Who do you borrow?
The Public Lending Right (PLR) has released details of the UK's library borrowing statistics for 2007-8, celebrating its 30th year. US write James Patterson remains top of the chart for the most borrowed author and is one of only 4 writers to be borrowed more than 1 million times in this period. The statistics make for interesting reading and also show the influence of TV culture through Richard & Judy's Book Club and JK Rowling's ever popular magical creation Harry Potter.
What was news to me was the money. For each loan, the writer receives 5.98 pence. This goes directly to writers, not publishers or agents. The PLR clearly plays a very important role for authors. Of course the cynical side of me wonders if, as a writer, you would ask your nearest and dearest to continue to borrow your books from their local libraries. The cynical part of me is very small, I might add. But it does bring another question to mind. Do statistics like this help promote the less-borrowed authors? Or does it perpetuate the popularity of the most-borrowed?
Is a popularity poll likely to influence your next choice of library book? Or does it make you shy away from the most-borrowed, picking a book that looks a bit dusty and unread?