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Your Book In Libraries Worldwide Quick And Easy Guide

Your Book in Libraries Worldwide Quick and Easy Guide

All ALLi members can download the ALLi guidebook publications for free in the member area (once you've logged in) over at www.allianceindependentauthors.org. Recently, we've published a number of Quick and Easy Guides alongside the guidebooks. Today we've taken an extract from the ‘Your Book in Libraries Worldwide' guide.

Your Book in Libraries Worldwide

The following is from chapter 2 in Your Book in Libraries Worldwide by the Alliance of Independent Authors publications team.
Libraries don’t buy directly from publishers or authors, but from distributors. So your first step is to get your book into a library vendor catalog, by uploading your titles to the right book distributor.
Unlike bookstores, where purchases are often dictated by a head office, most libraries operate independently of each other. Each library operates its own policy, ordering stock from catalogues or by its chosen book supplier based on its community profile. And each has its own budget to spend as it wants, within broad parameters.

There Are Four Kinds of Library

There are four kinds of library: public, academic, school, and special. Each has a different purpose and orders different types of books as follows:
  1. Public: Government-funded local and national libraries serve the general public.
  2. Academic: The college and university library market, although smaller, usually has more money than the public sector to spend on books.
  3. School: With smaller budgets than public or academic libraries, school libraries are important for children’s or YA (young adult) writers. In the US, there are only two wholesalers selling into the school market. They sell library binding (heavy bound) books that hold up to the often rough treatment from school kids. If you’re serious about selling to the school library market, you’ll need to partner with and pay one of these two wholesalers for the coding and library binding system.
  4. Special: Corporate libraries, usually privately run, are devoted to specific purposes, such as medical or law, with budgets from tiny to huge—significant for niche writers.

Distribution to Libraries

It’s easy to obtain a list of libraries through your local, regional, or national library association.  The next task is to understand which distributor supplies their books. Here is a list of the most important distributors of books to libraries, globally.
  • Overdrive for eBooks, audiobooks, and videos is the world’s largest library eBook platform, offering a procurement and checkout system for over 40,000 public libraries and schools around the world. Baker & Taylor, now owned by Follett, one of the largest distributors of both digital and print books worldwide to thousands of libraries, publishers and retailers.
  • Bibliotheca Bibliotheca’s digital lending platform, used by more than 30,000 libraries around the world, is called cloudLibrary. eBooks are supplied through distributors and publishing platforms. There is minimal curation, mostly for technical aspects.
  • James Bennett, library vendor in the Australasian marketplace.
  • Gardners in the UK, a wholesaler of books, eBooks, music, and film to retailers around the world.

How to Distribute to Libraries

So how do you get your books distributed by these companies and organizations? Indie authors use platforms like Smashwords, PublishDrive, or Draft2Digital to list their books on the library databases from which librarians decide which titles to acquire.
Here are the most library-friendly distributors with global reach which you can access directly as an author-publisher.
  • Draft2Digital, distributing eBooks via partnerships with Overdrive and Hoopla
  • Findaway Voices’ distributing audiobooks to retail and library distribution partners globally.
  • IngramSpark, distributes to more than 39,000 retailers and libraries for print and eBooks.
  • Kobo Writing Life is a sister company to OverDrive, the largest distributor of ebooks to libraries
  • Self-e Library Journal offering access mainly to US libraries, via its PatronsFirst delivery platform. Until recently Self-e was a free platform but is now exploring a paid model.
ALLi Watchdog John Doppler considers these library access services in more detail in Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Services and Companies (which, like this guide to libraries and all our guidebooks and contract advice, is free to members of ALLi).
In that book he says:

“It’s important for authors to recognize that these  services are not like for like. They offer different options depending on territory, career priorities, and marketing strategy. Authors must have a clear sense of what they hope to achieve from their book’s availability in a library system and choose accordingly.” John Doppler, Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Services and Companies

There are different distributors in different countries and a little research should uncover the information you need. For example, in Australia ALS Library Services supports authors in submitting books for possible inclusion in their monthly promotional listings to libraries. Many libraries work with multiple vendor partners, and ALLi’s “go wide” best-practice advice applies to the library distributors as well: list your book widely, with as many  outlets as possible. If you have time to do only one, Kobo Writing Life’s arrangement with Overdrive gives wide access and the highest rates for a single-second the click of a button.
OverDrive is Kobo’s sister company, so you the exact rate you would get if you had a direct OverDrive account, (50% of your library list price), but without the added hassle of managing two separate accounts or any aggregator royalty cut.
  • Log in using your member details.
  • Navigate to the ‘ADVICE' menu and ‘QUICK AND EASY GUIDES'.
  • There you'll be able to download the full guide.
Learn how to work with libraries and distribute your books worldwide #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #amwriting #writingcommunity #writetip Click To Tweet


Have you got your book in libraries? Have you had success working with libraries?

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This Post Has 4 Comments
    1. Hi Peter – I’m pleased to confirm that the download link for this guide is now correct. Warm Regards, Kayleigh @ ALLi

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