Support for Indie Authors discussion

Marketing Tactics > Public Libraries? Will they take Indie Books?

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message 1: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 356 comments Many will. I think my local library has mine.

message 2: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Christine wrote: "The public librarian has told me that unless the book is "peer reviewed" she won't accept it. No donations, etc. Any thoughts?"

I removed your link. We have a no link policy.

message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments I don't see why not. As long as the book is well edited, properly formatted, and printed to professional standards I believe libraries on the whole are willing to take Indie books.

Couple of suggestions: Make the effort to engage with the library in some way if possible, e.g. through a local writers group or some other program the library might run. It helps if you can establish a relationship with the staff there first. And see if you can ask someone else to request your book. Libraries are often receptive to their members suggesting titles to add to their collections.

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsweetz25) | 4 comments Many libraries are receptive now to new books, they want a content which is new, which is not complicated with complex synonym words, which is well edited with clean content and unbiased opinions and most of all which engages one and one with the readers database, thus bring more readers to their library ( increases their membership numbers).

Socialising is an important attribute now and any work requires a steady commitment and build up of trust and most importantly giving respect and space needed to thrive.

If one door is closed, another door opens..Keep searching. Dont lose hope.

All the best.

:-) Sarah

message 5: by Angela (new)

Angela Maher (angelajmaher) | 43 comments In Australia, self-publishers can donate their books as part of the Legal Deposit scheme (both state and national libraries). Sometimes the library will then also buy additional copies for general lending.

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine Calabrese (christinecalabrese) | 164 comments G.G. wrote: "Christine wrote: "The public librarian has told me that unless the book is "peer reviewed" she won't accept it. No donations, etc. Any thoughts?"

I removed your link. We have a no link policy."

My apologies GG! 🙃

message 7: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Schwimley (victoriaschwimley) | 161 comments It's really up to The library policy. My library has three of my audiobooks, and I was able to them to buy two fellow author's books. However, their libraries will only carry indie books by local authors.

message 8: by Charles (new)

Charles | 148 comments My local library has my books. As does the Ohio and several other state library systems. I have two published science fiction novels out, and have over 150 copies in libraries.
In response to G.G.'s comment, I believe it helped that my book was "peer reviewed" by Blueink Reviews.

message 9: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Christine wrote: "My apologies GG! 🙃 .."

No worries :)

message 10: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Lightfoot (goodreadscomandrea17) | 75 comments A couple of libraries have mine, but my local library said they weren't taking any donations. This was a couple of years ago. I put it to them that it was my book, but I think it must have fallen on deaf ears. I'll try them again - there's new staff in there now, anyway.

message 11: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Libraries do not have infinite space,so many have no donation policies in place in order to keep people from dropping off boxes of moldy and out dated encyclopedias (apparently this is a huge issue as people are unwilling to recycle books, no matter how useless the book). Also, each system is different, but from what I've experienced, you'll want to speak to someone in acquisitions, not the librarian. I did this when I sent a book to a library that was calling for specific genre submissions after a fire wiped out there inventory.

message 12: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Iannone | 6 comments Maybe the library would be willing to put up a poster for the book? If it's a local author, I don't see why not. You know, community pride and all that. Either way, one would generate interest for their book through a poster, and after a time, the library may consider stocking your books.

message 13: by Jude (new)

Jude Hayland | 34 comments My local library stocks mine - it’s a big discovery centre type library - I approached them by email, detailing ‘Counting the Ways’ and the response was positive- you don’t know until you try!

message 14: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 891 comments Libraries take indie books. I live in a small community. They accept a new book, but you needn't bring used books to them. So far, the two in my area have accepted my book and the first one seems to always be out on loan. I give them for free. If you are with Ingram Spark, they sell to libraries and will list it in the publications libraries use to buy books, so make sure your blurb is great and your genre is niched down. Being indie isn't a deal killer for libraries.

message 15: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Eley | 14 comments Public libraries will accept books by indie authors. The local libraries where I live prefer to have books from authors who reside in the community. If you submit your book for consideration, the library will ask for your library card number as proof you are a resident. Depending on the subject of your book, you may want to inquire with university and college libraries. Does the library have speaking events? They may be inclined to purchase your book if you're speaking to their patrons for an event.

message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments Lisa wrote: "Does the library have speaking events? They may be inclined to purchase your book if you're speaking to their patrons for an event."

Yes! If you are able to speak on writing-related topics I certainly recommend getting involved like this. The first thing I did when I talked to my local library manager was join in the writers group running there and offer to speak.

message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley McLeo My library bought three of each of my paperbacks. I offered to donate and they said they'd be happy to buy. Get in touch with yours and you may be pleasantly surprised!

