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Children’s authors join the Sunday Times Rich List and PLR for ebooks is achieved

8 May 2017

In the annual jamboree which is the annual Sunday Times Rich List three children's authors have featured for the first time. In another first from across the world, British authors have achieved Public Lending Right on ebooks.

J K Rowling has long featured as the top author on the Sunday Times Rich list and this year her fortune has risen by £20m to £600m. The next author is chef Jamie Oliver and then the two established bestselling writers Barbara Taylor Bradford (£149) and Lord (Jeffrey) Archer £142m. The three children's authors entering the list are Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson and the estate of Mr Men creator Roger Hargreaves.

What Joanna Trollope has called ‘Justice at last' was achieved after a long campaign to enable authors to benefit through Public Lending Right for library borrowings of their ebooks. This international first has been fought for by the Society of Authors and has just passed into law as part of the Digital Economy Act.

According to the SoA, there were four million e-book loans in the year to April 2016. Around two million titles are currently available to be purchased by libraries for e-book lending, with Hachette the only major publisher not making e-books available in this way, the body said. The wording of the new legislation will ensure that books can be made available to libraries PLR-paid while protecting the commercial interests of both publishers and authors.

This is an important first for authors, establishing their right to income from ebook as well and print book loans from libraries.