. The ground-breaking new scheme is designed to create a better deal for authors in the used book market – a market growing at 12% annually, compared to 1% for new books.

J.K. Rowling got the biggest SHARE, making it to the top of the list as the highest-earning AuthorSHARE author. Three of Rowling’s books were the biggest earners: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came in at number one, with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets coming in sixth place, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at ninth.

Other titles to earn royalties through second-hand sales were Sally Rooney’s Normal People (2), and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (3). Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret was the fourth highest-earning book, followed by Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (5). Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was in seventh place, while Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt was number eight. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, was number ten.

Children’s author Julia Donaldson was the second person to receive the most royalties from used books – and top of the children’s AuthorSHARE chart – while Lee Child was third on the list, followed by Stephen King and David Walliams. At no. 39, Haruki Murakami was the top earning translated author.

The world’s first reuse royalty initiative for writers also saw cookbooks get credited. Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food and Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals came in at first and second place respectively. Classic food tomes such as Nigella Christmas and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, both dating back to 2008, also made the top ten.

A key goal of AuthorSHARE, supported by ALCS and the Society of Authors, goes beyond money. The scheme also strives to give longevity to books. It’s about lengthening the lifespan of a book, and about a writer knowing their books are being read. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most ‘re-purchased’ books are titles published more recently, but titles that receive money from the scheme date as far back as 1970.

It’s proven hugely popular with members so far: ‘It’s a modest £7.30, but VERY welcome,’ tweeted one member. ‘I was pleased to see that additional fee, even if it was only pence in my case,’ tweeted another.

How to make sure you get your share
It’s simple. Keep your list of book titles up to date in the members’ area, including different editions of your titles.

How you can help others get their share
Buy second-hand, by heading to World of Books and Bookbarn International.

Members will receive the next AuthorSHARE payment in our March Distribution.