Monday, February 20, 2017

Public Lending Rights Payment for Canadian Authors

Today I received my annual cheque (or check for Americans) from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Public Lending Rights Commission.

This is me during early to mid February each year

I was among 17,344 Canadian authors to receive payment this year as compensation for free public access to my books through Canada's public libraries.

Last year, for the first time, the PLR Program started to accept eBooks; meaning that authors are now able to register electronic books with the PLR Program.

I registered my eBooks with them last year and, each year, continue to update the new print and ebooks that are published in the previous year. I have been registered with PLR for several years, so my oldest title, One Hand Screaming (published in 2004, more than a dozen years ago) doesn't earn as much per hit, but it still brought in $80.48 in revenue from being found twice in the random sample of 7 libraries.

That $80 might is nothing to sneeze at. Particularly when you look at the fact that, when one of my traditionally published books sell for $24.99 CAD in print, I get $2.00.

I'd have to sell 40 copies of one of my traditionally published print books, or more than 20 units of one of my self-published eBooks at $4.99 CAD to earn that much.

How PLR Payments are Calculated

This year, I received hits from 7 of my published titles. (5 hits from traditionally published titles and 2 hits from self-published titles) This year also represents the largest payout I have received from the PLR Program. Each year the amount has increased. But, of course, the fact that the PLR

The minimum author payout is $50 and the maximum is set at $3,521.  For any payment over $500, the PLR Program will submit a T4A income tax slip.

If you are a Canadian author and haven't registered your books with the PLR Program, the registration period is open between February 15 and May 1st, 2017.

Click here if you're a New Registrant
Click here for downloadable forms for adding new titles

Apologies to any non-Canadian authors out there. This program is only eligible for Canadian authors. One of the other fringe benefits of living in the world's best country.


LFGabel said...

Thank you, Mark! I was unaware of this. I appreciate you sharing this info.

All the best,

Mark Leslie said...

Glad I could help a fellow author. :)

Rickie Blair said...

Hi, Mark. I didn't know about this program. Thanks for sharing.
Can you answer two questions;
1. What if you write under a pen name?
2. How do you get your books into libraries in the first place?

Mark Leslie said...

Good questions, Rickie.

Not a problem. I write under a pen name. There's a spot on the form for your legal/real name (ie, payable to) as well as any pseudonym you use for each book.

In terms of 2 - that's not easily answered in a few lines. Part of it is ensuring there's demand (so that a library NEEDS the books in order to satisfy their customers), the other part is building a relationship with your local library.

Here's one recent article about relationships with libraries:

Great article/Podcast interview from Joanna Penn's THE CREATIVE PENN

Another great article from The Book Designer's website

Expat writer in Asia said...

It is also available to Canadians living abroad. Just got my first cheque for two books, each present in 1 library according to Canada Council. In fact they are available in at least 16 libraries in Canada I find on worldcat (and over 130 worldwide), but apprently not those representative ones.

The cheque is now tentatively deposited into my account and will take some time to clear (because I am not in Canada and it is just a regular cheque with no visible security features such as money or passport have), but I imagine there won't be a problem. Then it will be happenning for another 4 years at full amount, and then less overtime.

The amount may seem small, but in comparison I get just 10% of the book price (and even though 10% seems small that's actually a very good percentage, some authors go for 7 and some even for just 3.8%) so at 50 dollars for each of the books in each library found, it is like selling 25 copies of the $ 20 paper book, or 42 copies of the $ 12 digital book.

So that's not bad at all.