You’ve already written a self published a book. Now it’s time to promote it! One of the best ways to get your book into the hands of potential fans (or customers) is to make it accessible. That means getting self published books into libraries so they can be read.
Getting Self Published Books Into Libraries
As a new self published author it can be overwhelming trying to figure out all the ins and outs that a traditional publisher would usually cover. Without the backing of a distributor, for example, your book won’t be available for libraries to order. So how do you get your books into these places?
Getting self published eBooks into Libraries
If you want to see your eBook in your local library, the best way to get it there is by donation. There’s one catch though: You can’t actually donate an eBook to a library. eBooks are licensed for their use, not the book itself. That means you can’t actually give your library a copy to use on services like Overdrive.
To donate a copy of your book you’ll have to actually donate the funds for the library to purchase a copy. It’s still worth it, though! Talk to your library’s manager or the director to see how you can make it happen.
This handy service distributes your self published eBooks to Overdrive. Instead of giving your book away it will be available for sale in the Overdrive catalogue that libraries buy from. Since most libraries keep their buying to just a few services (Overdrive being the largest), this is probably the best way to make it available for libraries to purchase.
This is another option that works with any library that’s using Overdrive. Ask a few of your supporters to request a copy of your book at their library right through Overdrive. It will send the request to their library. If enough people do this hopefully it can get added to the collection.
Getting self published books into libraries
If you’ve created printed copies of your book it’s a lot easier to donate one of those to your local library. Usually small libraries will even help promote their local authors! It’s a win-win. Even if you’re only doing print on demand publishing, consider ordering a few copies to give away.
Donating to your local library is great, but how do you get copies of your book to other libraries across the country? It’s actually quite similar to eBooks.
Have patrons request your book
Generally speaking, if enough people ask for a book, the library will order it. Even if they can’t find it through their usual publishing companies libraries do reach out to bookstores and even Amazon to make purchases when necessary.
This technique will work anywhere, and you don’t need to do anything other than have a great book and promote it well. If there’s enough buzz the book will sell itself to libraries.
Talk to wholesalers
Libraries buy from wholesale companies. Look for ones that offer similar books to your work and contact them about including your book in their catalogue. You won’t make as much money as a regular sale but it does help get your book into the hands of more people.
Some library catalogues also offer paid listing options. This might be the quickest and easiest route to getting your book included if you’re an unknown author.
Contact them directly
Selling your book isn’t much different from selling anything else. Come up with a plan, and then contact libraries to see if they’d be interested in buying a copy of your work. Libraries are on tight budgets, so it’s better if you can make it worth their while. Offering a discount or doing an event that will bring patrons into the library are good ideas.
Other tips for getting self published books into libraries
Ask if they’ll host your book launch
Even if the library hasn’t bought a copy, you can always ask for use of space (or rent space) to hold a book launch there. If the library sees there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the book they’re more likely to consider picking up a copy for other patrons to enjoy.
You’ll also get a chance to get to know the library if you haven’t already. Sometimes all it takes is a good impression with the staff to land a sale.
Be considerate of their budgets
Even well funded libraries can’t buy every book. When pitching your book to any library, be respectful and understanding of their budget restrictions. Coming across too arrogant or expecting too much is a quick way to lose the sale.
If possible, offer libraries great rates to buy your book – and make sure to let them know!
Ask your fans to donate a copy
There’s going to be people who love your book. While you may not be able to afford to give away hundreds of books, you can ask your fans to donate a copy to their local library. You’ll not only get an extra book sale, but your book can be enjoyed by more people. At no cost to you.
If your book is eBook only, make sure it’s available on Overdrive to purchase and ask people to donate funds to their library to buy a digital copy.
Look into specialized libraries
If your self published book is made for children or teens, consider contacting school libraries directly. These libraries often have different budgets than public libraries. They also have different goals when it comes to creating their collection.
For books that are specialized, seek out libraries that cater to your niche. You can sell nonfiction to academic libraries, for example. Religious themed books can end up in church or private school libraries. You can offer parenting books to parenting centers or hospitals. And so on. You’ll need to do some research but it can really pay off.
There’s over 100,000 libraries in the United States alone. Regardless of where you live, there’s likely a lot of opportunities for getting self published books into libraries. Keep trying and don’t give up!