It's possible for indie authors to go beyond thinking of selling our books just at online retailers. Libraries are another potential channel for book sales and another stream of income! Eric Simmons shares how he's gotten his books into some of the largest libraries in the US.
In December 2017, as I was thinking about my 2018 business goals for my self-published Memoir, Not Far From The Tree, which was the first book I had ever written, I knew I wanted to establish near irrefutable credibility around the book with potential purchasers.
Ultimately, I decided to focus on libraries as a strategic market segment due in large part to the trustworthiness people tend to associate with these facilities, and because they have what's called a “Collection Development Policy.”
Per the New Orleans Public Library, which is now one of my customers:
“The Collection Development Policy is designed to support the Library's Mission statement and serves as a guide for the selection, acquisition, maintenance, and retention of materials.”
Having a book in a library helps establish credibility with readers, in my view, because the book has been vetted and passed a litmus test, so to speak, to be considered for purchase and placement within the library.
Also, libraries are highly referenceable customers, especially with other libraries. If you can get one library to buy your book, the odds are likely others will follow. I call this the domino effect, and it has been working for me.
To illustrate, after initiating my “Library Campaign” in January 2018, sixty-eight (68) libraries (21 Academic, 46 Public, and 1 Library Services company) have purchased my now two books (see, https://www.esetomes.com/library-customers). Of these, five are amongst the twenty-five largest Public Libraries in the U.S. and one is in the top twenty largest Academic Libraries.
Each time a new library purchases one of my books, I add them to my “Reference List,” and I share the list with prospective libraries during my marketing campaigns. One clear benefit I am beginning to see from my Reference List usage is a shorter time to sales closure, particularly with Public libraries, which for me is down from six months to three months on average. Lately, however, I've been seeing Public libraries purchase within a month!
The Library Market
Per data on the Online Computer Library Center's (OCLC) website under, “Global Library Statistics,” there are 336,841 libraries worldwide (45,028 Academic and 291,813 Public). In the U.S., the site lists 3,793 Academic and 9,042 Public libraries.
Per the American Library Association (ALA), the total number of libraries in the U.S. is 116,867, the preponderance of which are Public and Private school libraries.
Note, the OCLC's number for Public Libraries in the U.S. doesn't include the total number of buildings which ALA lists as 16,568. I use this number for my Public library opportunity.
If you are targeting millennials for your books, they are more likely than older generations to say libraries help them find trustworthy information, learn new things, and make informed decisions, per a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.
On February 22, 2017, Reedsy published an article which stated, ” … 92% of librarians surveyed between May 2016 – July 2016 by New Shelves stated that they regularly buy books from self-published authors and small presses. The article goes on to say, “Once one library has your book and the check-out rates start showing up on reports, other librarians will start ordering your book. The growth and spread of your book’s sales and popularity will start happening while you are not even looking!”
You will find some Librarians still rely heavily on book reviews. As evidence, one Librarian sent me the following in an email last year, “New library materials are considered for purchase using a variety of selection criteria including favorable reviews in standard library review media (Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist) anticipated demand for the material, local interest, and space and budgetary considerations.”
Personally, I struggle mightily with book reviews. Here's why. Per Kirkus' website, the charge for a “Traditional Review” is $425 U.S. and you can expect a 250-300 word review back in 7-9 weeks. If you want the review expedited, the cost is $575.
A second option is an “Expanded Review” that can be received in 7-9 weeks at the cost of $575, and the expedited cost is $725. At a royalty rate of let's say, $3.00 U.S. for a paperback book, one would have to sell roughly 142 books to break even on the “Traditional Review.” That's like giving 142 libraries a book for free!
At this juncture, I prefer not to pay to play to get into libraries. Thanks, but no thanks!! I do realize however my stubbornness could be costing me revenue. Let's assume a Kirkus “Traditional Review” yielded me, 1,000 new library customers. Using the previous $3.00 royalty rate, I might be missing out on a net revenue gain of $2,575 ($3,000-$425). Due to my current marketing budget, however, I'm staying pat for now on paying for a book review.
