By guest author Dana Lynn Smith.
America's 123,000 libraries purchase nearly $2 billion worth of books annually, according to statistics from the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group. Nonfiction books are especially well suited to library sales. Here are ten tips on how to sell to libraries:
1. Publish a library-friendly book.
Library books take a lot of abuse, so they prefer books that are sturdy. Libraries will not purchase books with spiral or other non-traditional binding. Nonfiction books should have a good index and preferably a bibliography. Librarians also prefer to purchase books that are cataloged using CIP (cataloging-in-publication) data.
2. Get your book reviewed in a library journal.
It's impossible for librarians to keep up with the huge volume of books being published, and they value the screening process that the journals provide.
3. Make sure your book is available through major library wholesalers.
4. Apply to work with a library distributor.
5. Solicit testimonials from librarians.
6. Contact libraries in your area.
You should inquire about programs and speaking opportunities for local authors and let them know about your events such as book signings, radio interviews, etc.
7. Send direct mail to libraries.
Address your mail to the Collection Development Librarian for your subject area, and include a flyer with book details and a list of wholesalers and distributors that carry your book.
8. Consider donating a sample copy.
Copies sent to a few top library systems can encourage purchases for branch libraries.
9. Exhibit at library tradeshows.
[Dana Lynn Smith is a nationally recognized book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer Guides.]