Getting your book into libraries is a great move for any author, but it’s not as straight-forward as you would think. Two important steps in the process (that I also advise my clients on) is understanding how libraries purchase their books and what is the best way to approach them/sell your book.

How Libraries Purchase Books:

Collection Development is the process of selecting books and other materials for the library. The Librarians who specialize in this area are called Collection Development Librarians or Collection Managers. As with any company or product, purchasing decisions are majorly based on product reviews. The same decision-making process is applied to purchasing books. For sourcing books, Librarians turn to major book review journals and are also influenced by consumer demand or requests made by library visitors. A Librarian can also get ideas for future book purchases from flyers or book sell sheets they receive by mail, attending library trade shows, and searching online stores and communities such as Amazon and GoodReads. Before you begin the library submission process, it’s recommended to secure no less than 10 solid book reviews online and in print. It’s also recommended having your Book Introduction Kit (inclusive of your Book Sell Sheet) ready to go.

How to Sell Your Book to Libraries:

The best advice I can relay when it comes to selling your book to librarians is determining which libraries are right for you. There are all types of libraries that serve various audiences, so knowing (in advance) where your book will have the best chances of getting placed will ultimately impact your submission/placement ratio in a positive way. For this blog post, I would focus your marketing efforts on Public Libraries as they cater to the largest array of information. Start your search locally. This is definitely the most cost-effective strategy you can take in the beginning. Create an excel spreadsheet, gather a list of the public libraries, their address, and contact details for the Collection Development Librarian on staff. You will find most of this information on the library website. Have your marketing material (Book Introduction Kit, Book Sell Sheet, etc.) ready to go and just start mailing. If you are starting your efforts locally, I highly recommend in-person visits as face-to-face sales calls are always more effective.

Here’s a List to Get You Started (Top 30 US Libraries/Number of Branches)

  1. Toronto Public Library Toronto, ON 99
  2. New York Public Library New York, NY 87
  3. Los Angeles County Public Library Downey, CA 85
  4. Chicago Public Library Chicago, IL 79
  5. Los Angeles Public Library Los Angeles, CA 72
  6. Queens Borough Public Library Jamaica, NY 64
  7. Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn, NY 60
  8. Free Library of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 54
  9. Miami-Dade Public Library System Miami, FL 45
  10. King County Library System Issaquah, WA 44
  11. Montreal Public Library Montreal, QC 44
  12. Houston Public Library Houston, TX 40
  13. Public Library of Cincinnati, OH 40
  14. Hamilton County Cincinnati, OH 40
  15. Broward County Library System Fort Lauderdale, FL 37
  16. Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Buffalo, NY 37
  17. San Diego Public Library San Diego, CA 37
  18. Fresno County Library Fresno, CA 35
  19. San Diego County Library San Diego, CA 34
  20. Riverside County Public Library Riverside, CA 33
  21. San Bernardino County Library San Bernardino, CA 31
  22. Mid-Continent Public Library Independence, MO 30
  23. Boston Public Library Boston, MA 29
  24. Cleveland Public Library Cleveland, OH 29
  25. Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma, OH 28
  26. San Francisco Public Library San Francisco, CA 28
  27. Tampa-Hillsborough County, FL 28
  28. Public Library Tampa, FL 28
  29. Sacremento Public Library Sacramento, CA 27
  30. Tucson-Pima Library Tucson, AZ 27

Are you an author and need help with marketing your book? CT Virtual Assistance is happy to help. We work with Authors, Speakers, and Trainers nationally. Our goal is to provide our customers with cost-effective marketing and creative services that clearly communicate your brand.

Schedule Your Free Consultation!