Getting Started Marketing to Libraries
If like me, you've discounted paying for book reviews, for now at least, as a means for getting your book into libraries, you'll have to roll up your sleeves and contact libraries directly. To get started, you'll need to get answers to two key questions.
- Who are the primary decision-makers in the libraries you'll be contacting; and
- Where do these libraries go to purchase their books?
1. Key Decision Makers in a Library
Depending on the size of a library, the key decision-makers will have titles such as Head Librarian, Director, or in the case of Academic libraries, perhaps Dean. Other vital titles are Collection Development Librarian or Acquisitions Librarian.
If it’s a large library, don't be surprised if the Collection Development Librarian has the latitude to make the final decision on a book purchase. This individual carries a lot of weight, and often the Head Librarian will refer you to the Collections Development Librarian.
You should also look for potential influencers in a library. If an individual has responsibility for say, children's books, and you've written one, that person needs to be on your contact list. So, genre responsibility is essential as well.
Do sell top-down, i.e., to the highest titled person in the library. The rationale here is the “boss” can override a subordinate's decision – if you catch my drift. For most of my libraries, I try to have at least two contacts, and for some, I have as many as six because individual Librarians may decide to make a personal purchase.
2. Where Do Libraries Go to Purchase Their Books?
Baker & Taylor (B&T) seems to be the preferred vendor of many Librarians, but in my case, most of my library customers have purchased the paperback version of my memoir from IngramSpark. I anticipate my B&T sales will begin to pick up dramatically now that a snafu has been corrected following the absorption of CreateSpace by Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
To make a long story short, B&T dropped my book by mistake when the absorption above occurred and to complicate matters KDP was not doing business with B&T at the time, and may still not be as of this writing. Note, although Ingram distributes through B&T, Ingram states on its website, “Since B&T targets libraries they may decide to not to carry a specific title– regardless of the printer or publisher–if they feel it won't generate interest from their target audience. We cannot *make* B&T carry a title. It is completely at the discretion of B&T.”
Note: If B&T doesn't pick up your self-published title through Ingram, you may want to reach out to B&T directly, or you may have to get a library to request your book.
To date, my paperback library sales through Amazon's Expanded Distribution offering and Brodart, another company you may hear Librarians mention, have been minimal.
As for eBooks, I've had sales to the Los Angeles Public Library (the U.S.' 5th largest Public Library) and others through OverDrive, a service that allows customers to borrow digital content for free.
My Overdrive sales have come through Draft2Digital (D2D), Smashwords, and StreetLib. Last year, D2D began working with Bibliotheca, a library management solutions company, and unlike with Overdrive, you can get a royalty payment when your eBook is checked out.
D2D calls this option Cost Per Checkout (CPC) which they describe as “CPC allows libraries to have access to the same title for more than one user. Instead of a fixed price, libraries gain access to your books and pay 1/10 of the book’s full purchase price, each time it is loaned out.” I've received several small royalty payments under this option and wish something similar was available when OverDrive related book checkouts occur.
Building Your Library Contact Database
I built my Library Contact Database with Microsoft Excel. This souped-up spreadsheet is sortable and now contains 2,187 libraries with 2,046 Academic library contacts and 1,069 Public library contacts which equates to 1.4 contacts per library.
I keep separate tabs for my Academic and Public libraries because this makes it easier for me when I do a mass mailing targeted at either sector.
My field headings are Library Type (i.e., Public or Academic), Library Link (i.e., URL), First Name, Last Name, Salutation (example Mary, or Dr. Smith), Email Address, Date Contacted, Library Name, and Notes. I'm in the process of adding a State heading under which I will list the two-letter abbreviation for a State for sortability by state.
To populate my database, I perform a Google search. I'll use the State of North Carolina as an example since this was my most recently “targeted” library State.
When I Googled, “libraries in North Carolina,” near the top of the results list appears, “Library Directory | State Library of North Carolina.” Incredibly, every Academic and Public Library in the State of North Carolina with the Head Librarian is listed, and there's a downloadable spreadsheet to boot!
