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Monday, December 22, 2014

Public Lending Right in New Zealand

It's that time of year again, when registered New Zealand authors look eagerly at their bank account statements for that magical sum of money that will tide them over Christmas.

It's the Public Lending Right scheme, which compensates New Zealand authors for royalties lost when people borrow their books from libraries, instead of buying them from bookstores.  No one has thought of compensating the bookstores for lost sales yet!  But nonetheless it is a blessing.

Here is how it works.  If you are a New Zealand author with published books, and have not registered with the scheme, read with great attention.

Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors

The Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors scheme was established in 2008 to compensate New Zealand authors, illustrators, and editors for the use of your books in New Zealand libraries.
As an author registered with the scheme, you’re entitled to receive annual compensation based on the number of copies of your title held in New Zealand libraries. This number is determined by a regular survey.

Registering for the scheme

You must register with the scheme each year in order to be eligible for payment, whether or not you have any new books.
You need to be a New Zealand resident to register, meaning you have been in New Zealand for at least half of the last year, or you have a permanent abode here.
The registration period is between 1 January and 30 April each year. We make any owed payments in December.
Registration has closed for 2014. You can register again from 1 January 2015.
Your registration must be received or post dated on or before 30 April, the date set by our legislation, or we can’t register you.
Up to three contributors – authors, illustrators, and editors – can register for one title, and their payment will be split.

Payments from the PLR fund

The Public Lending Right fund ($2,000,000 annually) is divided among registered authors, based on how many copies of their works are held by libraries.
If you’re eligible for a payment, you’ll receive it by December 31, directly into your nominated bank account.
In the unfortunate event that you die after registering, the payment will go to your estate. However, your heirs may not re-register for you in subsequent years.
We cannot make payment for years when you were not registered.

Titles included in the scheme

The scheme makes payments for books published by 31 March of the registration year, and doesn’t include ebooks or audiobooks.
  • Adult books must be at least 48 pages long.
  • Children’s books must be at least 24 pages of text or text and illustrations
  • Poetry must be at least 24 pages in length.
  • Editors registering must have contributed at least 48 pages to the book they are editing.
You need to have at least 50 copies of a title in New Zealand libraries to get a payment.
You must be entitled to receive a royalty payment or income from the sale of your book. Self published books are eligible.

More information for New Zealand authors

Send registrations, requests for information and queries to:
Faye Rodgers
Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors Coordinator
PO Box 1467
Wellington 6140
Phone (04) 470 4528

Operation of the scheme

The Public Lending Right Advisory Group advises the Chief Executive on regulatory proposals, policy, and administrative matters relating to the scheme.
The National Library pays for the scheme’s operation, and the fund goes entirely to registered authors, illustrators, and editors.

Surveying New Zealand libraries

We count titles by surveying a sample of New Zealand libraries, based on advice from Statistics New Zealand. The nature of the survey alternates each year, between counting all titles, and only counting new titles.
We survey the National Library, all the large public libraries, the university libraries, consortia like SMART, and a rotating selection of the rest of New Zealand libraries
All the print copies of a title held by the library being surveyed are counted.
This weighted survey methodology gives us an estimated count – you may find your title count is 58.5 copies, or (frustratingly) 49.9. To maintain the fairness of the fund, we can’t round counts up to meet the threshold for payment.
Title counts may go up or down each year as we survey different libraries, or as they purchase or dispose of copies.
While you could boost your numbers by donating copies to libraries, it’s not likely to be cost-effective.

I love that last sentence!

This year, the payment will be made on 23 December.

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