As one of the most popular library authors – his books were borrowed more than 500,000 times during 2011/12 – Deary will have received the maximum amount possible for a writer from the Public Lending Right scheme, an amount capped at £6,600.
"If I sold the book I'd get 30p per book. I get six grand, and I should be getting £180,000. But never mind my selfish author perception – what about the bookshops? The libraries are doing nothing for the book industry. They give nothing back, whereas bookshops are selling the book, and the author and the publisher get paid, which is as it should be. What other entertainment do we expect to get for free?" he asked.
Well, do you know what? A fair number of the books I've written earn me no royalties whatsoever*. As a result, bookshop sales make no difference to my earnings (apart from, I suppose, if a book sells well there might be more chance of future commissions). However, when one of those books is borrowed from a public library, they can earn me money again. It's not a lot, but - as a certain supermarket chain is so fond of saying - every little helps!
Between you and me, my Doctor Who books will probably end up making me more through the PLR scheme than the original commissions did, and seeing as how I'm not a million-selling author, I'm very grateful for that. And that's just my selfish author perception.
What about libraries being repositories of knowledge where anyone can better themselves, regardless of socio-economic background? What about that Terry Deary, or does that sound too much like competition?
* Confession time - a fair majority of my writing work, including my Doctor Who and the Moshi Monster books, are work for hire. No rights, no royalties.