Public letter to Sheila Bennett, Head of Libraries Strategy and Delivery at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) about PLR.
The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) fully supports the request by the Society of Authors that the government does not reduce the Public Lending Rate (PLR) currently paid to writers, and that it should ‘ring-fence the PLR budget and increase the already meagre fund’.
Despite public perceptions based on a tiny number of very successful individuals, authors are amongst the lowest paid workers in the UK with median annual earnings around £7000. This figure has dropped significantly since 2006 when it was £12330. It is now below minimum wage levels, and many authors rely on their PLR earnings, especially in the current economic climate.
Whilst the need for lockdowns is no longer a factor, the cost of living crisis compounded by inflation has had a significant impact on authors in real terms. There has been no change to the PLR cap of £6,600 for several years yet inflation has risen at an alarming rate. We respectfully ask that the government also increases the cap in line with inflation.
Jean Fullerton, RNA Chair, said, “The Romantic Novelists’ Association stands shoulder to shoulder with the Society of Authors on the issue of cutting PLR which will have such a detrimental effect on our members’ income. This decision affects all of our members, many of whom earn nowhere near the £6,600 cap.”
The RNA urges the government to rethink this decision and not reduce the rate from 30.53p to 13.69p, otherwise this could push more authors into poverty. In an era when people will often pay more for a personalised birthday card than they will for a book, crafted by an author over many hundreds of hours, it is disappointing that the government are threatening to take away one of the meagre income sources authors currently access.
The Board of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
PLR is the amount paid to authors when their book is borrowed from a public library.
The Society of Authors reports that there are plans to decrease the rate per loan to 13.69p.
Author income: source – Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)
ABOUT THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION:
The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) is a professional body primarily for writers of romantic fiction. Founded in 1960 to provide a voice for romance authors and to be a network for writers, it continues to raise the prestige of romantic fiction and encourage romantic authorship. Their membership includes writers across the spectrum of commercial and women’s fiction, along with publishing industry professionals, booksellers, and book reviewers. In addition to organising annual publishing awards, they also host a range of workshops, talks, networking events, a three-day annual conference, and provide support to unpublished authors through their New Writers’ Scheme.
For more information about the Romantic Novelists’ Association, please visit their website: https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org
Contact: Annette Hannah Pressofficer@romanticnovelistsassociation.org