Long Live Libraries!

No. 1 title in UK libraries

It's that time of the year again, when PLR (Public Lending Right) payments are made for loans of books from UK libraries. These payments refer to loans made between June 2013 and June 2014, and the unicorn always finds it interesting to see how the loan figures compare to sales of those books over the same period.

I did a blog post here on my best-selling and top-earning (not always this same thing!) ebook titles.

Here are the unicorn's Top Ten loaned titles:

1. Sword of Light (Pendragon Legacy) - 3293 loans
2. Crown of Dreams (Pendragon Legacy) - 1013
3. Lance of Truth (Pendragon Legacy) - 558
4. Grail of Stars (Pendragon Legacy) - 525
5. The Cleopatra Curse (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 488
6. Song Quest (Echorium Sequence) - 429
7. The Mausoleum Murder (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 309
8. The Great Pyramid Robbery (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 306
9. The Amazon Temple Quest (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 294
10. The Olympic Conspiracy (Seven Fabulous Wonders) - 207

It's good to see my recent Pendragon Legacy series about King Arthur's daughter at the top of this list, with both the hardcovers and paperbacks loaning well in UK libraries. "Sword of Light" was in the Summer Reading Challenge when it was first published in 2012, which might account for the greater number of loans for that title... more copies stocked means more possible loans?

Surprisingly, the Seven Fabulous Wonders are still loaning solidly, if unspectacularly, more than ten years after their publication. Since these were paperback originals, I just hope the library copies are not getting too grubby! Song Quest is in there too, but is cheating slightly since it has had five different paper editions since its first publication in 1999. It also won the Branford Boase Award.

"I am the Great Horse" has been knocked back to 12th place in the UK library stakes this year, yet remains my current top selling (and top earning) ebook worldwide. Does this suggest Alexander the Great's horse might be more popular in America? Or that ebooks might be replacing library loans for titles read by adults as well as younger readers?

Two of my books had zero loans - Dark Quetzal (Echorium Sequence #3) and Magical Horses (my pop-up illustrated title). But the library figures are sampled so it's possible you have read one of these books in a library that did not take part in the sampling this year.

Seeing my PLR statement always makes the unicorn eager to write more children's books, whereas catching a glimpse of my royalty statements usually makes him want to gallop off into the enchanted forest to bury his glittery horn in a dark hole... not sure why, since the rate per loan is (usually) quite a bit less than the author's royalty share per book sold. But writing books is not just about the money, is it? If it were, there would be no unicorns left in this world. It's about the readers out there, still enjoying these books so long after publication. And it's about the libraries, who are clearly still providing a valuable service for those young readers who might not be able to buy the books or download the ebooks.

Long live libraries!