PLR frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

From 1 April 2012 you can apply for both the UK and Irish PLR schemes through the UK PLR office.

After checking that you and your book(s) are eligible for PLR registration, you may apply via the following methods:

  • If you are applying for UK PLR, or for both UK and Irish PLR you can apply online using our online registration service.  Unfortunately, the online service is not yet available if you are only applying for the Irish PLR scheme. You will need to complete an application form
  • Download an application form.
  • Contact us to request a form to be posted to you.
Please note that you should not apply to register for PLR until after your books are published. Incomplete applications (where all required information has not been provided) will be removed from our records after six months from the date of receipt.

You may also choose to synchronise your data for the UK and Irish schemes to ensure that the same personal and book details are held for both schemes. See below for further details.

New applicants are required to provide two documents to support their application. The documents must be originals (we cannot accept photocopies), and must contain the applicant’s name and current address. Details regarding acceptable documents are provided during the application process. Please note that documents must be provided regardless of whether you apply on a paper application form or online. If you are registered for either the UK or Irish scheme and you opt to synchronise your data for each scheme, it is not necessary to provide your supporting documents again.

How do I synchronise my details for the UK and Irish schemes?

When applying to register for PLR; either as a new applicant or when registering additional titles, you will be offered the opportunity to register for both the UK and Irish schemes. If you opt to register for both schemes we will arrange to synchronise your data so that your personal details and book registrations are the same for each scheme. Once your details are synchronised, it is not necessary for you to advise us which schemes you are registering for when making future applications, as we will automatically update your details for both schemes.

If you are already registered for either scheme, and you would like to synchronise your details and register for both schemes, it is not necessary for you to complete a New Application for Registration form or provide supporting documents again. We will arrange to register your details with the other scheme using information which we hold on our records.

If you are already registered for either scheme and would like to synchronise your details, but do not need to register any further titles, you should complete an Application to Synchronise UK and Irish PLR Details form.

NB: Non-print material does not qualify for registration with the Irish scheme and will not be listed on confirmation prints and statements.

How do I claim PLR payments?

For both systems in order to receive payments, you must first check that you and your books are eligible and then apply to register your published books for PLR.  First applications may not be made by the estate of a deceased author. However, if an author registers during their lifetime the PLR in their books continues for up to 70 years after the date of their death. 

When will I be paid?

For UK PLR you will receive a statement each January. For the Irish PLR scheme, statements are sent out each November. Your statement provides details of loans and payments due for books which you registered in the previous PLR year. For UK PLR, if you have an online account you will be advised that your statement is available to view online. For Irish PLR, if you have a UK PLR online account activated and have opted to synchronise your details for both the UK and Irish schemes you will be advised that your Irish statement is available to view online. Statements for both schemes are only posted if there is a payment due.

UK PLR payments are made each February, and Irish payments are made each December directly into your bank account. The UK PLR scheme prescribes a minimum payment threshold of £1 and a maximum of £6,600. The Irish PLR scheme has no prescribed thresholds but they may be applied at the discretion of the Irish PLR authorities.

Further information on PLR payments including advice on Income Tax, VAT, collecting societies can be found under PLR payments.

I live outside the UK/Ireland, do I qualify for PLR?

To register for the UK PLR scheme, at the time of application you must have your only home or principal home in the UK or in any of the other countries within the European Economic Area (ie EC Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).  However, please note that under the provisions of the PLR legislation authors resident in UK overseas territories and crown dependencies such as the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar are not eligible to apply for PLR registration. This situation is under review by the government. Should the review lead to the extension of PLR eligibility to authors resident in these territories the PLR website will be updated to reflect this.

If you have more than one home, your principal home is the one where you spent most time during the 24 months before your application.

Continuous residence after registration is not a requirement, however if you move outside the European Economic Area after registration you will not be able to register any new titles or editions for PLR. Books which are already on the Register will remain unaltered and you will continue to receive a statement each year.

To register for the Irish PLR scheme, you may be a resident or citizen of any of the countries within the EEA.  If you are not an EEA resident and are applying for Irish PLR as a citizen, you must provide a photocopy of your passport to confirm your citizenship within the EEA.

Please note that it is not possible to register for UK PLR as an EEA Citizen if you do not live within the EEA.  The UK PLR scheme takes no account of nationality but requires applicants to be resident within the EEA to qualify for registration.

Further details on PLR schemes around the world can be found on our PLR International website.

How is loans data collected and payments calculated?

From the applications received for both systems, the PLR team compile separate computerised registers of contributors and books.

For UK PLR, a representative sample of book loans, consisting of all issues from selected public libraries in the UK, is recorded. This is then multiplied in proportion to total library lending to produce for each book an estimate of its total annual loans throughout the country.

Under the Irish PLR scheme  loans data is collected from all public library authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

Both PLR systems are government funded.  After deduction of administrative costs, each  PLR fund is divided by the total loans of registered books to arrive at an annual ‘rate per loan’ figure. This forms the basis for calculating payments.

I've just heard about PLR. Can I claim from the date my books were published?

