Every year a wonderful organisation called the Public Lending Right sends registered authors a statement estimating how many times their books were borrowed from British libraries in recent times. To compensate for the lost sale, the PLR pays out about six pence per loan. There's a maximum payment threshold of £6600, to prevent immensely popular authors draining the PLR's coffers.
More than 20,000 authors will get payments for the most recent PLR period [July 2008-June 2009], with around 360 on the maximum amount. I’m a minnow in such matters, but can look forward to a nice three-figure sum in February. Alas, my latest payment is only half the amount it was two years ago - shifting focus to screenwriting means less PLR money for me, it seems.
Unsurprisingly, my most recent novel - A Massacre in Marienburg - was also the most borrowed of my books [fresh books get borrowed more. But two of my Judge Dredd novels from 1993 have been rediscovered in libraries of late, and most of my tomes saw action in the latest PLR period (even the bomb that was my guide to the films of Michael Caine). Here's my top ten tomes for July 2008 - June 2009 (with previous year's placing in brackets):-
1. (-) A Massacre in Marienburg (published Dec 08)
2. (1) Fiends of the Rising Sun (Jul 07)
3. (3) Fiends of the Eastern Front: The Blood Red Army (Apr 06)
4. (4) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Twilight of the Dead (Jul 06)
5. (6) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Omnibus edition (Feb 07)
6. (2) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Operation Vampyr (Oct 05)
7. (13) Ripped From a Dream: Nightmare on Elm St omnibus (Oct 06)
8. (15) From Russia With Lust: Nikolai Dante omnibus (Apr 07)
9. (8) I Am The Law: The Judge Dredd Omnibus (Oct 06)
10. (7) A Murder in Marienburg (May 07)
Bubbling under - Doctor Who: Empire of Death (up from 16th last year); Doctor Who: Amorality Tale (up from 18th last year); and Starring Michael Caine (up from 19th).
A Massacre in Marienburg finally unseated my various Fiends novels from top spot, which they had dominated for three years in succession. But the WWII vampires series continues to dominate the list, taking places 2-6. The other top ten slots go to omnibus editions of my Black Flame tomes and another Marienburg novel [all published by Nottingham's Games Workshop].
Most of my fiction has now slipped out of print, but Kindle owners can download my various Black Flame tomes from Amazon. I don't get any royalties on books that were published by Black Flame, so the PLR money is a nice after-the-fact bonus for me. Thanks to the thousands of readers who borrowed my books last year, and keep supporting your local libraries!