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Why Every Author Should Market To Libraries

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

KWE Publishing Newsletter - 01/19/23

When authors think about marketing their books, they often think about marketing to local and big-name bookstores. Surprisingly, though, libraries are often overlooked in authors' marketing campaigns!

If you think that no one uses libraries anymore, think again! In 2019, a Gallup poll showed that libraries were visited more commonly than movie theaters. And while in-person visits may have declined since the pandemic, libraries have seen an increase in ebooks and audiobooks being checked out.

So, why exactly should every author be marketing their books to libraries?

Libraries are full of your ideal readers and potential new readers.

This might sound a little obvious to some, but when it comes to marketing, you're generally more likely to make a sale when you have a "warm" market, meaning a group of people who are already interested in similar products (or who are familiar with your products). In this case, libraries are, obviously, full of people who love books!

Marketing to libraries can be especially helpful if you have a series of books; if librarians see that readers are checking out your series, they're likely to buy more copies to have available. Of course, this can also be the case for books that aren't part of a series, too.

However, when you put your book in a library, you're also putting your book in front of people who may not have seen it otherwise at a bookstore, for example. Why? Because libraries are often used for a variety of purposes, including as polling places, for town hall meetings, etc. And if someone is already in a library and your book catches their eye, they're likely to check it out.

Libraries have to spend their money on books—and there are a lot of libraries out there!

It's rare that you find a captive market, but libraries are one of those for authors looking to sell their books.

Libraries everywhere have yearly budgets, and a good chunk of their budgets must be spent on books. Some libraries might break this down by genre, whereas others may have more of a general budget. This money that's allocated to be spent on books generally can't be used for other things, so why not make your book fit into a library's budget?

When compared to bookstores, of which there are a little under 9,900 in the United States, libraries are far more popular with over 117,000 in the United States alone.

Building a relationship with libraries opens the door to new opportunities.

You want to create a relationship with the libraries and the people who work in them as you market your book. As we've already discussed, libraries are full of your ideal readers—so it's smart to market to this demographic.

However, once you've established a relationship with the people who work at a library, you can ask about holding events at the library, such as book signings or readings. These events can further help you reach more of your audience and can boost sales.

You'll also connect with new readers and new people in your community when you hold events at your local library. Again, this can help your credibility as an author when you hold events at a trusted library.

Libraries aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and you can make a huge impact on your local community when you start marketing your book to libraries near you!

What questions do you have about marketing to libraries? Or, what has your experience been working with libraries as an author?

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