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Lending Rights for Australian Authors

Firstly, what are lending rights?

Lending rights are a government run scheme, by the Office of the Arts, allowing authors to get paid as an artist living in Australia and can be compensated for the loss of income through the free multiple use of their work in Australian public and educational lending libraries. These programs support the enrichment of Australian culture by encouraging the growth and development of Australian writing.

What this means is books are surveyed each year by the program once registered, to see how many copies are in libraries.  This includes public lending libraries (PLR) or school, TAFE and university libraries (ELR). Payment is determined by how many copies of a book are estimated to be held in public libraries (for the PLR) and and in educational libraries (for the ELR).  So if 50 or more copies are available in libraries, then you will get paid. If there are less than 50 copies of a certain title in the library system in that survey year, then you won’t be paid and your book is then re-surveyed the next year. Books are surveyed annually each financial year. Any ebook or audiobook can be claimed for lending rights as long as they meet the criteria. For more information, I recommend checking out the FAQ section on the Lending rights website here.

How to submit a book to Lending rights

In order to be eligible to claim for Lending rights, you first have to submit your titles to the NED program (National e-Ddeposit) as explained above. To claim, you’ll need a couple of things:

  • Make sure your book has a 13 digit ISBN. So if your book is only published on Amazon and has a ASIN, then your book won’t be eligible. Only books with an isbn are eligible.

  • Submit your book files as you would if you are uploading to either Smashwords, Draft 2 Digital or KDP as a self- publisher/ indie author. (If you’re with a publisher, than talk to your publisher first, and you’ll have to include their details too. )

  • If you have an audiobook or an ebook and you royalty share with another author, narrator, translator or illustrator, then you’ll need to put what percentage of royalties each party receives.

  • Books and audiobooks are only eligible if you are consistently earning royalties from it. So if you’ve received an advance payment from a publisher, for example, then that title won’t be eligible until you start earning royalties.

  • You must be an Australian resident, or a non- resident who normally resides in Australia.

  • Books which have been published and offered for sale within five years from the year of publication.

  • Books which have a catalogue record in a national bibliographic database, eg SCIS or Australian National Bibliographic Database (when you deposit with legal deposit, your book is made available on TROVE, which is the National Bibliographic database).

If you have any questions, or need more information about either of these legal obligations as an author, feel free to reach out to either Laura or Loren at Book Fair Australia and we’d be happy to help.

Disclaimer: This is not to be taken as legal advice, please check with your State or Territory for your individual obligations. All links and information is correct at the time of publication.

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