Every year the Public Lending Right sends registered authors a statement estimating how many times their books were borrowed from UK libraries. To compensate for lost sales, the PLR pays about six pence per loan. There's a maximum payment threshold [£6600] to prevent bestselling authors from draining the PLR's precious coffers of cash.
Nearly 23,000 authors will get payments for the most recent PLR
period [July 2012-June 2013], with about 300 on the maximum amount.
The fate of the PLR is in flux, as traditional publishing transitions to
eBooks and cash-strapped councils close libraries. In the meantime,
authors welcome this new year bonus.
I’m a minnow when it comes to PLR payments, never getting more than £500
in any given year. But I've been
concentrating on screenwriting since 2007 and haven't written a new
novel in nearly a decade, so the size of my payment has been tumbling. That
trend continues as my dog-eared tomes disappear from libraries.
This time the most borrowed book featuring my work was the Judge Dredd graphic novel, Heavy Metal Dredd. Thanks to the recent movie starring Karl Urban, an old omnibus of Dredd novels made my top ten this year, with two of my Dredd novels bubbling under.
My last published novel - A Massacre
in Marienburg, a Warhammer tome for Games Workshop's Black Library - dropped from first to second this year. It's a sobering thought that all my novels on this list are out
of print as physical tomes, although nearly half are still available as eBooks. Happily, both
graphic novels on the list are still in print.
My Fiends of the Eastern Front novels, plus the Rising Sun spin-off and
compilation Stalingrad, continue to dominate even though they date back nearly ten years in some cases. Horror also features in my Nightmare on Elm Street novel
Suffer the Children.
One of my old Doctor Who novels made a comeback, after years off this list. This could well be due to sampling error - the PLR results are estimates,
based on indicative results from a fluctuating list of libraries, so it's not an exact science. Anyway, here are my top ten tomes for July
2012 - June 2013 (with previous year's placing in brackets):-
1. (3) Heavy Metal Dredd (graphic novel, published Apr 09)
2. (1) A Massacre in Marienburg (Dec 08)
3. (4) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Stalingrad (graphic novel, Oct 10)
4. (7) Fiends of the Eastern Front: Twilight of the dead (Jul 06)
5. (-) I am the Law: Judge Dredd omnibus (Oct 06)
6. (5) Fiends of the Eastern Front: The Blood Red Army (Apr 06)
7. (-) Starring Michael Caine (Aug 03)
8. (2) Fiends of the Rising Sun (Jul 07)
9. (-) Doctor Who: Amorality Tale (Apr 02)
10. (9) A Nightmare on Elm Street: Suffer the Children (May 05)
Bubbling under - Judge Dredd: Kingdom of the Blind; The Complete Inspector Morse; and Judge Dredd: Bad Moon Rising.