Public Lending Right calculations and payments – the impact of the pandemic and lockdown

Although libraries had to close their doors for many weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they continued to loan e-books, audio books and a selection of printed works throughout.  However, the period of closures affected the number of library loans and, in turn, the Public Lending Right Rate Per Loan figure and payments to authors and other rights holders. 

Public Lending Right (PLR) legally entitles authors and other rights holders to receive payments from a central fund in relation to public lending of their books in the UK. The 2020/21 PLR Scheme applied to the lending of books, audiobooks, e-books and e-audiobooks from public libraries.

The British Library Board is responsible for making an annual recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Rate Per Loan to be paid to registered authors, illustrators and other contributors to compensate them for the loan of their books from public libraries. The Rate Per Loan is calculated by dividing the PLR fund available by the total number of loans of registered works from public libraries in the UK. This is based on loans data annually collected by the British Library from a sample of UK public libraries.

While the size of Public Lending Right fund and the Rate Per Loan calculation remain unchanged, the borrowing figures from the sample libraries recorded between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021 were reduced due to Covid-19 lockdowns. The reduction in the total number of loans has led to an increase in the Rate Per Loan from 9.55p in 2019/20 to 11.26p in 2020/21, with 20,475 rights holders within the payment threshold (compared to 20,911 in 2019/20).

It is likely that authors will see the temporary increase in the Rate Per Loan reflected in their 2020/21 PLR statement and resulting payment. This variation due to unprecedented circumstances is also likely to impact on the Rate Per Loan in 2021/22.

For more information on why this will be the case please follow this link

Existing PLR Users

Please note - If you have used PLR before May 2021 your existing account has been migrated to a British Library Online Account.

The first time that you log on you need to reset your password following these steps;

  • Do not enter your details but click 'Forgotten your username or password?'
  • Then click 'Request a password reset email'
  • Enter the email address that was registered on your old PLR account and choose 'submit' which will send you an email entitled ‘Reset your British Library Online account password’
  • Please do not press continue, instead close the window and open the ‘Reset your British Library Online account password’ email and open the link
  • If the link does not open copy and paste it into your browser
  • If you do not receive an email then please contact us
  • Once you have clicked the link enter your email address and create a new password
  • Once your password has been amended do not click on the ‘click here to log in’ button, instead go to this website
  • Click ‘Log in with my British Library account’
  • Enter your email address and new password and click ‘Log in’
  • You should now be in your PLR online account

If you are unable to log on DO NOT create a new British Library account please contact us on 01937 546030 or email us at

For further information regarding the new system please see our FAQs

Not yet registered for PLR?

To benefit from annual Public Library Remuneration (PLR) payments please register on our new PLR system. For additional guidance on accessing the new system click here.

If you are a published author, illustrator, editor, translator or audiobook narrator you could receive up to £6,600 per year as a result of public library book loans. Join our community of over 60,000 book contributors who already benefit.

Please make sure that you sign up by 30 June 2021 for inclusion in the 2020/21 calculations.

Every year we announce the most borrowed library books (including ebooks and audiobooks) from the previous year.


Find out more

Register for the PLR scheme

Register now if you have contributed to a book which is lent out by public libraries.

PLR payments

Find out how we calculate your payments and how much you can earn if you register with PLR.

Most popular library loans

The most popular authors and titles borrowed from UK public libraries

Library sample

Information for authors and librarians regarding the PLR library sample