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PLR consultation

Last updated: 2 April 2013

In October 2010 the government announced its decision to abolish the Registrar of Public Lending Right (the organisation that administers payments from government made every time authors' books are borrowed from public libraries). You can download the Society's full response to the DCMS decision here.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) held a public consultation between 8 May and 30 July 2012 seeking the views of authors and other interested parties on its proposals to transfer responsibility for managing the PLR scheme to another public body.

A summary of the responses to the PLR consultation has been published on the DCMS website, and is available to view here. The summary indicated that the majority of respondents did not want to see the functions of the PLR Registrar transferred to another body.

Despite the overwhelming majority of respondents urging no change to the current system, on 27 March 2013, the DCMS announced that the Public Lending Right body will cease to exist as a separate organisation and responsibility for managing the PLR Scheme will be transferred to the British Library.

The post of Registrar will be abolished and the Registrar’s responsibilities will be taken over by the British Library board. The changes are expected to take effect from 1 October 2013. The day-to-day running of the scheme will stay with the existing PLR operation in Stockton-on-Tees. Jim Parker, the current Registrar, will remain in post until March 2015, in order to ensure a smooth handover, before he steps down one year early from his five-year contract.

These changes in governance will have no impact on PLR as the right of authors to receive payment for the lending out of their books by public libraries. The PLR Scheme will continue to operate in the usual way after the transfer of responsibilities to the British Library. Authors should continue to register their books for UK and Irish PLR with the PLR office in Stockton.

Click here to read more about the transfer of PLR to the British Library

Click here to read the Society's full response to the DCMS decision to transfer PLR functions

Click here to read our original submission to DCMS

Click here to read our joint letter to the press

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Non-member comment:
Guest visitor
July 19, 2012, 3:35 pm


I support your letter and your campaign. I am one of the 'middle' writers who benefit from PLR. Not only is the money welcome, but the psychological boost of knowing that one's books are being borrowed and read is incalculable. Bookshops now only stock the 'newest' works, usually by the well-known or well publicized writers. PLR is a level playing field. And for many of us, a chance for our out of print books to be still read. How Jeremy Hunt has the nerve to head up anything with the word 'culture' in it is beyond me. Reminds me of the old Dorothy Parker bon mot|: ''you can take a whore to culture, but you can't make her think'' (subst. him)

Moira Butterfield says:
May 31, 2012, 12:56 pm

When I saw on Facebook that

When I saw on Facebook that you have got super-poet Andrew motion to support your campaign to keep the wonderful folk of the PLR office, I was inspired to add my own doggerel to the campaign. I've portentously called it 'Power'....

Once there was a man in charge who had a clever thought.
"Those author types," he told his friends, "earn far more than they ought.
They're coining in the money, those scribbling artie-farties.
I've seen all that champers at Jeffrey Archer's parties.
If we take away their PLR, I doubt they'll make a fuss.
A few less nights on fizz for them. A bit more dosh for us."

But the writers said they weren't all rich. They howled that he was wrong.
They didn't dine on caviare and quail's eggs all day long.
Furthermore, the office who payed out the PLR should stay.
And the authors said the man in charge should…ahem…`go away'.

"Alright, alright. I'll cut things just a bit for now," he said.
"If you shut up, I'll take some from the NHS instead."
The man in charge thought that was that. "I'm good," he smiled, but then….
Actions breed reactions, especially in a pen…

The man in charge found that his name was popping up in books,
And on electronic tablets such as Kindle pads and Nooks.
A nasty pirate got his name in a children's tale,
And then there was a crime villain who ended up in jail.
His name was used for sorcerers, and nasty double-dealers,
For cheats, spies and rotten cads, betrayers, frauds and squealers.

Who was the man in charge for real? The people soon forgot.
They only knew him as the bad guy in their favourite story plot...



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