Why is it difficult for Russia to produce rich writers?

In the 1980s, I received some Soviet writers while working at the Chinese Writers Association. I asked them about the remuneration, and their answer surprised me because their draft fee was much higher than that of Chinese writers. Although the overall income of Soviet writers is not at a level with Western writers, it is quite considerable in terms of Soviet prices and consumption. In addition to writing and earning remuneration, the Soviet writers also enjoy the government-built furniture clubs, free villas and food specials. In this sense, the Soviet government is physically worthy of the “soul engineer.”

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the society has undergone earth-shaking changes. We are suddenly new to the creation of Russian writers, and even less is known about publishing and remuneration. Ibrahim, president of the Federation of Russian International Writers Association, came to Beijing two years ago. He told me that in 1992, Russia began to privatize and the lives of most writers plummeted. After the privatization of the publishing industry, the former furniture tribes were privately rented and commercialized. The special food supply has been cancelled. The cost of free villas has increased year by year. In addition to well-known writers, other writers have gradually moved out of the villa to find another place to live.

In 2005, two Russian writers made their debut on the Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people: one was the Russian-born Russian writer Boris Akunen, born in 1956. His remuneration income in 2004 was 2 million. The US dollar; the other is the Moscow female writer Dalia Donzova, born in 1956, who earned more than $2.1 million in the same period. Both writers are the talents of the Soviet Union after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. They all rely on detective novels to sing the literary world, despite the different styles of creation. The writer’s main income is the remuneration, and the remuneration depends on the number of books printed. Akunin signed contracts with three publishers in Moscow. Before 2010, only one publisher printed more than 7 million copies. The printouts of the other two can be imagined. The total circulation of Donzova’s works exceeds 71 ​​million copies. Other Russian best-selling authors, such as the detective novelist Marianna in the background of police officers, have a total circulation of 14 million to 17 million copies. Another detective novelist Ustinova has a circulation of 21 million copies.

The remuneration status of Russian writers in the market transition period is only small and sharp, and it is difficult to compare with the mature book publishing market in Europe and America. For example, the income of Akunin and Donzova is so hot, it is also difficult for the author of “Harry Potter” JK Rowling, the latter’s remuneration has already exceeded $95 million; to reach the thriller novel King James Patterson’s height has a long way to go.

Why are Russian writers difficult to rank among the world’s richest writers? I personally feel that the main reason is that Russia does not currently have the economic and social conditions for the achievement of rich writers. Specifically, the Russian book market is quite different from the European and American markets. In the past ten years or so, Russian book pricing has been low, and neither the paper nor the electronic version has the characteristics of a market economy. Every time a bookstore sells a book, it seems that it has nothing to do with the author. Even if it is related, the money is pitiful. I understand that the reason for the low price of Russian books is related to the overall low national income. Therefore, it is reasonable to not increase the price of books. Because even if the price is barely raised, the readers will shrink and the number of prints will fall, and the book market will still not be pulled. Can’t improve. At present, the vast majority of books in Russia are not printed, and the 2000-3000 books are average. The publishers have no profit at all. However, these publishers are still working hard to publish books, mainly to explore the market and explore The possibility of new varieties. Secondly, the piracy rate of Russian pirated books, especially Internet e-books, is as high as 80%, which has caused writers to suffer huge losses. Although Russia has already introduced regulations to punish piracy, its lack of law enforcement has greatly damaged the rights of writers and harmed the book market that should have been developed in an orderly manner.

If Russian writers want to re-enter the Forbes magazine list, they must also aim at the development direction of the world book market. For example, the Russian Metro Dmitry Grukhovsky’s “Metro” trilogy is published in English, German and Chinese languages ​​around the world. Fortunately, writers like Russia are gradually increasing.