Public Lending Right – IMPORTANT NOTICE November 2016

Important notice for publisher writers about PLR 2016 payments

If you registered titles with the National Library for the Public Lending Right scheme (PLR), on or around the 28th October you will have received an email with the survey results for the titles you have registered. The list shows your books broken down into ‘versions’, as they have stopped counting all versions of a title as one item. Many titles may no longer receive PLR payment this year.

PLR staff have explained what they mean by versions as follows:

What’s a version?
“Version” is not strictly synonymous with “edition” as, for example, paperback and hardback editions with the same publication details (place of publication, publisher and date of publication) are treated as the same version.  Essentially a version differs from another in that the intellectual content is different or the publication details are different.

So if, for example, the publisher changed but the text remained the same, that would now be considered a different version, with these two ‘versions’ of the title counted as two separate titles. This change makes it much harder for a title with more than one version to reach a threshold of 50 copies held at Libraries which makes it eligible for PLR payment, even though the cumulative total is well over the 50 copy threshold.

This change to the administration system is of concern to many authors and to the NZ Society of Authors as it disadvantages many authors. The change was made with no consultation, and no modelling to see what the impact would be for titles with many versions.

In your email from PLR you are invited to write in by 30 November 2016 if you believe that an error has been made in determining the number of copies of your book(s).  They require you to state your reasons for believing that there has been an error.

According to PLR Regulations your book should be counted as a single book, no matter the number of versions, unless it is published in more than one volume because each volume contains a different component, then each volume is counted as a separate book (regulation 9.5).

We wrote to PLR about this on 3 November and again this week, and have not heard back. The National Library in Wellington is closed due to earthquake damage so it is unclear how they are managing communications during this time. Regardless, we highly recommend you write to the Chief Librarian if you are unhappy with this change.

Individual protests are important as they reinforce the stance NZSA is making: Regulations to PLR should not change without prior consultation with the PLR Advisory Group who in turn consult with us. This did not happen.

Bill Macnaught, Chief Librarian, National Library of New Zealand, PO Box 1467. Wellington 6140.

UPDATE 25 November 2017

It is our understanding that if you do not tell the Chief Librarian that you are unhappy with this years list of eligible books being broken down into versions, PLR administration will not merge all versions of your titles prior to payment.

We have written to the PLR Advisory Group and the National Librarian making our recommendations. Breaking titles down into editions is particularly unfair to authors of books that have been re-printed or published by more than one publisher due to popularity. Calculating the eligibility of a book for payment should be a tally of all versions of the one title regardless of the publisher / publication date.

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