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.