Now, before you get overly excited, this is more of an exception than the norm. For most of the libraries in my database, I had to manually load each one at a rate of about 12 libraries an hour.
The primary tool I've been using to identify Public Libraries is, LibWeb, Library Servers via WWW. You click on a particular U.S. State, and you'll be directed to Public Libraries within the State.
Next, you click on a library's link and you will be directed to the library's home page. Now, you will have to search the site to identify the primary decision-maker(s). In many cases, the decision makers can be found under “About Us,” “Staff Directory” or similar. LibWeb also lists Academic libraries in the same manner.
Create a Mail Merge Document
After loading information into my database, I created a mail merge document using Microsoft Word and the “Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard” function. If you are unfamiliar with how to do a Word mail merge Google, “Mail merge using an Excel spreadsheet – Word – Office Support,” and Microsoft has videos that will show you how.
Through mail merge, I can customize my campaign letters so that they look tailored for the specific individual versus having a mass email look. I can insert the Librarian's first name or title and the Library's name in the body of the document if I like.
I learned the hard way that Microsoft has a limit, under my Office 365 subscription, of 300 emails per day. I tried to do a mailing recently of over 300, and I was locked out of my account. So, depending upon your email service, be sure to look into the daily email limits if there are any.
Which Libraries Should You Target First?
I suggest you target your local Public and Academic libraries first, especially the ones close to where you live. Many Librarians are receptive, I've found, to helping local authors. Also, you may get invited to speak about your book which is what happened to me with my local public library.
When's the Best Time to Sell to Libraries?
Libraries tend to buy year round, but by and large, I've found the briskest selling times to be during their Fiscal Year End/Fiscal Year Begin or FYE/FYB. It varies, but most of the libraries I've contacted seem to have their FYE/FYB between April and July.
As an example, the State of North Carolina's Fiscal Year runs from July 1 to June 30. The two months leading up to FYE, the month of FYB and the month following are good times to approach Librarians because they will be spending both remaining and new funds.
Reference Your Successes in “Library Campaigns”
In mid-April, I started a North Carolina Library Campaign, because of their upcoming FYE, which has resulted in six book sales thus far. One of which was a purchase by a Public Library System for five copies of my latest book, #HTSP – How to Self-Publish which is based on the steps I undertook to successfully, self-publish my Memoir.
I made sure to mention in my mailing my memoir was an Amazon bestseller in January and March under the Single Parent category, so be sure to tout your book's successes in your email campaigns to Librarians.
Consider Using Multiple Email Addresses
Consider using multiple email addresses for contacting Librarians. I use three different email addresses. Why? 1) To avoid the appearance of bombarding the email recipient and 2) As a backup plan in case my email gets put in a “junk email” list.
Purchase a Library Mailing List
For this article, I did some research to see if there were library mailing lists that you could purchase and located one provided by Lists You Can Afford.
The site lists library contacts ranging from 900 to 23,000 with prices from $39 to $99. If you're looking for a vetted list that is generating proven results for a self-publisher, I've decided to make my Library Contact Database available to The Creative Penn followers for $29.97. My North Carolina Library Campaign shell letter is also included to give you an idea of the type of information I provide Librarians.
My sincere thanks to each of you for your time and interest today. Hopefully, you will find the information provided beneficial. A special thanks also to Joanna Penn for being such a beacon of hope and inspiration for self-publishers worldwide!
Here's wishing each of you the best of luck in selling to libraries. Feel free to reach out to me with questions, or if I can be of assistance, at my book website.
Have you made attempts to get your books into libraries? Please leave your thoughts below and join the conversation.
Eric Otis Simmons is the owner of ESE, Inc., a website development firm specializing in creating sites for High School Athletes to aid them in getting recruited, Authors, Poets and others seeking to present their “Personal Brand” on the Internet. A former college athlete, Eric enjoys sports and public speaking. The first two books he's ever written, which were self-published, have recently been added to the prestigious Collection of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Kate Na says
Thank you so much for providing such a great tip!