I intend to let them know when my e-book is out of KU too.

message 18: by Marla (new)

Marla Skidmore | 1 comments I live in a small city in the Yorkshire Dales - our local library has ordered my debut novel and is arranging for me to meet readers and give a talk - I think it depends very much on the community.

message 19: by Robin (new)

Robin (robingregory) | 71 comments Okay. I'll try a third time (now that I know you don't allow links ...)
If your title page has a "CIP block," it is more likely to be accepted by libraries. CIP IDs are used almost universally for cataloging library books. Not expensive and easy to get online.

message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments Robin wrote: "If your title page has a "CIP block," it is more likely to be accepted by libraries. CIP IDs are used almost universally for cataloging library books. Not expensive and easy to get online."

I did that for my first two novels. However when I came to do this for my latest novel I found that the rules have recently changed, at least in Canada. They will no longer provide the CIP service for self-published works :(

message 21: by Robin (new)

Robin (robingregory) | 71 comments Ian wrote: "Robin wrote: "If your title page has a "CIP block," it is more likely to be accepted by libraries. CIP IDs are used almost universally for cataloging library books. Not expensive and easy to get on..."

Wow. That's crazy! I looked for self-publishing exemptions in the US and couldn't find any.

message 22: by Christine (last edited Mar 18, 2018 01:40PM) (new)

Christine Calabrese (christinecalabrese) | 164 comments Well, since I posted here, I tried my hometown library, which is not far from here and they are actually having an Indie Book Fair. I am signed up and ready to go! If you have any suggestions about the presentation of the book at a book fair in a library for all Indie Author let me know! I will be sharing a table with another author, hopefully of the same genre! 🤓

You guys are great here! The door closed one place and opened wide in another! Thanks again!

message 23: by Robin (new)

Robin (robingregory) | 71 comments Good for you, Christine! I promote library appearances like book signings ... announce them on social networks, local news and radio outlets. Have stuff to giveaway, bookmarks, postcards, candy, whatever. Have a sign-up sheet for your mailing list. You can take your book cover file on a flashstick to a good copy place, get it copied and laminated, then put it on a picture stand next to your book (on a picture stand, too). All the best.

message 24: by Christine (new)

Christine Calabrese (christinecalabrese) | 164 comments Robin wrote: "Good for you, Christine! I promote library appearances like book signings ... announce them on social networks, local news and radio outlets. Have stuff to giveaway, bookmarks, postcards, candy, wh..."
Thanks! Great ideas!

message 25: by Felix (new)

Felix Schrodinger | 138 comments The CIP Block system would appear to be an imposition of the American Library of Congress and does not appear to have meaning elsewhere? To me, at least. it seems to be an admission that DDC and ISBN have fundamental shortcomings - hence the introduction of a new system.

message 26: by Robin (new)

Robin (robingregory) | 71 comments I think with the advent of computers, the CIP system replaced the DDC because it is more effective for cataloging.

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 972 comments I'm not familiar with CIP or DDC, but have heard of LCCN (Library of Congress Catalog Number) in the U.S. I believe it costs around $50 to obtain one. Does an indie author obtaining this gain any advantage in trying to get your library to carry your book? Thank you. Hugs

message 28: by Robin (new)

Robin (robingregory) | 71 comments I found a good article by searching "LCCN or CIP." It is very informative. It said, "in the United States, self-published authors are barred from the Library of Congress’s CIP Program anyway, rendering an LCCN essentially useless..." for starters. I think the reason I got a CIP was because my publisher said it would be easier to get it into library databases, not the only way. While I self-published, I did so with the consultation of a traditional publisher, who was able, at the time, to get the CIP for my book.

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 972 comments Thank you Robin for your very helpful answer. Hugs

message 30: by K.C. (new)

K.C. Knouse (kcknouse) | 49 comments Self-published authors cannot participate in the Library of Congress's CIP program, but that does not prevent self-published authors from putting a PCIP (Publisher's Cataloging-in-Publication data block) in their publications. Self-published authors can get an LCCN and have a service prepare the PCIP.

I did this for my first book which was non-fiction. Quality Books prepared the PCIP. I sold about half the 2,000 book print run to libraries. I was fortunate to receive a positive review from Booklist which helped library sales. I had a PCIP prepared by Five Rainbows for my soon-to-be-released collection of short fiction. It cost $79 which included a MARC record and listings in World Cat and SkyRiver databases.

message 31: by Lee (new)

Lee St. John | 40 comments In Georgia, most of the 159 counties belong to the PINES network which is a book catalog system for the state. Only a few counties opt out & remain independent. But once your book is in ANY library location, it is in the system to be checked by anyone in the state if they join PINES. I asked my local branch if they would accept my book as a gift for their system. It passed some kind of branch board inspection and was accepted. Now anyone in the PINES network statewide can check out my book.

