For the first time ever over the past few weeks, fortunate Equity audiobook readers have been receiving notice of the fairly substantial payments they will receive for PLR on books they have recorded – some payments running into the thousands of pounds. This is thanks to Equity’s incredible efforts in winning a hard-fought battle lasting several years to get audiobook readers included in payments for library borrowed audiobooks. Many of you may never have heard of PLR, or even realize that you may also be eligible for payments, so read on for more information.
What is PLR?
PLR stands for Public Lending Right and is the right to payment for anyone who has contributed to a book that is lent out by the British and Irish library systems. Dating from 1979, the scheme was originally intended for authors only; however, in recent years, Equity has fought for the right for audiobook readers to be recognized as well, and as of 2014, audiobook readers have been able to register to receive a share of payments, alongside illustrators, photographers, translators, and editors.
How Does It Work?
PLR is calculated on the basis of a rate per loan – in other words, there is a payment for each time a book is borrowed – with the loans data being taken from a sample of UK public libraries which changes every year. An audiobook reader will receive 20 percent of the loan rate, 10 percent if the book was multi-voiced. The current rate is 7.67 pence. This may not seem like very much, but once you take into account that a single book may be borrowed hundreds of times across dozens of libraries, the amounts begin to add up.
PLR payments are made annually, the calculation year running from 1 July to 30 June of the following year. Do note that PLR payments are not retrospective, so the sooner you sign up the better. You must have registered by 30 June to be eligible for the respective calculation year’s payments.
Who is Eligible?
As of 2014, if you have recorded a book in any hard copy format – cassette, CD, MP3 CD, etc. – which is on loan in a UK library, you are eligible to register for PLR. Do note that Kindle, Amazon Audible, and other audiobooks that are only available as streamed or electronic files are not covered by the scheme. However, there is no time limit as to when you recorded the book, so even if you recorded a book on cassette 20 years ago, it may still be eligible for payment.
How Do I Register?
The process can take up to several days when you initially set up your account, so don’t leave it until the last minute to register. To apply, first go to www.plr.uk.com, and click on “Apply for a UK PLR Online Account.” You will then be prompted to fill in your details, including your bank details, which they need in order to pay you. After you submit all your information, you will then receive a confirmation email prompting you to print a “Certificate and Declaration Form.” This form is essentially to prove that you are who you say you are, so therefore you will need to fill it in and post it along with proof of ID to PLR – a quaint but surprisingly secure method. The ID documents accepted include items such as utility or phone bills sent to your home address, so you don’t need to mail a passport or drivers’ license.
Once your documents have been received and logged by PLR, they will email you with an online User ID and activate your account, at which point you can begin to log the titles that you have voiced.
This is where the fun begins, as you will need to provide the ISBN number for each version of each book you have ever recorded – i.e. cassette, CD, MP3 CD, etc. You can often find these by going to the publishers’ websites or doing a search on Amazon. Do remember, however, that Amazon Audible and Kindle books are not eligible for PLR, nor are books read for the RNIB. If you are an especially experienced or prolific reader, this may seem like an onerous task, but you only have to do it once for each book, and it is definitely worth it in the end.
With your account up and running, you can enter in new titles at any time, though you will need to do so by 30 June each year.
More information about PLR can be found on their website, www.plr.uk.com or at www.plrinternational.com. If you have any questions as an Equity member, contact Audio Organiser Cathy Sweet at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Audio Committee at email@example.com