Friday 17 May 2013

Public Lending Right


If you've published a book that's available in the UK or Ireland, check whether you're eligible for Public Lending Right (PLR) through this FAQ.

In short:
Public Lending Right (PLR) is the right for authors to receive payment under PLR legislation for the loans of their books by public libraries. - What is PLR?

Each time your book is lent out by a public library in the UK or Ireland, you become eligible for a payment.

It's money ring-fenced by the government, rather than money taken directly from the library. Claiming PLR doesn't punish the library for lending your work.

In order to claim PLR, you need to register your titles. The UK and Irish PLR registers are two separate entities. To claim PLR in both countries, you need to register in both:

Both of those sites contain all of the information you need in order to understand what PLR is and how to register. It's free to register your titles. These organisations collect lending right payments from UK and Irish libraries for you, and you receive an annual statement.

These aren't the only countries with Public Lending Right. You can check out PLR International for more information.

There's also some useful info on Wiki, which explains the EU directive behind PLR and its effect on libraries:
The PLR directive has met with resistance from the side of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). The IFLA has stated that the principles of 'lending right' can jeopardize free access to the services of publicly accessible libraries, which is the citizen's human right.

Just to reiterate: libraries make these payments from the government budget allotted to them for this purpose. It's public money funding the payments.

In October 2010, it was announced that the 30 year old PLR body in the UK would be axed and taken over by an unidentified government body. This caused some concern at the time. More in the articles: Public Lending Right body to go, but author payments will remain, Public lending right: if it ain't broke, why fix it? and Public Lending Right consultation was rigged from the start.
There is currently a year-on-year reduction in the amount of money made available for paying PLR:

  •     2010/11 £7.45m
  •     2011/12 £7.218m
  •     2012/13 £7.084m
  •     2013/14 £6.977m
  •     2014/15 £6.956m

All of that aside, it's still worth registering your work.

The Society of Authors recently e-mailed round a circular:

The deadline for registering and submitting new ISBNs to claim your Public Lending Right money is the end of June. Different editions of the same title (paperback, large print etc) have their own ISBNs and all need to be registered separately so as not to miss out on loans. Don’t forget that PLR can’t be awarded retrospectively, so claim it now, or lose it!

Payments are made once a year, in February. In February 2013, payments were made on the basis of 6.20 pence per loan. Payments are made from the year of registration, so if you register now you will receive your first payment in February 2014. A maximum payment of £6,600 per author applies and a minimum payment threshold stands at £1 under which, no payment will be made. Applications on behalf of deceased authors are not allowed under PLR legislation.

If anyone knows the situation for PLR in America or outside the EU, please feel free to share in the comment box below.

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