How to Get Your Self-Published Book into Libraries

Getting your book into libraries (public, school, academic and/or specialized, such as corporate, government or military) can be beneficial for you as an author and self-publisher. Having your book in libraries allows wider access to readers since more people have the opportunity to read your book.

Libraries make purchasing decisions based on the following criteria:

  • The book has been carefully and thoroughly copyedited by a professional editor.
  • The book has been bound and covered in such a way that it will hold up to multiple circulations. Libraries prefer to purchase hardcover books.
  • The text has been appropriately formatted for easy readability.
  • The author's professional and/or educational credentials verify him or her as an authority on the topic, and are clearly stated.
  • The book includes an index.
  • Proper citations are included for any works referenced, and all photos and/or illustrations are printed with permission.
  • The book has been professionally reviewed (and received positive reviews).
  • The book’s content is relevant to the library’s collection and will be of interest to the library's patrons.
  • Special consideration may be given to local authors or subjects.

Most libraries purchase books from vendors, not directly from publishers. One of the largest vendors is Baker & Taylor, which supplies print books, eBooks and audiobooks. Two popular online libraries are Overdrive and Hoopla, which make eBooks and audiobooks available.

While Overdrive and Hoopla provide an application process for publishers to add content to their platforms, it’s easier to get your book into libraries by working with a distributor or aggregator, such as IngramSpark or BookBaby for print and eBooks, and Author's Republic, Findaway Voices or ListenUp for audiobooks.

See the Ink & Cinema article "How to Release Your Self-Published Book via the Top Distributors and Aggregators" for additional information on working with a distributor and aggregator.


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