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Philip Pullman calls for authors to be paid properly for ebook library loans

Updated: 3 July 2013

The Society of Authors has found that authors may be losing out twice over on ebook loans made through libraries and is advising all authors to check their royalty statements carefully and claim reimbursement from publishers if they believe they may have inadvertently been underpaid. Download the report here.

In the report and letter to publishers released today the Society commented that:

  1. Publishers may be mistakenly underpaying authors on library loans of ebooks by treating receipts as sales rather than licences.
  2. The Government is not paying authors Public Lending Right payments on ebook loans.

The net result is that authors may be losing up to two thirds of the income they would have received on the sale and loan of a physical book. The Society of Authors is calling for publishers to reimburse authors any underpaid royalties plus interest, for Government to enact provisions relating to PLR and for arrangements for ebook lending to give a fair share to authors.

Philip Pullman, President-elect of the Society of Authors said:

'New media and new forms of buying and lending are all very interesting, for all kinds of reasons, but one principle remains unchanged: authors must be paid fairly for their work. Any arrangement that doesn't acknowledge that principle is a bad one, and needs to be changed. That is our whole argument.'



Anne Sebba, Chair of the Society’s Management Committee said:

'Authors are keen to embrace the opportunities offered by digital publishing and want to support libraries by offering their eBooks for lending. However, we need to ensure that authors are paid sufficient money from digital to enable them to keep writing. The Society of Authors advises authors to continue to press for a fair share of eBook royalties and to check their royalty statements to make sure that publishing contracts are being interpreted correctly and that they are paid all amounts due.'


Related Downloads

The Society of Authors’ full report on PLR and Royalties from Library elending

Read the Society of Authors' letter to Bloomsbury

Read the Society of Authors' letter to Random House

Download the elending letter to trade publishers

Related Links






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