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How to Sell Your Book to Libraries
Laura Campagna

Libraries are a steady source for selling books; they do well. According to the American Library Association (ALA), total expenditures were 1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. Libraries are dependable, pay their bills, and as a part of their work, they work on collection development.

This means that libraries are looking for books!

Librarians purchase both ebooks and printed books (usually more than one copy). For the most part, libraries use distributors (also known as wholesalers, or "jobbers"), to make purchases. You will find book wholesalers in the ALA's American Libraries Buyer's Guide and various wholesale sections in the LibraryWorks Library Yellow Pages, (an annual print catalogue which, through LibraryWorks, also appears on-line). Distributors include, for example, Greenleaf Book Group and Baker and Taylor.

Librarians attend trade exhibits, for libraries, and they read book reviews. The ALA review magazine is Booklist. Booklist has over 100,000 book reviews for libraries, book groups and book lovers. Librarians look at this on-line magazine for purchases.

Librarians look at books reviewed by Booklist, as well as Hornbook, Kirkus Review, Choices, and the New York Times Book Review, to name a few.

If you want to sell a book to the local library, you should write to the local librarian, Send a description of your book, and why it would be an important part of the library collection. For example, if you wrote a book about personal finance, you could write the following letter.
"Dear (Librarian's Name)

I have written a book "Credit Repair and Money Management". I am a certified credit counselor with Cambridge Financial Solutions. I have helped many people to clean up bad credit. I believe that my book will hold a great deal of interest for community members. I know it is the work of the libraries to meet the interests and needs of the community. Many members of the community would want to read a book, such as this, because personal finance is an important topic perhaps never more than now. I believe my writing has a place in your collection.

I would gladly, hold public reading of the book, I am planning a workshop for those interested in learning how to clean up their credit file when they have a low credit score or a bad credit rating. I would like to make an appointment to meet with you to further discuss my book. I thank you for your time and consideration, and I eagerly await your response."


Jane Smith
Cambridge Financial Solutions
Phone: (222) 222-2222


You can also join "Authors for Libraries" through the American Library Assocoiation (ALA), and advertise your book at arranged author visits. Libraries routinely hold author visits, and, usually, the librarian, and many of the students, will order a book from the presenting author. For further exposure of your book, you can use direct mail, and the ALA has a list of library mailing addresses (See link in resources section below).

Libraries are an important and secure place to market your book. There are so many ways that you can promote your book, leading to its placement in a library. You have to be smart to sell your book. You will have to research marketing strategies, look at the available avenues for book "exposure" (in a case of a local interest book, you can begin with the local elected officials and the libraries in the local public and school libraries) and read about collection development in the libraries, offer your talents through readings and workshops, work to get a book reviewed, and find creative ways to reach the public. It will be hard work, but a lot of fun, and very rewarding.

Recommended Book Marketing Resources:

ALA Authors for Libraries
Bringing Authors and Libraries Together

ALA Lists of Libraries
(email and direct mail addresses)

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