Public Lending Right

A little later than usual, the Public Lending Right sent me last week a statement of the number of times that my books have been taken out of British libraries. As I explained last year, many civilised countries have a scheme like this, whereby authors are reimbursed by the state if libraries loan out their books. This year, my finances are enriched to the tune of 6.25 pence per loan.

Here are the JC top ten library loans for 2010:

  1. Confucius: A Biography (hardback and paperback combined).
  2. Beijing: The Biography of a City.
  3. Wu.
  4. Chinese Life.
  5. A Brief History of the Vikings.
  6. A Brief History of the Samurai.
  7. The First Emperor of China (hardback and paperback combined).
  8. Marco Polo.
  9. The Pirate King (in paperback as Coxinga).
  10. Darwin’s Notebook.

Regular readers will note that there is a new entry, straight in at the number 6 slot, for a book that was only published a couple of months before the year’s deadline – we can perhaps expect the samurai to go further up the charts next year. Meanwhile, all the manga translations have dropped out — does this mean that Bloomsbury’s Ironfist Chinmi books are finally succumbing to wear and tear after 15 years, or simply that this year’s sampled libraries didn’t have so many comics on their shelves to begin with?

Twelve years ago, I wrote a little children’s book under a pseudonym in a matter of days — I think it took me no more than a long weekend. It has since been reprinted several times, by three different English-language publishers, and translated into some very rare languages, including Moldovan and Malay. Ever since, it has consistently generated a full 25% of my annual library royalties. There’s no predicting what book will be the one that makes one’s fortune. Not that this book makes me a fortune, but it puts a smile on my face every year when I discover another legion of people have checked it out of their local library.

7 thoughts on “Public Lending Right

  1. Please forgive the unrelated comment, but do you ever go back and moderate new comments on old posts? I particularly wanted to bring to your attention a little hack job I did of plugging your Dragon Half ending lyrics into a fansub I found, and commented to that effect on the relevant entry, but judging by the half-dozen other comments I’ve made over the last few months that have yet to be moderated, I have no idea if you would ever see it. Hence this shamefully inappropriate comment.

    The Dragon Half clip is available (for now) at .

    Wait! Here’s a relevant question: just out of curiosity, what was the title of that little children’s book? Why be coy about it? Just to preserve that pseudonym?

  2. Thanks for letting me know, Sean. I shall go back and approve that comment, although I imagine that the moment I make it public, someone will come and take it off Youtube! But (for now) it’s nice to see there.

    Once an entry is off the front page, (i.e. not in the current month) I tend not to wade through hundreds of offers of viagra, Nigerian banking scams and casual sex in search of actual reader posts. I am thinking of recycling some of the older pieces this year, if only to reformat the italics and get some more use out of them. Some readers of this blog are relatively new arrivals, and haven’t been following older posts. So I might turf up some of your comments then…

  3. Sean, I’ve just run a search on your name on all previous comments, and the Dragon Half post was the only one that shows up as unapproved. So unless you’re posting under another name as well, I’ve ticked all the boxes I can!

  4. Thanks, Jonathan, I appreciate your effort. Until recently, I was a bit shy about using my last name here, but assumed you could search for a given email address. No worries, I had nothing profound to say anyway, mostly appreciative noises (though I was a trifle disappointed that the vaunted index doesn’t seem to be included in the Kindle version of this blog’s eponymous book).

  5. I’ve gotten lazy and have only been reading the facebook updates, I didn’t realise that only a fraction of the articles here were being mentioned there.

  6. Pingback: The Official Schoolgirl Milky Crisis Blog » Blog Archive » Public Lending Right

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