Here’s Why Authors Should Sell and License Their Books to Libraries

By Guest Blogger Amy Collins

What if I told you that Millennials were the most likely group to visit a public library this year?  A new analysis from the Pew Research Center found that 53% of those aged 18-35 have used a library in the last 12 months.

Just to be clear. This is public libraries … not college, university, school or academic libraries. All in all, 46% of adults 18 or over have used a library in the last year.  Pew’s research over the last few years has shown a rising use of libraries and bookmobiles, but this newest study shows that younger adults are even more likely to use a library than older Americans.

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The survey also shows other interesting demographic differences in library use. For instance:

  • Women are more likely than men to say they visited a public library or bookmobile in the past 12 months (54% vs. 39%). And women are similarly more likely to use library websites (37% vs. 24%).
  • College graduates are more likely than those whose education ended with a high school diploma to use libraries or bookmobiles in the past 12 months (56% vs. 40%). And a similar gap applies to use of library websites.
  • Parents of minor children are more likely than non-parents to have used a library in the past 12 months (54% vs. 43%).

So what does this mean to you as an author? Younger readers are more likely to embrace eBooks and use phones and tablets as their main reading venue. Despite traditional publishing’s cries that eBook sales have plateaued or are dropping, they are actually growing dramatically in libraries…and those sales are helping smaller publishers and independent authors find new readers. 

Additionally, libraries—their displays, staff recommendations, spinner racks, websites and events—can promote authors and their books to the most powerful group of book customers out there: avid readers. This group of readers reports visiting libraries and purchasing 9 books a month! And with online retail sites becoming more and more crowded each day, it has become more difficult to reach avid readers there. Libraries present an important new way to reach avid readers.

Finally, library budgets are growing. The most recent American Library Association’s Material’s Survey shows that libraries spend 20% of their budgets on audio books, 19% of their budgets on eBooks, 41% of their budgets on print books and the rest on other materials (magazines, etc.).

So if you’re interested in tapping into this powerful and expanding new marketplace ask yourself:

  • Do you have your book in all of the major formats?
  • Is your book available from at least one of the major library wholesalers?
  • Do you have a plan to get your book into libraries?
  • Do you know which genres do best in libraries?
  • Do you know how to market your books to libraries?
  • Have you been IN a library recently?

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you are in great shape. If not, then join me and Daniel Hall for our Bublish webinar “Sell (and Rent) Your Books to Libraries.” Just click the button below to register and immediately watch the webinar.

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