Crazy Idea Number 46: Authors Should Get a Copy of Their Work|
There's a further difficulty -- even if somebody gets a copy of the typeset file, they're still going to be dependent on having (or being able to find somebody who has) the appropriate program to open and read that file at the time they want to do something else with the text. And that's not always possible.
What (I think, at least!) authors need is to receive (or be able to easily have created from a typesetting file) a marked up version of their file that indicates typesetting specifics, whether they're bold, italic, forced page breaks, or whatever, but does so in a hardware-neutral, vendor-neutral, program-neutral, way that extends the usable lifetime of that file.
But then, I'm a markup geek, and thinking about the long-term usability and viability of electronic files is in my blood!
A lot of the typesetting software can at least publish to .pdf, which isn't perfect, but is a step in the right direction.