Books on a bookshelf.

Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors

The Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors scheme was established in 2008 to provide for New Zealand authors, illustrators, and editors to receive payments in recognition of the fact that their books are available for use in New Zealand libraries.

Benefit of scheme to authors

As an author registered with the Public Lending Right (PLR) scheme, you’re entitled to receive an annual payment based on the number of copies of your title held in New Zealand libraries. This number is determined by a regular survey.

Surveying New Zealand Libraries — find out about the survey we use to determine the number of copies of your title is held in New Zealand libraries.

I recommend all writers register for the Public Lending Right fund. For years I wasn’t sure if I was eligible but it’s one of the best things I’ve done. Take half an hour and sign up. — Pip Adam, New Zealand author

Woman looking at the camera.
Pip Adam, New Zealand author.

Register for the scheme

You must register with the scheme each year in order to be eligible for payment, whether or not you have any new books. The registration period is from 1 January to 1 March.

You need to be a New Zealand resident to register, meaning:

  • you have been in New Zealand for at least half of the last year, or
  • you have a permanent abode here.

Registrations have closed for this year’s scheme.

Join our mailing list

Authors not registered this year can join our mailing list to receive future communications about the scheme by emailing us your contact details.

Email —

Titles included in the scheme

The scheme makes payments for books published by 1 January of the registration year, and doesn’t include ebooks or audiobooks.

  • Adult books must be at least 48 pages long.
  • Children’s books must be at least 24 pages of text or text and illustrations.
  • Poetry must be at least 24 pages in length.
  • Editors registering must have contributed at least 48 pages to the book they are editing.
  • Books must have no more than 3 authors/contributors.

You need to have at least 50 copies of a title in New Zealand libraries to get a payment.

You must be entitled to receive a royalty payment or income from the sale of your book. Self published books are eligible.

Payments from the PLR fund

The Public Lending Right fund ($2.4 million annually) is divided among registered authors, based on how many copies of their works are held by libraries.

If you’re eligible for a payment, you’ll receive it by December 31, directly into your nominated bank account.

The payment is made via Inland Revenue and appears as a Crown payment in your account.

In the unfortunate event that you die after registering, the payment will go to your estate. However, your heirs may not re-register for you in subsequent years.

We cannot make payment for years when you were not registered.

PLR payment statistics — see how the fund has been distributed so far.

Operation of the scheme

The Public Lending Right Advisory Group advises the Chief Executive on regulatory proposals, policy, and administrative matters relating to the scheme.

The National Library pays for the scheme’s operation, and the fund goes entirely to registered authors, illustrators, and editors.

Public Lending Right Advisory Group

Surveying New Zealand libraries

We count titles by surveying a sample of New Zealand libraries, based on advice from Statistics New Zealand. The nature of the survey alternates each year, between counting all titles, and only counting new titles.

We survey the National Library, all the large public libraries, the university libraries, consortia like SMART, and a rotating selection of the rest of New Zealand libraries

All the print copies of a title held by the library being surveyed are counted.

This weighted survey methodology gives us an estimated count – you may find your title count is 58.5 copies, or (frustratingly) 49.9. To maintain the fairness of the fund, we can’t round counts up to meet the threshold for payment.

Title counts may go up or down each year as we survey different libraries, or as they purchase or dispose of copies.

While you could boost your numbers by donating copies to libraries, it’s not likely to be cost-effective.

Challenge a decision

To challenge a decision about the scheme’s administration, or the number of copies of your book held in New Zealand libraries for the year, contact us in writing or electronically at the above address by 30 November each year.


Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors Act – New Zealand Legislation website

Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors Regulations – New Zealand Legislation website

Contact us

Send registrations, requests for information and queries to:

Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors Coordinator
PO Box 1467
Wellington 6140

Email —

Phone — 04 470 4528