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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Important Thing Canadian Authors Should Know

I recently received an annual cheque from the Public Lending Right Commission.

(Yes, to my friends in the US -- we spell cheque in a MUCH more interesting way than the US "check" -- one of the many benefits of living north of the 49th parallel. We also get extra "u's" in many of our words too -- at no additional cost or anything. But get this, the Canadian government has programs that support writers -- perhaps it's compensation for the finger strain of us having to type all those extra "u's" and remember more difficult to spell words like "cheque").

The cheque comes once per year around this time and represents a payment for "loss of royalties" due to my books being stocked in a random sampling of public libraries.

If you're a Canadian writer with one or more books out, you're doing yourself a dis-service to not register them with PLRC.

The cheque I received for $149.40 represents a "hit" on just one of my books in 3 out of 7 locations.

No, I won't retire on the income, but what an incredibly wonderful gesture on the part of our government to support Canadian writers AND encourage public access to their work in our library system.

Their mandate, stated in their words is: "Providing payments to Canadian authors for the presence of their books in public libraries" Or, in French: "Distribue des paiements aux auteurs Canadiens en reconnaissance."

Some authors are bothered by the fact there are people who would rather read the book borrowed from the library than buy a copy of it. PLRC allows authors to be compensated for that -- known as "public lending rights."

I've blogged about this before (see my blog post about them Feb 2008), and I owe huge thanks to my friend and mentor Robert J. Sawyer who continually reminds Canadian authors about this great benefit and service offered by our government in support of Canadian writers. (See his 2010, 2009 and 2006 blog posts about this as well as his 1992 web article about it)

I'll state again for the record:

If you're a Canadian author with a book that is currently in print and available, you shouldn't delay any longer. Get over to the PLRC website, check out the details, register your book, and then sit back, delighting in the fact that there are libraries carrying your titles AND that the Canadian government are actually willing to support the idea of helping to encourage that our public libraries stock Canadian authored titles.


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