Public Lending Renumer-wha?

Where were you at 11.30am on March 3rd? If, like me, you missed the launch of The Public Lending Remuneration Scheme (PLR) then this might of interest to ye…

In the not so distant past the European Union decided that Irish libraries should be paying authors for the loan of their books. Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) is the mechanism set up to provide those payments… BUT they need writers to register in order to receive the payments.

So if you have written a book and it is stocked by libraries, and subsequently read by someone, then you are due some payment from the Library Council. There are 12.5 million loans of books each year - this ‘aint to be scoffed at.

At the launch today Éilís Ní Dhuibhne said

The part libraries play in disseminating books, often long after they have gone out of print, is crucial. My guess is that libraries will be even more used in the future. That authors will now benefit thanks to the implementation of PLR in Ireland is wonderful. I am immensely grateful to the Irish Writer’s Union and others who have campaigned long and hard for this day.

So log on to and get yerself registered!

Written by david. in: Uncategorized |


  • A couple of interesting points about PLR: the fact the the individual author has to register is a pain, and the fact that the publisher gets nothing at all is curious … authors do need the cash, don’t get me wrong, but it could be seen as a conflict of interest — authors will want their books in libraries as they get extra revenue, but there is no similar incentive for publishers to push their books in there.

    Comment | March 3, 2009
  • So uh… no more libraries then?

    Comment | March 3, 2009
  • Celine

    emordino: this scheme has been in operation in the UK, Canada and (I think) the US for years. I suspect they still have libraries. (but I know what you mean. It feels a little odd to be asking libraries to pay for the use of books.)

    Comment | March 4, 2009
  • @Ivan - This may be my own naivety showing but I see the incentive being readers. A kid reading a book in a library could become a fan and look for more books in the library and beyond. And there is selling the books to the libraries which means some revenue, however small.

    @Eli It means that the already struggling Library Council budget faces more stress - but PLR was found to be legally necessary and will have to be budgeted for from here on.

    @Celine - Comments are turned off on the blog. I can’t say hi… so I’ll do it in person on Friday :)

    Comment | March 4, 2009
  • Celine

    David: Wah! Ever since I started getting spammed, folks don’t seem to be able to comment! I have no idea why! I’ll go back and try and fix it again … it should just ask you to wait until the mod ( me!) has approved the comment, does it actually just slam the door in your gob instead? Bummer!

    Can’t wait to see you on Friday! I’ll be the short, plump woman in lucky green high-heels nervously hiding in a corner :0D

    bTW, I agree with you about the incentive being readers. When I was a kidlet, I would often get a book from the library and if I loved it, would go buy it to keep.

    Comment | March 4, 2009
  • Hi David,
    of course the incentive is library sales, but they existed anyway! What is happening here is that a new incremental revenue stream is being added, but not in a way that incentivises everybody.
    It’s quite analagous to the (sometimes penal) high-discount royalty rates that some publishers have: in some cases, a sale of a book at 49% discount might attract a royalty of 15%, while one at 50% might only attract 5%: this creates a strong incentive for the publisher to sell at 50%, at the expense of the author.
    So now it is in an author’s strong interest to get a book into a library, while the publisher will have less interest, and less to gain. Anyhow, it’s set up that way, so we’re stuck with it.

    Comment | March 4, 2009
  • Who was the most borrowed authors in Irish Libraries in January 2009? « very hungry caterpillar’s Weblog

    [...] Interesting chat about other implications of PLR over on David’s blog [...]

    Pingback | March 4, 2009

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