How to Sell Your Book to Libraries

05 Apr



According to statistics from the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group, libraries yearly purchase books for nearly $2 billion. But not only books, also audio books and other forms of publications.

Imagine, you sold your $15 book at 50% discount to only 10% of these libraries, you will earn more than $75,000. But how can you tap into the lucrative library market?
On the downside: Many of the more than 100,000 public, university and specialty libraries throughout the United States have been forced to scale down their budgets and have to use creative means to update their book collections. They even take advantage of online bargains through, eBay and discount book sites.


Create a Library-Quality Book

  • Librarians read reviews — at least those in Library Journal and Kirkus. It is not easy to get your book reviewed in these journals; however, it is possible.
  • Your book has to be available through major wholesalers.
  • Apply to work with a library distributor such as Quality Books or Unique Books, if you have a nonfiction book.
  • Librarians prefer hardcover books and soft cover perfect-bound books with the title printed on the spine. The cover on a perfect-bound book must be sturdy. Librarians particularly like reference books. If you are writing or compiling such a non-fiction book, be sure to include an index, a bibliography and/or a resource list.
  • Books for library-use need a Library of Congress Catalog in Publication block or in advance of publication in the Publishers Cataloging in Publication  and / or a listing with Bowker worldwide.
  • A note, printed on the upper left back cover should indicating the type of book this is and the topic: reference/book publishing, writing/reference, history, autobiography, parenting,

Sell Books Directly to Libraries

To find their addresses, use  Gale’s Directory of Libraries or Online Library Directory
You cam also buy mailing lists from Library Marketing List. You can get listings for 25,000 university libraries or 18,000 public libraries, or 400 listings for community college libraries.

You can’t just walk into a library and hope they will take your book, not even if you are giving it away! Librarians are happy to get  books, but they also have constraints on what books they can accept. One of those constraints is the written or unwritten “acquisitions policy” at each library, depending on what that library is collecting. Space and the high cost of storing and/or distributing books to library patrons is another huge limitation. Time is another issue for librarians – they have little time to spend reading about books.

Each kind of library: academic; public, school, and special, has different purposes. And they buy different kinds of books. Choose the right type for your book selling efforts. For example: Young Adult and Children’s authors: The largest library market are school libraries (grades K-12). The budgets of academic libraries and public libraries are much larger than those of the typical school library.
Send a press release to the contact name via e-mail or snail mail. Describe your book and the binding and list any amenities such as index, color photos, resource list and/or bibliography. Be sure to include all your ordering information in detail. Add a list of wholesalers / distributors that carry your book.
Selling to libraries as an author-publisher (and signing up with book whole sale) works best when you have at least three quality print books.

What else can you do to promote your book to libraries?

Offer a free (1 hour) class in local libraries, where you can certainly mention your book.
Find out the dates of library trade shows and exhibit through co-operative exhibit programs such as those offered through IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Consider donating a copy of your book to a few top library systems, to encourage purchases for branch libraries.

The best time to approach libraries might be in December and June as this is when they typically do their buying. If you deliver directly to the library and not through whole sale, you may want to offer the same discount to entice them to purchase your book.



If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn, how to navigate Social Media: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help:

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Book Sales, Libraries, Marketing


Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “How to Sell Your Book to Libraries


    June 16, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Heya are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get
    started and create my own. Do you require any coding knowledge
    to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    • ebooksinternational

      June 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

      choose a WordPress theme, and just start typing your text, add images – that
      ‘s it! No coding required!
      Happy blogging : )


  2. beenishkhan659

    March 4, 2014 at 6:34 am

    You can sell through classified sites as well, and free ads, make it even more better. for the perfect platform to sell your stuff.



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