Friday, February 19, 2010

Public Lending Right 2010

I've been telling other writers about Canada's Public Lending Right system for 18 years now, and it always amazes me that some Canadian authors still haven't bothered to register.

The Public Lending Right compensates (to some degree) Canadian authors for the loss of royalty income they have because their books are in public libraries. Most Western countries have a variant of this system, but, as in so many things, conspicuously not the United States.

Here's my report for 2010, which arrived in today's mail along with a cheque for Cdn$3,486.00, the maximum amount an author was entitled to this year. (If there had been no maximum imposed, my share would have been Cdn$5,840.54.)

(The 1992 article linked to above says that they survey 10 libraries; that's an old figure -- the current figure is 7 libraries.)

For all my posts about the PLR, see here, and the PLR website is here.

Robert J. Sawyer online:


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hey, this scheme really works! I just got $2,800!

No, it's not a scam -- it's the Canadian government's annual kickback to Canadian writers to compensate them for their lost royalties on copies of their books circulated in libraries.

Just about every Western country except the United States has such a scheme. I've got so many books, I easily get the maximum payout each year (which this year was $2,800), but authors with smaller oeuvres can still count on getting something.

If you're a Canadian author, and you haven't yet registered your books, now is the time. You've already missed out on payment for 2008, but registration for 2009 is on right now, and only goes until May 1.

Official details are here, a lengthy blog post by me from three years ago on this topic is here, and a now-dated article I wrote about this system -- called The Public Lending Right -- is here (the biggest change in the system between what I described in that 1992 article and how it works today is back then they surveyed ten randomly chosen libraries, and now they survey seven).

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Public Lending Right

Things like the Book Lover's Ball (see the next entry) are one of the reasons I love being an author in Canada -- it's hard to imagine a genre-fiction writer being so well treated in the States.

Another thing I love is that my federal government sends me a kickback every February to compensate me for royalties lost through the circulation of my books through public libraries. (Most Western countries do this for their domestic authors, recognizing the principle that it's unfair to tax an author and then use those tax dollars to finance a system that deprives the author of income; the U.S. is a notable exception, in not offering such payments to authors). It's called "The Public Lending Right," and the cheque I got was for $2,873.50, which was the maximum any one author was allowed to receive this year.

The system is based on surveying the card catalogs of seven randomly selected mid-sized libraries. If a specific title of yours is in one of the libraries (regardless of how many copies that library has of that title), you get a "hit" worth (this year) $41.05; if you're in all seven libraries with that title, you get seven times that amount, which is $287.35. You get a half-hit for translated editions. In aggregate, my hits happened to be worth $5,529.46 -- but, as I said, there's a maximum, to keep the most-popular authors from taking all the money out of the pool.

If you're curious about the math of such things, have a look here (a PDF file showing my hit schedule for this year). I was pleased to see that the English editions of every single one of my novels are in every one of the libraries, and even oddball stuff like my small-press essay collection Relativity was in three of the seven libraries searched.

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