For both UK and Irish PLR, payments are made annually on the basis of book loans data collected from public libraries over a twelve month period.

In the UK this twelve month period is 1 July to 30 June.  To qualify for payment for loans during this period, authors must register their books by the closing date of 30 June.

In the Republic of Ireland loans data is collected over the period 1 January to 31 December.  Books must be registered by the following 30 June to qualify for payment for loans during this period.
Neither PLR scheme allows for retrospective payments to be made for earlier years.

Are e-audio-books and ebooks eligible for PLR?

The Digital Economy Act, passed in April 2017, cleared the way for the UK PLR legislation to be extended to include public library loans of remote ebooks and e-audio-books. Payments were previously only made for print and audio-books. The UK PLR scheme has been extended from 1 July 2018 and first payments will be made in February 2020.

More information is available at Registration of non-print material.

Can I claim PLR in other countries?

The UK PLR office administers PLR payments only for the UK and Irish PLR schemes.  However, UK and Irish authors are eligible for payments from the PLR systems operating in a number of other European countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Austria. These payments are administered by ALCS.

Eligible illustrators, photographers and visual artists can apply to claim their share of Dutch PLR payments through the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS). Further information is available from DACS.

Further details on PLR Schemes around the world can be found on the PLR International website.

How do I know if I'm eligible?

Printed books

To qualify for PLR in a printed book you should be named on the title page or be entitled to a royalty payment from the publisher. When two or more contributors are involved they must divide the PLR between them. This is done on the basis of percentage shares (see to section 2 of our Information Leaflet (How do I agree shares for printed books and ebooks?) for further details).

Only contributors who are named on the title page of a book and have contributed to the text or illustrations inside the book qualify for registration. Writers of a foreword or short introduction do not qualify if this was their only contribution. Publishers and packagers are not eligible for PLR.

NB: Audio-books, e-audio-books and ebooks do not qualify for registration with the Irish PLR scheme and will not be listed on confirmation prints and statements.

Audio-books

An audio-book is defined as an ‘authored text’ or ‘a work recorded as a sound recording and consisting mainly of spoken words’. We can therefore only accept applications to register audio-books which meet these requirements and are the equivalent of a printed book. Music, dramatisations and live recordings do not qualify for registration.

To qualify for UK PLR in an audio-book you should be named on the case in which the audio-book is held; OR be able to refer to a contract with your publisher; OR be named within the audio-book recording.

Refer to section 2 of our Information Leaflet (How do I agree shares for audio-books? and Which types of contributors may register audio-books?) for details of audio contributors who qualify for PLR and the fixed shares which may be applied for.

Ebooks and E-audio-books

On 27 April 2017 the Digital Economy Bill, which included provision to extend the UK Public Lending Right legislation to include remote loans of ebooks from public libraries, received royal assent. From 1 July 2018 the scheme changes came into force and remote ebook and e-audio-book loans data began to be collected and any payments arising from the newly eligible loans will be made in February 2020.

Eligibility for ebooks will be the same as for print books, and for e-audio-books it will be the same as audio books.

For more details on whether you will qualify for payments please refer to section 2 of our Information Leaflet

Kindle editions do not qualify for PLR registration as they are published using ASINs instead of ISBNs. In addition, for Kindle editions to qualify for PLR payment, libraries would need to change their policy to allow ebooks to be downloaded on the premises and taken away on loan.

More information can be found under Registration of non-print material.

I use a writing name, which name should I register with?

You should apply for PLR using your real name.

You are required to provide two pieces of supporting documentation which must match the name on our records.

If you are applying on a paper application form, you should list your writing names in the Personal Details section. If you are applying via our online service, you should provide your writing name when you register your books via the ‘add new books’ menu option (once your account has been activated).

We will link your registered names and writing names together on our records.

How do I calculate my share?

Please refer to section 2 of our Information Leaflet for guidelines.

Can I claim 100% if another contributor is deceased or doesn't want to register?

No – you may only apply for a share which reflects your own contribution. If the other contributor is deceased or doesn’t want to register, you should leave aside a notional share to reflect their contribution.

If you have lost touch with the other contributor, you should make reasonable efforts to contact them (eg via the publisher) to agree shares.  If you still cannot contact them, you may register a share which reflects your contribution.  However, if the other contributor subsequently applies for different shares, we will have to remove your share until an agreement is reached.

I am trying to trace an author, can you help?

In accordance with data protection legislation we are not able to provide you with contact details. However, if we have an address on our records we would be happy to forward a letter on your behalf. You may also wish to try the copyright tracing service WATCH (Writers, Artists and Their Copyright Holders).

Do I need to apply for the 10 or 13 digit ISBN printed on my book?

The ISBN system changed from 10 a digit number to 13 a digit number in January 2007. Our system has been adapted to cope with both versions of the ISBN so please don’t worry if your book was published with a 10 digit ISBN. You can still apply using 10 digit ISBNs – but they will be displayed on your confirmation prints and annual statements as the 13 digit equivalent. Loans data from our sample libraries can also be handled in either format – so the calculation of your loans figures and payments will not be affected.

