In participating countries, writers earn income when their printed books are borrowed from public libraries or schools and universities. This takes place under the Public Lending Rights (PLR) and Educational Lending Rights (ELR) schemes and compensates writers for lost sales.
Publishing and distribution technology has changed but the PLR and ELR schemes have not kept pace. That is, writers aren’t going to receive any income when people borrow e-books unless libraries and governments figure out how to make this viable. As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Government is asking published writers, yet-to-be-published writers, librarians and anyone else interested in Australian books to participate in a survey about this.
Have your say by visiting http://arts.gov.au/literature/lending_rights/modernisation_process and taking the Australian Government’s online survey before 5pm on Tuesday 23 October 2012.
By the way, if you’re an Australian writer and you’re not registered for ELR and PLR, look into this. See http://arts.gov.au/literature/lending-rights/forms. Your publisher might have given you some ELR and PLR forms to complete when you signed your book contract. If you’re self-published, apply for registration or contact the Australian Society of Authors for advice. (I’m not a lawyer, just a book lover and unpublished writer.)