Author Payment For Library Use

I was pretty excited when as an author, I recalled that there was a program for author payment for library use of a book. I hunted down the online information and downloaded my application.

It turns out that I will not be paid for my book. (Opens in a new window) But I can now tell everyone else about the program and how it works. (I'll tell you why I don't qualify below.) The details in this article apply to Canada, but the principles will be similar for other countries with programs. I will give you a link to information about other programs below.

reading at the library. Will the author be paid?

What is the PLR program?

PLR stands for Public Lending Right. In Canada, the PLR commission was established in 1986 by Cabinet. At the time, Canada became the 13th country with a program to compensate authors for the use of their works in libraries. As of March 11, 2010, when I'm writing this, there are 29 countries with such a program.

How the PLR program works

In Canada, eligible authors register their works by mail between February 15 and May 1. The registration form is available for download online or by requested mail.

When the book is accepted, the PLR Commission checks the collections of six of the largest libraries in the country. If your book is in any of those libraries, the PLR Commission sends the author a cheque along with a report of where the books are housed. Many authors appreciate the information as much as the money.

How much can I make from library use?

Not a huge sum. But most authors are happy for any income at all from their books. And if your book has gone out of print, author payment for library use might be all you get, so don't sneeze at it.

The commission uses a formula to calculate your payment. In Canada, each library is assigned a value. Let's call the libraries A, B, C, D, E, and F. Let's say that you have books in libraries A, E, and F. And let's say that library A is the most valuable of all the libraries. Your pay will be the value of each library where your book is, but the most valuable library is counted twice. So you would get the amount (AX2)+E+F. 

Your cheque will have either two or three digits in it. As I said, not much, but over time, it will add up.

Who can apply?

Because this site is built to last and because rules change from time to time, I will not give you all the rules here, but there are many books that do not qualify. Mine didn't. 

If you live in Canada, you can check the rules for author eligibility here. (Opens in a new window)

I lost out because I have 23 photographers listed in my book. I'd be sad, except that the photos are spectacular and I wouldn't have a book at all without them.

Please, please, please, read the list of ineligible books. That's a request from the kind man who spoke to me on the phone when I told him I would be writing an article. They don't need loads of paperwork from people who won't qualify.


The PLR Commission won't tell which libraries they use. But if I had a book that qualified, I'd be making sure that my book got into the biggest library in every possible province and territory. I'd even make donations if I had to. It would be worth it ov

Links for author payment for library use

In Canada, visit the Public Lending Right Commission. (Opens in a new window)

Download a pdf file of all countries with programs for author payment for library use.

Other links for writers

If you are still writing your book, you might want a sample edit.

Do it yourselfers like Get Your Writing Fighting Fit.

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This is Jack Popjes and one of his published books. He and I worked on multiple projects. He's  met many goals.

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