I am considering to purchase and have several questions on the 3000+ and 5000 contacts.
1) The scope of 3000+ and 5000 contacts. And what is more added to the 5000 contacts? What is the total number of libraries including public and academic? I mean if I purchase your 5000 contacts for instance it means that I do not have to do the further effort to find more contacts? Please let me know what you know about this 🙂
2) Do you have some success stats of getting replies when sending emails using your 3000+ and 5000 contacts? I know it depends but just hope to get some rough range.
3) Do you have other lists you hope to sell? I am trying to do the marketing for the professional companies in the field such as finance, investment, law, and accounting. If you don’t have, do you want to make a list like you have done before? I will be definitely the first customer then! In the meantime, I can help you out with how and what to find…
Eric Simmons says
I don’t believe Joanna will mind my intervention as your questions are best suited for me to address. I’m Eric Simmons, the Author of “How To Get Your Book Into Libraries,” and the creator of the Library Contacts “Database,” of which I thank you for your interest.
As background, when I began contacting Libraries, in January 2018, about my self-published books, I felt I needed an organized way to keep track of things. As a result, I subsequently created a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that I refer to as a “Database.”
To answer your questions:
1) As shared in my article, the 3000+ Library Contacts “Database” contains 2,187 libraries with 2,046 Academic library contacts and 1,069 Public library contacts, which equates to 1.4 contacts per library. I keep separate tabs for my Academic and Public libraries because this makes it easier for me when I do a mass mailing targeted at either sector. The field headings in the “Database” are Library Type (i.e., Public or Academic), Library Link (i.e., URL), Librarian First Name, Librarian Last Name, Salutation (example Mary, or Dr. Smith), Librarian Email Address, Date Contacted, Library Name, and Notes. At the time I wrote the article, I had not added a two-letter abbreviation for a State field so that I could sort by state. The 5000 Library Contacts “Database” includes all of the above plus a State field and roughly 2000 new Librarian contacts from additional Libraries, the total of which I have not counted but would be comfortable in saying several hundred new Libraries.
Because Librarians change jobs, retire, and in one case that I had, become deceased, or a URL address may change, etc., you will find that you will need to keep the “Database” updated. In my experience, each time I do a mailing, I typically see around 3-5%, what I call a “change or error” rate which means something has changed, and in most cases, it has been due to one of the factors previously mentioned. To make it easier and quicker to address these “changes,” however, I’ve included the Libraries URL so that one doesn’t have to spend as much time searching for new contacts as I did searching for the original contacts when I built the “Database.”
2) Statistically, I don’t track my email reply rate, but I would say it has been minuscule, at best. The most important metric, I feel, is my sales closure rate. Of the now 93 Libraries that have purchased my self-published books, it had taken me, on average, 3.4 emails before they bought, which I believe is a phenomenal email sales closure rate! Also, I’ve had at least 10 Libraries that acquired one or more of my books after only one email! While I can’t guarantee others will achieve the same level of success with Libraries as I, I have had some purchasers of the “Database” email me to tell me about their Library sales successes since acquiring the spreadsheet. I believe it takes a good book, that is aligned with a Library’s Collection Development Policy, a solid marketing plan, perseverance, and some stick-to-itiveness to excel with Libraries.
As a note, I expand further on my Library marketing tactics in my latest book, “Getting Your Book Into Libraries,” which was derived from this article.
3) At this juncture, I anticipate continuing to grow the Library Contacts “Database” and provided updated versions for sale at each 1000 increment in new Librarian contacts that I add. So, do check https://www.eseinc1.com/library-marketing-services from time to time.
Hopefully, I answered your questions, but should you need additional information about the Library Contacts “Database,” you can reach me at email@example.com. In advance, thank you for your prospective order.
Kate Na says
Thanks a lot for your kind and thorough explanation. Before ordering, I will contact you at the above email to ask some more simple questions.
Eric Simmons says
You are more than welcome, and I look forward to hearing from you.
