Thank God for lending rights

A very short blog today, mostly because it’s a small but important subject!

We’re very lucky here in Australia to have a government-run system called lending rights. Each time someone borrows one of my books from a library, the borrow is logged and once a year those borrows are tallied up and I get a cheque in the mail. Nice, huh?

Sure, it’s not like we’re talking a huge payday, but when you’re an author, any cheque is good…welcome, needed…and cashed at the bank within 24 hours.

We have two lending rights programs — public lending rights (PLR) and educational lending rights (ELR). As the name might suggest, public lending rights come from the public libraries that stock your books and educational lending rights come from  schools, universities and other educational institutions that buy and hold copies of your book. 

I got my most recent PLR and ELR payment fairly recently, as it’s in line with our financial tax year (which for some unknown reason is 1 July to 30 June).

So, I’d like to says thanks to the Aussie Government, and to the library borrowers out there. Sure, it’s a lot less $ per book than what I’d get from a sale, but every little bit helps. And it’s also increasing my reader base, which is a good thing for every author.

So, do other countries have a similar lending rights system? What are your thoughts on this extra author payment. In case you want some cold hard figures, I usually get $2,000-$3,000 a year, mostly from PLR rather than ELR — my books aren’t in many school libraries, for obvious reasons.

PS: As I mentioned in my Wildcard blog on Tuesday, I’m travelling so I’m not sure how much access I’ll have to join in the discussion…just chat among yourselves! 

7 thoughts on “Thank God for lending rights

  1. Barbie

    I'm actually pretty impressed you posted numbers here! Now, that's balls for ya 😛

    Nope, nothing like that in Brazil. Of course, no one uses libraries, either.

  2. Sarah W

    I love this!

    I think it strikes a balance among the publishers (who want to make money), the writers (who would like to make rent and buy groceries), and the libraries (who are dedicated to squeezing just one more read out of all the books).

    And it might help solve the eBook lending squabble!

    Of course, easier said than done in the States, as the plan involves logic, money, the government, and the literate arts . . .

  3. Larry Gasper

    We have Public Lending Rights here in Canada. Every February I get a cheque from PLR. I always forget it's coming so it's a nice little surprise. They have a formula that looks at how many libraries your book is in out of a sample and pay a set amount per library. There's a cap on how much you can make. I think it's around $3,500. After a certain number of years the amount of money you can make for a book starts going down. It gets complicated so I just cash the cheque and run.
    We also have Access Copywrite payments, which cover people photocopying parts of your book. No educational lending rights as far as I know though.

  4. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I've always been envious of other countries' lending rights. Nothing like that in the libraries here, BUT – Amazon's lending library currently pays out a hefty $2.00 per lend per book (approximately – it goes up and down a few cents every month, and it's for books enrolled in Kindle Select only.) And THAT is a seriously nice side income – since I put Huntress Moon out I'm getting a few thousand a month from lends alone.

  5. P.A. Wilson

    Hi, from Canada. As far as I know Access Copywrite covers off the educational lending rights. Like Larry, I don't worry about the calculation, I just deposit the cheques.

  6. Casey Ryback

    that's a pretty great system you have there in Australia. Nothing like that (that i know of) in the U.S. that would be great though as it would give an incentive to authors to pump out more books.

  7. PD Martin

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. Sorry for the delayed response, I'm currently in Korea!

    I think Canada and Australia have a few things in common – and obviously lending rights is one of them. It is nice to get that cheque, even if it's only for a couple of thousand dollars. It's better than nothing 🙂

    Alex, so far my loans in Amazon have been low, but I hope to build on that!


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