Library Sales: Start Small, Start Local
By Danielle Sinon
From the Library of Alexandria, to the Library of Congress, libraries have always played an important role in society. Similar to museums, their job is to protect and preserve important books and documents, allowing them to be enjoyed now and to be passed on to future generations. What’s not to love?
So you’ve gone through the process of publishing your book and it has been released into the world. Who can buy it? With online platforms like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, consumers can directly purchase copies of your book, either in print or digital form. But we also work with other distributors to cover a large audience in the market: libraries.
By working with two of the largest book distributors — Baker & Taylor and Ingram — we have been able to build strong relationships with libraries. This means that when they see our name on a book, it reassures them that it will be a great addition to their collection. Working with libraries is important for sales, so it’s imperative that authors build relationships with local librarians — and perhaps even get involved with the American Library Association on a national or state level!
Working With Your Local Library
While the idea of spreading the news about a new book may seem exciting to some, others might find it daunting. If you identify with the latter, there’s no need to worry; there are options that allow you to work on a smaller and more intimate scale while still working within the library system.
Most public libraries offer programs and events throughout the year to bring in patrons and increase interest in the library. Programs may include anything from yoga classes to children’s story time, book clubs, and computer classes. While these are important resources for the community, they won’t help you and the promotion of your book. Instead, you’ll need to get involved in either a local author series or a themed book event.
A local author series is kind of like a one-stop book tour in your own hometown. The library will promote your book leading up to the event, reminding patrons that you are a local just like them. On the day of the event, you’ll be given time to read a section of your book, discuss your inspiration and process, and answer questions. This will give you a chance to introduce your book to people who are interested in you and your work.
One of our authors, Lisa Osgard, author of the children’s book series Kahwallawallapoopoo, recently participated in the Jacksonville Book Fest, which took place at the main branch of the Jacksonville Public Library. She was able to meet hundreds of readers and make an impression! She has also partnered with Jax Kids Book Club to do a monthly reading.
You may also wish to contribute to a themed book event. For example, this month is Women’s History Month, used to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women. Other themed book events include Banned Books Week, Children’s Book Week, and National Poetry Month. Get out there and talk to your local librarians and see if your book will be able to make a contribution to any of their upcoming events.
Libraries are so important when it comes to book publishing. They give authors the chance to sell and advertise their books with little or no cost involved. It’s also the perfect chance to get yourself out there and get involved in the community. Libraries have been around for centuries and it doesn’t seem like they’re going out of style any time soon.
Join us next week for Part 2 of our series where you can learn all about the importance of the American Library Association.