Two-quid tycoon

February 3, 2006

Well, academic salaries must have hit skid row if additional earnings from academic publishing "in the thousands of pounds" can be regarded as "small fortunes" ("Shelf-made wealth of textbook tycoons", January ).

As one of the fortunate few, I shouldn't grumble. I stand to make, perhaps, £5,000 over five years from my law text. Sometimes, in the grip of self-loathing, I try to calculate how much that would work out per hour over the five years it took me to write the book, but these efforts are always defeated by the gushing tears that smudge the ink. These royalties would be less, in real terms, than the £2.25 an hour I earned pulling pints as a student.

It is fair to observe that certain academics enjoy circumscribed opportunities to cultivate supplementary sources of income, but please put the lid back on the hyperbole jar.

Paul Roberts
Nottingham University

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