Australia’s lending rights scheme needs to recognise ebooks

6 December 2021

In Australia, when you borrow a print novel from a library, the author is eligible to receive a small payment, as a compensation for missed book sales. Surprisingly though, if you loan one of their titles through a library ebook service, such as Libby, writers are not recompensed. This is because Australia’s lending rights scheme does not – yet – recognise electronic books and audiobooks, despite – in some cases – an eighty percent increase in ebook lending in recent years. It is a situation Olivia Lanchester, CEO of the Australian Society of Authors, says needs to be rectified.

“If it only remains applicable to the print world, and libraries are increasingly reducing their print collection, then over time our fear is that the payments will go to fewer and fewer Australian authors,” Lanchester said. “We want it to be a broad-based scheme that really captures everyone whose books are being read via libraries.”

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