Wales-based independent publisher Accent Press has just signed up to the UK’s Living Wage initiative. “We’re proud to announce that, as of this month, Accent Press has become a Living Wage Employer,” the company announced on Facebook. “It feels especially good to be able to offer this as publishing is a notoriously badly paid industry and we’re based in an area of economic deprivation.”
Accent also quoted on Facebook coverage of the same issue from The Bookseller, with founder Hazel Cushion saying: “I think it is really important that publishing loses its reputation for being poorly paid and exploitative. Too many large firms still take on unpaid interns and that is just morally wrong. We’re never going to improve diversity within the publishing sector until it offers a fair salary.”
Accent isn’t the first UK independent publishing house to take a stand on the issue. Andrew Franklin, founding head of UK independent publisher Profile Books, delivered a speech at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair on precisely the same topic, condemning the respective compensation rates for the heads and the juniors of major UK publishing firms as “disgusting” and “immoral.” This is even more trenchant given that most major UK publishing firms are headquartered in London, where the living wage is even higher, at £9.15 ($14.14) per hour versus a rest-of-the-UK rate of £7.85 ($12.13) per hour.
“Accent Press is going from strength to strength because of the hard work and dedication of the team at HQ and it’s great to be able to reward that,” the company’s announcement concluded.