D.S. Marquis says
Useful information here, Eric! Thanks to this article, I’m feeling hopeful about a new strategy to market my debut book! -D.S. Marquis, Author OF SCHOOL AND WOMEN ☺
Chitra Pillai says
This article has been extremely helpful in my plan for approaching libraries. Of course, right now I have to set aside my plans due to the current lockdown situation.
Prior to this, I had established contact with my local library and had offered a complimentary copy of my maiden children’s book to them, as well as to the intermediate school that my son had attended. Was that a good move on my part? 2 copies with no revenue when I’m clueless about just breaking-even.
I will create an Excel spreadsheet like you detailed. It’ll help keeping track of the various stages that follow publishing. Thank you for the very generous tip.
I have one question: Is there a process to be followed to get books into school libraries as well?
I will check out your books in the library. Hope that I reach a stage where I can mentor upcoming self publishers too.
Eric Simmons says
I’m glad you found the article helpful.
The decision to provide complimentary copies or not is an Author’s choice, I feel. If you believe they will lead to further sales, then it’s probably a good idea. When I reviewed the costs associated with my 232-page Memoir a few years ago, I found that to order one Author’s copy cost me $3.61 U.S, and shipping was $3.59 for a total of $7.48. Then I added my lost royalty of $3.00 on the book and came up with a total cost of $10.48 for each complimentary copy I provided. So, I would have to sell 3.49 books ($10.48/$3.00) to break even on each complimentary copy I provided. The math doesn’t work for me, so I’ve decided not to offer libraries complimentary copies. If need be, I inform Librarians that they will be receiving the “industry standard” of 55% off of retail on my book(s) if they use Ingram as their purchasing source and 40% or higher if they use another source. These discounts are pretty standard in the Library industry.
You will find creating a spreadsheet from scratch will be an immensely time-consuming endeavor. It took me over 300 hours to build a “Database” of 5,000 Librarian contacts, so I don’t recommend you reinvent the wheel. The reason why I offered readers of the article my Library Contacts “Database” (https://www.eseinc1.com/library-marketing-services) was to save them time.
While each of my books is targeted to Academic and Public Libraries, the methodology I’ve developed applies to school Libraries as well. Should you need an additional resource, I believe you’ll find my latest book, “Getting Your Book Into Libraries,” helpful. It is based on this article, and in the book, I expand on my methodology, which has helped me get my self-published books into now 96 Libraries worldwide.
With your enthusiasm, I can see you becoming a self-publishing mentor. Here’s wishing you the best of luck in your writing journey.
Charles E. Frye says
This was very interesting. I was hoping the spreadsheet approach was not what was needed. For me that comes at the cost of writing time. I gave free copies to several libraries who had helped me with my research, and I felt that was worth doing.
I have several friends who are librarians at public, university, and private corporate libraries. None had any idea how difficult or expensive getting a Library Journal or Kirkus review; the points give here line up well with my experience.
I wish this was easier. An excellent article and I feel less adrift in the wilds for reading it.
Eric Simmons says
I’m glad you enjoyed the article and thank you so much for your feedback.
As shared in the piece, when I first started reaching out to Libraries by phone, I would ultimately be asked to send over information about my books. As my list of Library contacts grew, I found myself needing an organized way to keep track of who I had contacted and when, because I wanted to avoid email bombardment. Also, I knew I would want to group information by geography, Library type (i.e., Public and Academic) consortia, etc., for efficiency purposes. To be able to accomplish my objectives, I concluded I needed a central repository of information or “Database,” that I could easily manipulate and use to develop “customized” emails. Hence, my utilization of a spreadsheet. Today, my “Database” tool has enabled me to get my four self published titles into one hundred six (106) Libraries worldwide.
At this juncture, I haven’t assessed the tool’s impact on my writing time, but if it helps any, I have been able to write three additional books since I first began using the “Database” in January 2018. One timing metric that I have been tracking is the amount of time it takes me to reach a group of Librarians in a day, during one of my email “Marketing Campaigns.” Currently, I can reach eight hundred forty (840) Librarians in 1.5 hours. The number of people contacted would be higher, were it not for my Microsoft Outlook subscription’s daily email limit.
