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Authors lead call for e-book lending payments

  • Date: 16 May 2012
  • Area: National
Tolstoy War and Peace showing on eReader screen

Library e-books more popular than ever. Credit: Anthony Devlin (PA Images)

Authors have called for a change to library lending regulations, which currently allow digital copies of their work to be borrowed without any payment.

Payment for hard copies

Under the rules of the Public Lending Right (PLR) scheme, authors are paid 6.05p each time a hard copy of their book is lent, up to a total of £6,600. However the same rules do not apply when e-book or audiobook versions are loaned.

Nicola Solomon, a member of the Society of Authors commented:

'It's very important to understand that authors do rely on PLR; it's not just a nice little bonus.

'Many authors get PLR who are not bestsellers but do very well in libraries. People borrow very different books from those they buy, and authors can't continue to write if they are not paid for their work.'

Digital borrowing and the law

The rise in popularity of eReaders has meant the numbers of digital books being borrowed from UK libraries have also risen sharply.

This in turn led to the Digital Economy Act 2010 allowing payment to authors, however no formal legislation has yet been put in place to enforce this.

Libraries of the future

The rapidly evolving digital landscape is one topic up for discussion at a series of events happening across the country this month as part of Envisioning the library of the future, a programme of research and debate.

The events draw on research carried out to date for the programme on socio-economic and technological trends and innovations and how these might impact on libraries services from 2022.

Debate and discussion at each event will feed into this research programme and will ultimately help to shape the Arts Council's vision and policy for supporting and developing public libraries.

Those unable to attend a workshop can still feed into the research via our online conversation, by commenting on posts by guest bloggers on the blog and using #ACElibraries on Twitter.

Find out more

To find out more about how we work with libraries, visit the Supporting libraries section of the website.