Friday, 15 May 2009

PLR - Welcome boost in income for Irish authors

The Public Lending Remuneration Scheme

The Public Lending Remuneration Scheme (PLR) was established at the end of 2008 with funding provided by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Authors (and illustrators and translators) who register their books with the Irish Library Council, who are managing the scheme, may be eligible to receive a payment each time the book is borrowed from one of the country’s 358 public libraries. There are 14 million visits to Irish public libraries each year, resulting in 12.5 million loans of books. PLR will mean a small but very welcome supplement to the incomes of hundreds of Irish writers, only a handful of whom are currently able to survive on their writing alone. Payments are made to applicants who have registered titles which have recorded sufficient borrowing to receive a payment. The scheme is capped, so no one writer will benefit disproportionately. Many Irish authors already receive PLR payments from the UK, where a scheme has been in operation since 1979.

Figures released for the first quarter of the year show that books by Irish authors are very popular with Irish library users, with five of the top ten borrowed books in January coming from Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy, Sheila O’Flanagan and Patricia Scanlan. Books by other Irish authors feature in the top fifty, with titles by Cecelia Ahern, John Boyne, Anne Enright, Sebastian Barry, and Cathy Kelly all appearing in the list. The author of the most borrowed book, however, won’t get anything from PLR! The Official Driver Theory Test was the most borrowed book in January, but official publications are not eligible for payment. The most popular author in Irish libraries is the prolific Francesca Simon, who along with illustrator Tony Ross, is behind the Horrid Henry series. Accounts of Horrid Henry’s antics were borrowed almost 5,000 times in January alone, proving that young people in Ireland have a great appetite for reading. The most borrowed Irish author, coming in third overall, was Maeve Binchy, followed by Marian Keyes, Cecilia Ahern, and Sheila O’Flanagan. The ‘most borrowed statistics’ are compiled by the PLR Office from data provided by library services around the country.

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