Thursday, 12 March 2015

Extra Income for Writers...

UK writers like the first quarter of a new year, because that's the time they find out how much their books have earned from Public Lending Rights (PLR) and from the various forms of written work eligible for Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society payments (ALCS).

Every year when these payments are mentioned among groups of writers on social media there will be a handful who didn't know their work was eligible for these secondary payments, and are quickly encouraged to make sure they register qualifying work.

In February it was announced that non-print material can now be registered for UK PLR. So if you are fortunate enough to have any of your novels as audio-books, then you need to register them before the 30th June 2015 for inclusion in the 2016 payment.

Now, it would be wonderful if e-books lent by the library service qualified for payment too, and if they are actually downloaded on library premises to fixed terminals and taken away for loan, fine.

Sadly this won't apply as generally those libraries that do offer e-book loans do them remotely, so borrowers download to their devices away from the library.

PLR say on their website: "PLR is unable to make payments for remote e-book lending as it continues to be covered under copyright law."

So they are recommending authors not to register e-books.

All writers know the value of libraries. Public libraries nurtured the majority of today's writers, and hopefully will continue to develop the writers of the future.

But sadly with cuts to funding of local authorities, libraries have often taken the brunt of these cuts, and many have closed, restricted opening times, or are now staffed by volunteers.

There was a government-commissioned report into the future of public libraries in the UK- dated December 2014, with a recommendation that, "the government seek to secure changes in European and UK copyright law" to include remote e-book lending.

You can read the report by following the link on the PLR News page, or here.

Whilst it's not necessarily good news for the moment- there's a general election in May and no one can guess if the next government will be able, or have the inclination, to seek those vital changes.

Nevertheless, it is also a big step forward, as a couple of years ago there appeared no hope of anything being done in relation to remuneration for e-book lending from libraries, let alone discussions...




10 comments:

  1. Libraries are great! We need to use them or we risk even more of them being closed down.

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    1. Libraries are valuable resources indeed, Patsy.

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  2. I'm very worried about my local library, I've not been able to get to it for a while due to mobility issues but every few weeks I'm hearing about one cut back or another. I'm wondering if they need to team up with another business, a cafe maybe, or something else to draw in the public.

    Authors seem to get a rough deal on remuneration, I know little about it, but I hope e books will be taken into consideration one day soon.

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    1. Sadly the financial issues affecting libraries seems to be ongoing, with the latest round of local government decisions.

      I agree authors don't always get what they deserve, Maria, but the important thing is ensuring they apply for things like PLR and ALCS. So fingers crossed for remote loan e-book loans at some point in the next few years.

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  3. I always look forward to the ALCS payment, Carol - no matter how much or how little. It's good to know audio books are going to be covered, but I don't have any yet.

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    1. Yes, Rosemary, it is something to look forward to, even if it's only a small amount.

      Audio book PLR also benefits more than just the writer too.

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  4. Thanks Carol - one more thing to worry about when I finally get published! :)

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    1. I wouldn't worry, Lizy. It can go on your 'important to do list when I'm published'. Hope you don't have to wait very long for that.

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  5. I received my first ALCS payment this year and you could have knocked me down wit a feather!

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  6. That first payment is a wonderful feeling, Wendy-and always a surprise at the amount. :-)

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