Sunday, March 22, 2009

PLR’s 30th Anniversary

22 March 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of the PLR Act which came after many years of campaigning by authors for the right to receive a payment for the free lending out of their books by public libraries.

The basic principle of PLR has not changed since then though the Scheme has extended its reach considerably at home and internationally.

Here, the Scheme’s remit has been expanded beyond writers to include payments to others who contribute to a book’s content: illustrators, translators, editors and photographers.

Incredibly cheap to administer -- this has to be one of the few Government run schemes which has actually reduced costs while giving the authors who benefit from it more -- PLR provides a vital source of income for all authors, but most especially those whose books are primarily a "library" read. There are in fact some publishers -- Severn, Linford, F A Thorpe, Hale for example, whose books are bought almost wholly by public libraries and the reality of that situation is that while a handful of authors make the headlines with seven figure advances, the majority earn considerably less than the minimum wage.

Every one of us whether we receive the minimum payment of £5 or the maximum of £6,600 will raise a glass to those determined -- some might say bloody minded! -- writers who campaigned for years with the Society of Authors to make this happen and refused to take "no" for an answer or go away.

And to the tremendously hard working staff at the PLR office.

God bless you all.


Nell Dixon said...

Here, here - cheers to PLR!

Jan Jones said...

Happy Anniversary, PLR! And as a Hale author, may I say right now how grateful I am for those early-days pioneers.

Michelle Styles said...

Three cheers for PLR!

It is a wonderful institution! Long may it continue.

Kate Hardy said...

Absolutely, Liz. And I'm grateful, too. That PLR money has made a dream or two come true in this house, which we couldn't have afforded otherwise (my piano being a prime example).

Cheers to PLR and the prioneers.

Jen Black said...

PLR was and still is a great idea and long may it continue!

Anne McAllister said...

Well said, Liz. Now if they would only grant it to those of us whose books are read in UK but who live across the pond, it would be even better.

And while governments are at it, ours in the US could try something similar!

Liz Fielding said...

I'm afraid that the US would have to set up their own scheme so that there would be a reciprocal arrangement, Anne. It happens with a lot of European countries.

It took 20 years of campaigning to get the system up and running in the UK so you need to get started!