Solomon warns on PLR

The Society of Authors has approved the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s plans to raise the PLR rate, but urged that volunteer libraries and e-books should all be covered by the payment.

Each year, the Public Lending Right Registrar recommends to the DCMS the amount that should be paid to authors in compensation for the loans of their books at public libraries. The DCMS then consults on the plans.

For 2013, it has been recommended that the rate rise from 6.05p to 6.2p, a rise of close to 2.5%. Clare Pilman, a director at the DCMS, said: “The recommended increase is in part due to savings made in the costs of running the scheme, and in part due to a decrease in the estimated loans of books registered for PLR.”

Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors [pictured], responded: “We are pleased to note that you propose an increase on the rate per loan next year from 6.05p per loan to 6.2p per loan.” However, she noted: “The total PLR fund will continue to decline in accordance with the 15% reduction in funding in real terms over the period 2011/12 – 2014/15 following the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.”

As well as praising the PLR administration body for its efficiency, Solomon said she was “sad to note” the decrease in book loans, which she saw as “caused, no doubt, by the cuts in library services and the exclusion of some volunteer-run libraries from the scheme. It is our view that such libraries should be included in the PLR scheme . . . We also urge the Government to protect the library service which is under serious threat because of local council-cost cutting.”

She added: “We also wish to remind you that s43 of the Digital Economy Act 2010 extends PLR to audiobooks and ebooks lent out from library premises for a limited time but these payments have never been implemented. This is patently unjust and a clear breach of the Rental and Lending Directive. We urge that this provision be brought into force and that extra funds be made available to cover PLR payments for such lending.”