While I, too, wish there were an easier way for us to get our books into Libraries, I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it is when you do. To date, I’ve found the effort I’ve expended to be most worthwhile, and I believe you will as well.
Here’s wishing you much success in marketing your books to Libraries and feel free to reach out to me on my website if I can be of assistance!
This is exactly the info I was looking for.
Publishing my first book/memoir: Underprivileged OverachieverMemoir
its on Ingram 55% and such
got my Library of Congress Control Number
Its on NetGalley
And now here is a dope strategy.
Wish me luck, cause yer boy is goin’ to the tinnie! The top o’ da pops. Numba 1!
Eric Simmons says
I’m glad you found my article helpful. Also, congratulations on your soon to be released Memoir, “Underprivileged Overachiever!” Ironically, in my self published Memoir, “Not Far From The Tree,” mentioned in the opening paragraph of the piece, I share my life story of “overachievements.”
As you prepare to market your Memoir to Libraries, having your book available through Ingram at the 55% “wholesale discount” is a great first step. I would also encourage you to revisit the section of the article entitled, “Purchase a Library Mailing List,” in which I discuss the Library Contacts “Database” I developed. Today, the “Database” contains 5,000 Librarian contacts, and I’ve used it to get my books into, now, 108 Libraries around the world. The “tool” is also helping other Authors, as illustrated by an email I received last month from a “Database” purchaser who wrote to me to share the “tool” has helped her get her book(s) into twenty-six (26) Libraries thus far. You’ll also find additional “Library Marketing” resources on my website that are intended to further assist Authors in getting their books into Libraries.
Continue inspiring others, and here’s wishing you much success in marketing “Underprivileged Overachiever” to Libraries. Do feel free to reach out to me if I can be of assistance.
swati chowdary says
I am gaining hope again after reading your article. Thank you so much for the great post.
What I understood from here is Librarians buys books only from Ingram ? What if my books are only available in Amazon kindle ? Do you have any suggestions for KU publishers ?
Joanna Penn says
Kindle is ebook only. You can use KDP Print to make print books, but they won’t be available to libraries. So you need to use IngramSpark.com if you want libraries, bookstores etc to order your book.
Eric Simmons says
Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
As background, before I started engaging Libraries, I followed Joanna’s lead and began going “wide” in terms of the distribution of my books. After my second 90 day period in Kindle Unlimited (KU), I opted out of the program due to its “exclusivity” arrangement. Afterward, I began distributing my books through some of the sources I mentioned in the article (IngramSpark, Draft2Digital (D2D), Smashwords, StreetLib, etc.) Since going “wide,” each of these Distributors has generated Library sales following one of my email campaigns, which I initiate through my Library Contacts “Database.” I’m also still getting Library sales through Amazon via KDP’s Expanded Distribution offering.
By going “wide” (i.e., using multiple Distributors), my self published books are now in 120 Libraries worldwide, and I currently have at least four (4) more Library sales showing in various Distributor sales reports. So Joanna is right; if you want to get your book(s) into Libraries, you want to distribute through IngramSpark, which currently accounts for 54% of my Library sales, and others. For example, Amazon Expanded Distribution accounts for 21% of my sales, and the other Distributors I am using represent the remaining 25%.
I hope this update helps, and best of luck in selling your book(s) to Libraries.
Nan Bogue/Evenson says
You rock, Mr. Simmons! Everything I need to know laid out beautifully. Thank you for helping us. Nan
Eric Simmons says
Thank you for the kind words and you’re more than welcome. I’m glad you found the article helpful. As you embark on getting your written work(s) into Libraries, here’s wishing you much success!
Is the Head Librarian of the library the same as the Director?
