Public Lending Right

Did you know, that as an author you can earn money when your books are borrowed from public libraries?

To qualify you have to register your books with Signing up doesn’t cost a penny. Payments are made on an annual basis, based on loans data supplied from a sample of public libraries in the UK. There is a minimum threshold of £1, up to a maximum of £6,000. Out of more than 23,000 recipients, only 313 authors received more than £5,000, and more than 16,000 authors did not meet the £1 threshold. The vast majority of recipients received less than £100. Your PLR rights carry on for the rest of your life after you have registed, and for your estate or descendants for 70 years after your death.

Over 23,000 writers, illustrators, photographers, translators and editors who have contributed to books lent out by public libraries in the UK receive PLR payments each year. But compare that 23,000 to the amount of books published, and it seems that there are plenty of authors unaware that Public Lending Right exists! It might not seem like much, but it’s money that you are entitled to for your hard work, and it doesn’t cost you anything to apply for it.

 You can also register for other payments for use of your work from the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. For a one-off joining fee of £25 – deducted from any future royalties – you can collect payment for various secondary uses of your work, such as photocopying, scanning and digital transmission, and also foreign public lending rights from Austria, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Estonia and Ireland.

It might not work out at much, but if you’re entitled to it then why not? It’s just recognition for the contribution that writers make to public culture. It’s hard enough trying to make it as an author – only people like Anthony Beevor or Max Hastings are making millions – so anything that you can get to cover your costs can’t be a bad thing.



Filed under writing

8 responses to “Public Lending Right

  1. x

    No I didn’t know.

    I do have one book lending story; not a good one. In the Early Modern module of my history course we had to read and write up a piece about
    Blaise de Lasseran-Massencôme, seigneur de Montluc. Now I had heard of this chap. Unlike my teenage course mates after the tutorial I repaired to the library to find a few books. Up popped a bio on de Montluc and I went off to find it. There it was a pretty A5 volume with burgundy boards; it looked to be in very good condition. Opened it up to discovered it had only ever been booked out of the library once, in 1972 (yes 1972). I found this very amusing. Here in this large repository of books this little volume had lain undisturbed apart from the occasional dusting for well over 30 years. Odd things like this do amuse me. At the next tutorial I hardly won any plaudits for reading the little red book. The teens had interpreted what they had read, on the prima facia evidence they were correct. But having read the biography some of their assumptions were wrong. And even though I was pleasant in relating what I had read I could see the tutor wasn’t happy. At the end of the tutorial I related my little tail of the book being booked out only once in 1972 and he wasn’t amused with that either. That and a few other similar prior incidences had started to sour my attitude to the course.

  2. So, now that you are the up and coming millionaire in the world, don’t suppose you could lend your favourite proof-reader a few quid for a new radiator for his wife’s car? 😉

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