Ever Wonder about Library Books?

And how they got on the shelves?

Check out Books and Such Literary Agency’s blog for a low-down on how it all works and how this motivated agency is making inroads in the marketing world.

Some writers I know have shied away from the library market, pooh-poohing it as an unnecessary avenue in which to sell their books.  After all, library books are free, no?

Well yes, to the public.  But not really. 

Every book in a library has been purchased with real money.  With over 2,500 on the Library Locator–the nifty thing Books and Such is part of–this “free” market could help an author sell-through and earn back an advance.

 Not to mention, if a library is connected to the public education system like ours is, certain types of books can quickly make their way onto purchase orders–in multiple copies.  

So, is the library market an untapped avenue for you as a writer, or does this free service seem a bit too trifling to pursue?   Which shelves would you like to see you work on and why?

Personally, the library is my target.  It’s the quickest way for my books to find themselves in the hands of my intended audience.  Books are expensive and many households don’t have/use expendable cash for literature.  Yet every week, kids file down the hallway and make their way into the vastness of the library where they are encouraged to check out something–anything–just to get them to read.

And that, my friends, is where I want to be.  I want my unlucky pirate family to be waiting on the shelf, beautifully illustrated and just waiting to stow-away in the back pack of some elementary student. 

Not to say that the end cap at any bookstore would make me pout, but I do have fond childhood memories of libraries and virtually no bookstore moments beyond shaking hands with Louis L’Amour. 


11 responses to “Ever Wonder about Library Books?

  1. Once I finally finish one of these umteen novels I’m working on, I am definitely going to try to get them into a library. That’s how I first started reading, and that’s how I found a lot of my favorite authors. 🙂

    • Jessica,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m a lot like you in that my childhood was spent in the library. Too poor to buy books, we borrowed. Every week we roller skated (yep, I’m that old) to the library and spent hours between the stacks.

      Life doesn’t get better than that!

      Now finish up those manuscripts…

  2. I’m going to check out your link. Libraries are a big target market for me, especially since the Guardian Cats have to save one!
    Thanks for the post. I’ve not see anyone addressing libraries in their marketing plan.

    • Rahma,

      I am in complete agreement about the library industry. In fact, I went to a conference last year where one a panel of agents and editors speculated on the future of books and one thing that really stuck with me was the fact that not only is the publishing business changing, but so is the educational arena.

      Across the board, the panel agreed that educational books should pick up in about 5 years.

      It’s my hope. And one of the reasons, my pirate chapter book and the planned series has educational tie-ins. Not necessarily overt, but enough that they should have some value.

      Like you, I see your cats sitting on library shelves. It’s where they belong.

  3. Sufficient praise for libraries could not be sung. I’d like to be on any shelf, but the one at the library would be especially sweet. I’m going to check out your link. Thank you!!

  4. There are two reasons that I see Libraries as super valuable:

    1. Libraries are on of our best advocacy for reading. They pour a LOT of effort in to creating lifetime readers. We want that, for reasons both selfish and unselfish.

    2. The library is going to help you build your fanbase. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of money isn’t very likely to take a chance on buying a hardcover from an unfamiliar author. The same person is much more likely to take a chance on something new through the library. If a patron doesn’t like a library book, he or she just turns it in early and loses nothing but a little reading time. On the other hand, if someone picks up your book at the library and adores it, he or she is more likely to go out and buy it. And if he or she loves it enough? You have someone who is very likely to preorder your future books.

    The library is like a dating service for people and books. No one can fall in love with your book if it’s not in the dating pool.

  5. Not only that, but I can’t tell you how many kids get involved in a series through the library, then simply can’t stand the waiting list when the sequels come out. I’ve had many kids tell me, when I go running to them triumphantly with the book in hand – “Sorry, but I bought it.”

    And hey – why would I be mad about that? 🙂

  6. I have always been, and remain, a fan of library. I don’t like to collect books – I love to read books. As Michelle says, I will go buy books that I love after I have read them from the library. I am that reader.

    More importantly…how have we never discussed Louis L’Amour? My dad had lots of his books in his library (we had zillions of books in our basement) and I’m pretty sure I read every one of his Louis L’Amour books. I had forgotten all about him! When I am done with school and have time to read something besides a text book, and I go to the library to do something besides research, I am going to check him out and take him home!

    Meanwhile, I am off to the library. To do research. And dream of the day when I have time to read for fun!

    • LOL. And yet another reason why we get along so well. He was my constant companion between 10th and 11th grade. While home that summer with the little sibs, I read every one of his books. My parents have his leather bound collection in their library.


      Wish I had a personal library. My books are still locked up in their boxes from the move. I’ve been praying mightly hard this spring that our basement won’t flood because I’d lose my collection! Yeah, I’m a collector.

      But I also love the library.

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