Eric Simmons says
The head of a Library might have different titles such as Head Librarian, Librarian, Director, Executive Director, etc. Often the title depends on the size of a Library or Library System. When searching a Library’s website for a book purchasing decision-maker(s), I take a top-down and bottom-up approach, meaning I search for the highest-ranking decision-maker(s) first, then influential recommenders such as an Adult Librarian next. If a Library has a Collections Development Manager, that person is usually tasked with making book purchases for the Library or System. I try not to leave things to chance, so I tend to contact those, whether it’s one or more individuals, that I think can affect a book purchase.
In “Getting Your Book Into Libraries,” I expand on this article’s information, should you need additional info.
I hope this helps.
Lib-web.org doesn’t exist.
Eric Simmons says
Thank you for the head’s up. When I wrote the article, and for several years, the link was accessible, so I’m not sure why the error message states the page isn’t working or why there isn’t a page redirect.
Joanna Penn says
You can add the link here, Eric, and I can put it back into the article.
Eric Simmons says
Thank you, Joanna. Since the LibWeb link is showing an error message of, “This page isn’t working,” and there is no page redirect,
The primary tool I’ve been using to identify Public Libraries is, LibWeb, Library Servers via WWW. You click on a particular U.S. State, and you’ll be directed to Public Libraries within the State.
Next, you click on a library’s link, and you will be directed to the library’s home page. Now, you will have to search the site to identify the primary decision-maker(s). In many cases, the decision-makers can be found under “About Us,” “Staff Directory” or similar. LibWeb also lists Academic libraries in the same manner.
The primary tool I’ve been using to identify Public Libraries is https://librarytechnology.org/libraries/uspublic. You click on a particular U.S. State, and you’ll be directed to Public Libraries within the State.
Next, you click on a library’s link, and you will be directed to a page where a link is provided to the library’s website. Now, you will have to search the site to identify the primary decision-maker(s). In many cases, the decision-makers can be found under “About Us,” “Staff Directory” or similar.
In advance, thank you for your assistance.
Andrea Flack-Wetherald says
This was SUCH a helpful post — like, I’m pretty sure it’s the most helpful blog post on the internet. Thank you for sharing! This really helped shape my marketing strategy. Based on this info, I would think it’s okay to wait start library outreach in the summer. My book comes out on 12/10, and I have my hands full with book launch efforts as it is. It was awesomely helpful to see when many libraries’ fiscal years end and to plan outreach around that time. Plus, I’ll hopefully have more statistics and reviews to share with them by then! Thank you again. This was great!
Eric Simmons says
Thank you, Andrea. I’m delighted you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. Here’s wishing you much success with your book launch and marketing your new title to Libraries.
Rodger Holm says
What a helpful article Mr. Simmons and thank you. I was just on Baker & Taylor’s website and it appears they no longer distribute self-published authors. How much will this hamper getting ones books into libraries? They do mention they can send a list of distributing and marketing options though, so I’ll check on that as well. Thanks again. Ted
Eric Simmons says
Thank you, Ted, and you’re more than welcome. I’m glad you found the piece helpful.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, PublishDrive announced it had reached an agreement with Baker & Taylor (B&T) regarding eBook distribution to Libraries, see https://publishdrive.com/baker-taylor-reach-the-widest-network-of-libraries.html. A few years ago, when I looked into B&T’s distribution and marketing options, they appeared to look for vendors/suppliers versus an author distributing through them, so I don’t think this has changed. Lastly, of my current 158 Library customers, roughly 80% have purchased through Ingram, so if you aren’t currently distributing your book(s) through them to reach Libraries, I encourage you to look at them.
Best of luck to you in marketing your book(s) to Libraries!
Cicek Bricault says
Fantastic article, thank you Mr. Simmons. I have an indie middle grade novel releasing September 1st and am pricing now. I’m not so keen on allowing IngramSparks returns and read an article on scribed about listing it with only a 30% discount so I can, at least, get listed in the online catalogs of major chains like Wallmart, and minimize the risk of returns from physical stores.
That said, I really want to entice Librarians to buy my book. Will offering them a 30% discount (which really is only a 15% discount to them, because IngramSparks takes the other 15%) be enough to get libraries to buy? (That plus good revenues, press and direct marketing outreach.) Would love your thoughts.