message 32: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy Bennett (alysblugwn) | 47 comments The North Olympic Library System in Washington State has some strict rules about acceptance for books. I was told 20 professional reviews or strong public demand. The alternative is the "local author shelf" where I donate a copy to my library, and it is put on a special shelf where patrons can take it out and read and return at their own pace. That means it is marginally catalogued and there are no records on who has the book or how long they kept it or how many people have read the book. But it's better than nothing at all. For indie writers, meeting a 20-review criterium is difficult. So I have given one copy of each of my books to the Sequim library. I do know people who are reading my books that way.

message 33: by D.A. (new)

D.A. Barr | 6 comments I have had little luck getting my book into the King County, Washington, library system.
Operating from memory here: Was told that an application must be submitted, then someone would eventually research it. If that researcher found enough public interest in the book, then they would add it to the list of potential books to buy. They would not purchase the book directly from me (I have a few hundred copies in hand) but only from a selected few distribution houses.

Several times, I have been flatly refused when I offered to hand fresh, new books over the desk. I have resorted to handing books directly over to some, willing, employees for personal consumption, in the hope that those folks will at least pass the word, or maybe the book, over to others.

A few small libraries, in outlying counties, now have a copy or two of my book. The rules there were not so strict or so bureaucratically driven.

I have also taken to leaving copies of my work in some of the local "Tiny Libraries" scattered about in the Seattle metro area. Hopefully they are getting read and not just disposed of.

message 34: by Laura (new)

Laura (narrina) | 10 comments It all depends on the library, their ordering policies, and whomever is in charge of doing the ordering.

Thankfully, my local library has no issue whatsoever with purchasing indieauthor books (although they do take longer to process). They recently purchased a copy of my novel and said they'd call me when it was finished processing so that they could have me sign it. In addition to mine, they also ordered about eight other young adult titles all from indieauthors.

message 35: by Sreedhar (new)

Sreedhar Iyer | 11 comments Jude wrote: "My local library stocks mine - it’s a big discovery centre type library - I approached them by email, detailing ‘Counting the Ways’ and the response was positive- you don’t know until you try!"
You are in luck. I'll try to mail some copies to libraries near my localities.

message 36: by Shari (new)

Shari Sakurai (shari_sakurai) | 64 comments My local library does. I sent them some copies of my novels to distribute a while back and several months after I did my friend sent me a photo of one of them out on display!

message 37: by Felix (new)

Felix Schrodinger | 138 comments Getting your book into local libraries appears to be more difficult than at first sight. It appears that they have an in-built dislike of self-published books but, in addition, require a book to come with a Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) so they can place it on the shelf without too much effort. Generally speaking, obtaining a DDC is beyond the skills of most indie writers and the Library of Congress does not always provide it with registration. The UK uses a slightly different version of DDC.

I wonder if there is any commercial organization out there that will provide the classification for a reasonable fee?

message 38: by C.J. (last edited Jul 12, 2018 09:47AM) (new)

C.J. Shane (cjshane) | 20 comments Felix said: Getting your book into local libraries.... I'm a retired librarian and currently an author and visual artist. It is simply not true that librarians "dislike" self-published books, nor do they require a classification number before purchasing. Librarians like to purchase books that they think their library patrons will check out and read. Librarians accept "request to purchase" from library patrons (ask your friends to request a purchase!). Librarians often keep tabs on local authors, and will invite them to talk to library-based book clubs. And, most important, librarians look at reviews in publications such as Library Journal to help them decide what to buy.

Here's what you need to do to get your indie published book into a public library. Make it easy for the library to purchase a book. For print books, it's best to publish through Ingram Spark which distributes to libraries directly through their iPage website, or through other distributors to libraries such as Baker & Taylor. For digital books, go through a distributor like Smashwords or Draft2Digital which makes your book available to Overdrive. Overdrive is a service to public libraries to make digital checkouts possible.

Don't count on Amazon to sell your books to a library. Amazon wants to sell you directly. Amazon makes more money that way.

As far a Dewey numbers, there are different kinds of librarians. One is called a "cataloger." The cataloger's job is to give subject headings (aka cataloging) and a Dewey or LC number (aka classifying) to new books . Usually the librarian doesn't have to start from scratch because s/he can often already find the subject headings or Dewey number on line. If not, the librarian will do it himself/herself. Another good source of info is WorldCat which has listed 6 of my traditionally published books, two of my indie published books, and five of my artist's books. I did not provide a Dewey or LC number or subject headings for any of these.

