PLR – keeping writers solvent since 1979


There are a lot of happy writers about at the moment. Last week the statements for PLR were issued. PLR (Public Lending Rights) is a body that collect details of how many books have been borrowed from a selected number of libraries throughout the UK per year. The writer then receives 6.05p per loan of the books they have registered.  

6p doesn’t sound a lot but, boy, do those 6ps add up, especially for well established writers with a long back-list. However, there is a threshold so no one, not even James Patterson or John Grisham, gets more than £6,600. To James Patterson that’s peanuts but to most writers, that amount of money in one go makes a huge difference. To put it in perspective, only 313 writers out of 23,718 received the top band payment, the majority (17,590) received below £99.00 and a further 16,000 received NOTHING because they were below the minimum payment of £1.00.

Children’s authors do particularly well from PLR, especially those who write picture books. Check out the list of the Top 400 most borrowed authors and you’ll see what I mean.

What’s interesting, I think, is that many well known authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and JK Rowling aren’t necessarily the most borrowed. 

I reckon I’m somewhere round number 1000, which out of 23,000, ain’t bad. My most borrowed titles were mainly my most recent ones:

So What if I Hog the Ball? (Walker) was issued 3365 times

Do Goalkeepers Wear Tiaras?  3089

Football Mad (OUP) 3088 (shared with 2 other authors)

Are All Brothers Foul? 3012

Accidental Friends (OUP) 2934

 There’s Only One Danny Ogle was borrowed over 500 times, which is mint seeing as it’s out of print now.

So if you were one of the people who borrowed one of my books last year thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s a real boost, especially when so many bookshops don’t have my books in store.

Sadly, PLR payments, like libraries themselves, are under threat. I don’t know how much longer writers will continue to receive it. Perhaps it is a ‘bonus’, an extra we don’t deserve but it certainly helps get through winter.

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