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Marketing indie books to libraries

Take steps to make sure your indie book ends up in the card catalog.

indie books in librariesWhen up-and-coming authors release new books, they usually want to donate copies to local libraries. This is a generous gesture for those who can afford to do it, but writers may not realize that marketing indie books to local and regional libraries – and potentially to others throughout the country – is possible. Library systems regularly seek new books on diverse topics and are an ideal source of current and future readers. While selling to libraries poses some unique challenges, these tips can make the process more rewarding.


Make your book database-friendly.

“Libraries are government agencies, and that often means cumbersome purchasing procedures,” says Laura Lent, chief of collections and technical services at the San Francisco Public Library. If your book is available through a third-party distributor such as Ingram or Baker & Taylor, it will be easier for an institution to buy than one sold only from an author or publisher. Ebooks are more likely to be considered if they can be made available through library platforms such as OverDrive or Axis 360. Afterward, the library needs to create a machine-readable cataloging – MARC – record for the book, which can then be cross-referenced by a larger database such as WorldCat. An ISBN number makes all these things possible. Make sure your book has one.

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Originally Published