Also my local public library purchased through Ingram six copies of my latest novel. I like "purchase" because I get paid. Every library is a little different. I suggest you go have a talk with your reference librarian. Reference librarians have the job of answering patrons' questions. I was a reference librarian.

message 39: by Gisela (last edited Jul 12, 2018 08:56AM) (new)

Gisela Hausmann | 47 comments My books are in 18 libraries. Here is what I did:
I wrote a book about writing best emails for professionals which I got featured in Success magazine and Entrepreneur (big time media coverage helps)
I also acquired a Kirkus review for the corresponding student edition (but not for the professionals’ edition b/c that one was featured in the magazines, I had to save money somewhere).

This “double coverage” (media coverage for one book & Kirkus review for the other) seems to help both books.
I also tweet “for the libraries that acquired my books” with hashtags of their respective cities, telling their patrons that they can borrow my books at their library.
Doing this might (?!?) help too.

Additional info: Oops, I forgot to mention - if you receive a positive review from Kirkus (like my book did) it does NOT mean that the review will be featured in their magazine because they feature only 40 reviews per issue. But, in my case, my review was featured in the magazine they send out to libraries.

message 40: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4334 comments Mod
Steven wrote: "Interesting note: ..."

Interesting note: links are against the rules.

message 41: by Steven (new)

Steven Nedeau | 28 comments Dwayne wrote: "Steven wrote: "Interesting note: ..."

Interesting note: links are against the rules."

Oh, sorry about that. I just thought it was an interesting fact about the library. Thanks for reminding me. :)

message 42: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments This has been one of my biggest puzzles I can't figure out. I once went to my local library and they said they cannot accept books as part of a non-profit deal. I have always thought about donating them but I feel like as a place that allows people to take out books that they should ask to buy them, ask me themselves to donate them or accept me as a local author.

message 43: by Kay (new)

Kay (kay_spencer) | 10 comments Interesting. I was just in my local library this weekend and one of the librarians overheard me telling a neighbor about my book release. She asked for my information and said they supported indie writers and asked for a copy of my book. She also mentioned book clubs.

message 44: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments Lucky. My library is very strange when it comes to indie or local authors. I need to try to attend more events and let them know who I am.

message 45: by Frank (new)

Frank Prem (frankprem) | 6 comments My understanding is that Libraries can take indie books provided they have an ISBN, plus, they need to buy through a publisher - which I imagine most indie authors are, or can be.

Other than that, the book has to be prepared to an industry standard, or why would they bother, right?

message 46: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 61 comments I'm pretty sure Frank is right and that most libraries would be wary of anything without an ISBN that they couldn't order through the standard wholesalers.

If your book does have one, though, they might. In the UK, municipal libraries sometimes order books if a member asks them to; they may make a small charge for this, but the charge can be a lot less than the cover price, and once you return the book to the library other people can read it. I remember a friend requested one of my books from her local branch and they got it for her for a charge of 50 pence, about 40 cents (the paperback cover price is just under £12).

message 47: by Kay (new)

Kay (kay_spencer) | 10 comments To follow up on my original comment re libraries: I followed up with the librarian mentioned above and she didn't even remember talking to me. This spurred a conversation in which every librarian in the place gathered to comment on how the library did or did not work with local writers. In the end it was determined that a published eBook was not sufficient, an author must have a print edition for sale, too. I asked how feasible this was in an ever-growing ePub world. The only exception, they said, was for "important" authors - ie not me. Not yet. I smiled and thanked them with that in mind.

message 48: by James (new)

James Aura (jamesaura) | 22 comments It really helps if you get to know library staff. But there is no rhyme or reason, overall.
Libraries in Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia carry my books, but my home library system does not. Go figure. I know staff members, or active patrons at all those libraries, but it all depends on library policy.

message 49: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Beverly (writesistah) | 54 comments I donated several copies of the paperback versions of my books to a few of my local libraries.

message 50: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments My local library is run by a local well-known author. Trying to get anything done at it without her strict permission is like trying to save Megara from the UnderWorld in Hercules.

Impossible unless you're a DemiGod. Very strict and you have to jump through a lot of hoops to please her.

(we were no longer allowed to hold local author meet ups at the library unless she was available to attend every one of them).

BUT! There are a few libraries in Texas (my homestate) that have several of my books in house. My grandma tried to borrow my book and was put on a wait-list 10 people deep! The library ended up ordering a second copy to keep up with demand.

It all depends on the local library and their rules on the matters. I can't get my local library to carry my stuff because I don't want to bow and scrape to the author running things just to get considered. And I don't want to have to attend every writers meeting she holds in order to meet one of her requirements. You'd think she'd be willing to help another local author.

I say, call and ask the library to see what their standards are. If they won't work with you, try the independent bookstores in the area. I plan to get gussied up and visit my local Christian Bookstore for one of my books and see if we can arrange a book signing.

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