Do I need to re-apply for books which I've already registered?

There is no need to re-apply for titles which are already on the register. You only need to apply for each new ISBN which is published. 

Books which are registered may be viewed and printed when logged into your online account.  If you do not have an online account, you may either apply for a login or contact us to request a full list of titles registered to be posted to you.

Can I view books which are already registered?

If you have an online account, books which are already registered may be viewed and printed from the `my registered books' menu option.

Why are some of my books missing from my annual Statement?

Your Statement only shows titles which are eligible for the next payment round. Therefore only titles registered on or before 30 June will be listed. Any titles registered after this date will be shown on next year’s Statement.

How do I update my personal details?

Due to legal requirements to protect confidentiality, we are not permitted to discuss a registered owner’s affairs with anyone other than the registered owner identified in our records.  This policy applies unless we have received official documentation (such as a Power of Attorney) which allows a nominated individual to act on a registered owner’s behalf.

Please notify PLR of changes to personal details as soon as they occur. You can update your address and bank details in writing. (Authors registered with the UK PLR scheme may also do this via the online service.)  We can also accept changes of address (but not bank) over the telephone, subject to verification being provided. Please note that we are unable to accept changes to either address or bank details via email.

How we use your personal information

The British Library is the Data Controller for any personal information that you provide to the PLR office. The British Library will use the personal information that you provide to us in order to administer the PLR scheme, and to perform related activities that support this, such as business analysis and audit. If you have provided us with an email address, we may send you emails updating you on developments relating to PLR and other service related messages such as reminders and payment dates. Your personal data may be processed by third parties on our behalf, for example by our bank or foreign exchange specialists in order to make the PLR payments, but your personal data will never be sold or otherwise provided to a third party for their own marketing purposes. Full details about how we manage your personal information can be found in our Privacy Policy.

How can I correspond with PLR?

You may contact us via the secure message area within your online account. Further information on how to correspond with PLR can be found under Contact us.

I am having problems receiving emails from PLR

We are aware that some people have not been receiving emails from us, in particular those with btinternet and aol email accounts. Emails might not be received, even if you add us to your safe senders list. We would recommend that you provide us with an alternative email address if possible.

How can I find out more about PLR?

The News section of this site is updated regularly with the latest news on our administration of both the UK and the Irish PLR schemes. Further background information on the Irish PLR system can be found on the Irish PLR website.

Additionally, if you are registered for UK PLR, a newsletter is enclosed with your annual statement (each January). This includes information regarding the previous year’s PLR operation and its costs, and details of any recent or forthcoming rule changes. This information is also available in the Newsletters section of this site. From 2013-14 the British Library’s Annual Report and Accounts includes a report on the PLR scheme and summary PLR accounts information.

If you provide us with an email address , you will also receive regular e-newsletters which provide useful information for users of both PLR systems such as registration reminders and important dates.

You can also follow us on Twitter.

  • Contact us to request a form to be posted to you

About us

PLR is the right for authors to receive payment for the loans of their books by public libraries

Registration service (UK & Irish PLR)

How to apply for PLR, information on eligibility and payments

Library information

Information for authors and librarians regarding the PLR library sample

UK PLR media centre

PLR's media releases, most borrowed authors and titles, newsletters and publications

PLR news stories

Most borrowed authors and books in UK libraries

27 July 2018

The latest annual data shows the most borrowed authors and books in UK public libraries during 2016-17

All Parliamentary Writers Group launches Inquiry into Authors' earnings

22 June 2018

All Parliamentary Writers Group call for evidence

Advisory Committee for PLR - new member

11 June 2018

Writer and illustrator Alexis Deacon appointed to the PLR Advisory Committee

Update on remote ebook lending and UK PLR

8 June 2018

Registration extended to include remote loans of ebooks and e-audio books

More news stories

PLR case studies

…“The financial support is invaluable – translators don’t always get a royalty so PLR is really precious. Equally important is the symbolic recognition of our stake in a book. While it is taken for granted that an author has a stake in a book it is not always remembered that a translator does too.”…

Daniel Hahn, translator and writer, registered for PLR on the publication of his first translation. He values highly the existence of the built-in PLR share to which all translators are entitled. Having translated 35 books and written several others since 2007, Daniel outlined his career as a translator and how he works.

…“I expected pennies and I got pounds! Quite a few more than I had expected. How many times in somebodies life do you get something for nothing?”…

Audio-book narrator Jeff Harding, registered for his PLR share in an astonishing 658 audio books when the extension of UK PLR to non-print material was first introduced in July 2014. He currently has over 700 titles registered. Jeff describes the skills of narration and explains what PLR means to him.

…Tracy Chevalier, Alexis Deacon and S F Said tells us why it is important that contributors register for PLR, how easy it is to apply and the value of PLR to them.…

Watch our short video in which authors Tracy Chevalier and S F Said and writer / illustrator Alexis Deacon talk about why eligible contributors should register for payment through the government-funded PLR scheme.