Every year the Public Lending Right sends registered authors a statement estimating how many times their books were borrowed from UK libraries lately. To compensate for lost sales, the PLR pays 6.25 pence per loan. There's a maximum payment threshold [£6600] to prevent immensely popular authors from draining the PLR's coffers.
More than 23,000 authors will get payments for the most recent PLR period [July 2009-June 2010], with around 360 on the maximum amount. I’m a minnow in such matters, but can look forward to a nice three-figure payment next month. By some quirk of sampling my latest payment is a fraction up from last year - which is nice.
That's despite the fact I've been concentrating on screenwriting rather than novels and non-fiction books. Shifting my focus elsewhere means my top ten tomes bear a startling resemblance to what they were this time last year. But the running order moves around, as the most borrowed books battle for supremacy on the list.
My four Fiends novels and the omnibus edition of the Eastern Front trilogy continue to dominate this list. Indeed, the Pacific setting in Fiends of the Rising Sun proved especially popular, doubling the number of borrowings from the previous year and reclaiming top spot on my list after a year down in the silver medal position.
That bumped my most recent novel - A Massacre in Marienburg - down to second. I say recent, but it's more than two years since it was published and nearly three years since I finished writing it. Fiends books of various stripes occupy places 3-5, and number 8. The others are either Nikolai Dante novels or A Nightmare on Elm Street omnibus.
There is one exception. Nearly eight years ago I wrote a book detailing eighty films starring British acting legend Michael Caine. It sold very badly at the time and has been all but forgotten, or I'd thought. But last year's list saw it jump into the bubbling under section and now it's up to number 9. Whatever next?
Anyway, here's my top ten tomes for July 2009 - June 2010 (with previous year's placing in brackets):-
1. (2) Fiends of the Rising Sun (Jul 07)
2. (1) A Massacre in Marienburg (published Dec 08)
3. (6) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Operation Vampyr (Oct 05)
4. (5) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Omnibus edition (Feb 07)
5. (3) Fiends of the Eastern Front: The Blood Red Army (Apr 06)
6. (8) From Russia With Lust: Nikolai Dante omnibus (Apr 07)
7. (7) Ripped From a Dream: Nightmare on Elm St omnibus (Oct 06)
8. (4) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Twilight of the Dead (Jul 06)
9. (13) Starring Michael Caine (Aug 03)
10. (7) Nikolai Dante: Imperial Black (Sep 05)
Bubbling under - The Complete Inspector Morse (the original 2002 paperback, long since superceded by three subsequent editions, up from 16th to 11th most borrowed of my books); Nikolai Dante: Honour Be Damned (12th for the second year running); and Doctor Who: Empire of Death (down from 11th to 13th this year).