but what are people really reading

I’m fascinated by the Public Lending Right scheme wherein authors receive money from the government for the lending of their books in public libraries. Nothing like having a little money involved to get accurate statistics on who is reading what. One author reports on what people are actually reading at the library.

The truth is that public libraries have become a service for the very young – the place where you go to inspire the nippers with a love for literature. For better or worse (and I’d say worse), they are no longer where many adults go in search of information (what’s Google for, after all?).

If adults go at all, it seems that it’s hardback fiction that they are mainly after. Josephine Cox and Danielle Steel came in second and third place in PLR’s top twenty last year (with sales in Steel’s case totalling over 500 million, I’m not quite sure this is the kind of struggling writers that the Brophy’s had in mind). And so far as I can see, there were no authors of non-fiction for adults in the top hundred; though Terry Deary, who wrote the Rotten Romans etc for kids, non-fictin of a kind, does get there.

2 comments for “but what are people really reading

  1. 09Jan07 at 3:32

    Do note that, as with the payment scheme, this refers to UK public libraries–which appear to be very different from US public libraries. (Note also “sample” in “selected” libraries…)

  2. 09Jan07 at 5:29

    We PLR too! and we have another scheme called ELR (Educational Lending Right).

    Modern Australian Classics are at the top of the list, which is great but at the same time, it would be good to see some turnover, as much as I love Possum Magic.

    IFLA also has a statement on lending right for anyone wanting to know more.

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