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Library book loan payment scheme updated to benefit authors enabling authors to earn up to £6,600 from loans of their books from libraries.

  • Scheme enables authors to earn up to £6,600 from loans of their books from libraries
  • Payments to authors for library loans to be made fairer through use of improved data
  • Estates of deceased authors will be able to receive payments for their work more easily

More authors are set to benefit from improvements to the Scheme that pays them when their books are loaned from public libraries in the UK.

The Public Lending Right (PLR) Scheme provides authors with an income of up to £6,600 a year from loans of their books from public libraries in the UK and pays out more than £6 million annually. The rate paid to authors for each loan is calculated by dividing the total money available by the estimated total annual number of loans in public libraries.

The PLR Scheme currently specifies that the number of loans is to be determined by means of a sample, with data from 30 councils used to assist payment calculations. These new changes will see the British Library move towards collecting comprehensive loans data from all library authorities in the UK to ensure authors are getting their fair share.

This means that the more of their books are loaned out by public libraries, the more income an author will receive through the Scheme.

According to the latest public statistics, Richard Osman’s novel The Thursday Murder Club was the most borrowed book from libraries in 2021/22 while authors including Roald Dahl, Daisy Meadows and Lee Child were among the top ten most popular.

The Scheme will also be changed to simplify the process for those who have inherited rights to a book from a deceased author, removing unnecessary, bureaucratic processes like the requirement to involve legal professionals.

Arts & Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

Libraries are an invaluable resource for people of all ages and backgrounds across the country, opening up access to a wealth of enlightenment and enjoyment.

It is only right that authors receive fair payment when their work is loaned from libraries. These changes to the scheme will ensure that it is working as fairly and effectively as possible.

Phil Spence OBE, Chief Operating Officer of the British Library, said:

We welcome these changes to the Public Lending Right Scheme – this allows for more information to be gathered on loans data, which will enable us to better serve the authors and creators whose works are loaned from public libraries, and the readers that borrow from them too.

The British Library receives funding from DCMS to run the Public Lending Right Scheme. Payments are made annually to eligible authors who register their work. Authors residing in the UK or European Economic Area are eligible to apply.

Changes to the Public Lending Right Scheme, which was established in 1982, will come into force on 31 October 2023.

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