Getting Your Book into Libraries - article

For your book to be successful you need to market it continuously. It is vital for you to present your book to the public as well as you can.

One place the public looks for books is the public library. But how can a self-published author get his work on the library’s shelves?

If you’re thinking about library distribution, you should call ahead to learn the library’s submittal requirements. Every district is different, and what works in a small town may very well not be the correct protocol in a large city.

Some libraries put a great deal of importance on the physical appearance of a book. For example, most of them prefer certain bindings and can be reluctant to stock comb-bound and saddle-stitched (stapled) books. Such binding requirements might derive from labeling or shelving concerns, but such superficial considerations can cause your book to be rejected.

Once you have contacted them and understand the submission process and addressed any concerns about the book’s physical appearance, it’s time to submit. If you have trouble getting your book accepted there are a few things you can do.

First, most libraries allow patrons to make requests. When enough legitimate requests have come in, they will order a copy or two of the book for their collection. Try to get your friends and family members to stop by their local libraries and request your book. Don’t overwhelm the library staff with an obvious ploy to strong- arm them into carrying the book. Let it be more of a natural push.

Also, consider writing a well-timed letter or making a phone call requesting that the library consider carrying your book.

Offer to donate an initial copy. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Some libraries even have a system in place for self-published authors who’ve donated their books.

You can also book an author discussion and reading at libraries which you’d like to carry your book. After organizing such an event, most libraries will gladly want to keep a copy of the promoted book on hand.

On a larger scale, one of the best ways to get the acquisition department’s attention is to get your book reviewed in one of the trade review magazines. Two of the biggest and most popular are Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews. A comprehensive list of the best journals for self-publishers is found on the library index, Libdex.

Libraries are now beginning to move into eBooks. Through the online distributor Overdrive, Kindle books are now being borrowed, just like their paper cousins. For now, the self-publisher isn’t able to add his book to this list. However, the possibility of this opportunity expanding to cover more titles in the future is exciting.

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  • You have not clearly indicated which town you are referring to. Which town are you from:? Now it is a little confusing to also accuse the library of refraining from publishing your book in order not to look bad. I thought the book should have been published by some form of a publisher before you seek it being stocked in a library whether town, city or village.
  • Libraries are an excellent place to donate your book. I donated a book to our local library and am scheduled to an hour presentation on being an author at the library in the future. Ginny Bryce, Camarillo author of Terra Feliz.
  • Thank you very much for this information. With my first book in 1988, I personally went to the library in my city and in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and they bought six books I believe. But all were lost in St. Croix after Hurricane Hugo. I had so much confidence then and sold all 350 that I had published via Kinko, but that was 1988. Thanks for the Internet, I have a book speaking/signing at the library here in May. I also, emailed the library in my home town. I would send all of them a free copy, but I am a "starving artist" and will do it soon as I can. Ladynoble1
  • The local town library has barred me and my book because you are not from RRRR town and you are a liberal and homeless and we are not going to let you make us look bad by publishing your book. So now, let me understand this narrow minded mentality, because I finish high school and go to college and earn a degree, political control in this town will not let me do well. I have always thought that doing well in education opens doors for opportunity.