Robert McCrum wants you to help a poor writer by borrowing a book. As he reports, average earnings for writers dropped from £7,000 to £4,000, less than 25% of the average wage. His solution is to urge people to borrow more books from libraries so writers get paid their share of Public Lending Rights (PLR).
However, it would actually be more useful for more people to buy books. Then writers can earn royalties and perhaps buy time from day-jobs to actually do some writing.