Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Secrets to Getting Your Book Into Libraries

by | Dec 1, 2010 | Book Marketing Basics

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We had another great show hosted by Penny Sansevieri titled ‘Secrets to Getting Your Book into Libraries.’

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Before moving onto the show topic, we discussed some publishing news, including a campaign to get people into bookstores this holiday season. Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is Dec. 4, 2010. Modeled after Take Your Daughter to Work Day, this is designed to help bookstores flourish and thrive. You can learn more – and see if any bookstores in your area are participating, by visiting


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In an economically challenged climate guess what starts to soar? Libraries. The library market is strong and getting stronger. If you haven’t made libraries part of your target market you should. And despite all the book buzz online, it’s still nice to get your book onto a library shelf. For most of us, this seems like an exclusive right devoted to an exclusive group of best-selling authors. While some piece of this is true, the reality is that if you have a good book, you can get into the library system. You can download the full show at

Some library statistics:

According to the American Library Association (ALA) –

* There are approximately 122,101 libraries in the U.S.

* Over $5 billion worth of books, periodicals, audiovisual, and other materials were purchased by libraries in 2007, with over $1.9 billion spent on book purchases alone.

* More than one-tenth of publishers’ net book sales are to libraries.

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* Libraries purchase books for adults, young adults, children, and special readers (emerging literates, large print, braille).

How can you get your book into libraries?

Libraries tend to buy hardback and trade books but some do pick up mass market, Penny noted.

Reviews: Librarians mainly use the following periodicals to determine which books to select for their collections (the links will offer information about the submission process, which varies for each publication):

* Library Journal –

* Booklist –

* Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries –

* The Horn Book Magazine –

* Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books –

* Kirkus Reviews –

* Publishers Weekly –

There are also librarians online who review books, and they may choose to donate your book to their library or recommend that it be added to the collection. You can find librarians on Twitter:

At the Library
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Mail your book: You can mail libraries directly with a copy of your book and a request; obtain a list of libraries through the ALA or the library locator listed below.

Trade shows: See if you can exhibit at library trade shows; learn more at

Library events: Ask if your library will let you do an event or participate in one of their reading groups.

Become acquainted with your library: See if you can donate a copy of your book, or if they can add your book to their collection. Discover what they buy, and then you can talk to them about how they make purchases, their purchase timeframe, etc. Building relationships with your local library personnel is a good idea; if pitching your book or event doesn’t work, you may find another way to fill a need for them (and promote your book at the same time).

Recommendations/requests: Since libraries have websites, often with places for book recommendations, get requests/recommendations for your book listed there.

Self-publishing considerations

Minneapolis Public Library - checkout

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If your book is self-published, you need distribution. There are three main distributors to consider:

Quality Books Inc.:

Unique Books Inc.:

Baker & Taylor: (technically they are a wholesaler but they can also help you access the library market)

However, before you approach a distributor you need to work several months in advance of your book’s publication and develop a marketing plan. Your marketing plan needs two key components. First is the market segment, which is the WHO of who you will market to and HOW you intend to reach that audience (online and offline), including target group(s), media you’ll seek, events you’ll do, etc. The second piece consists of your sales outlets, the WHERE your book will be sold and HOW you will sell your book (online and offline).

Additional resources

If you need a library locator, check out: (libraries worldwide).

Find additional information on all of the above at Marketing to Libraries,

And be sure to refer to our own blog post,


Upcoming Episodes:

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Please join us Dec. 14, 4 p.m. Pacific for Top Publishing Trends for 2011, our final show of the year,

It’s hard to believe, but 2010 is winding down. We’ll take a look at the hot publishing topics and issues of the past year and then look into our crystal ball to forecast what lies ahead. One hint: our projections are sure to include e-books, digital readers and indie authors.

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