Libraries: A Neglected Market By Rickey E. Pittman

Libraries: A Neglected Market By Rickey E. Pittman

There are approximately 120,000 libraries of various types in the United States. These libraries employ nearly 140,000 librarians. Libraries and librarians play a significant and influential role in our society. More significantly, authors need to know that libraries spend billions each year purchasing books. Why shouldn’t your book be one of these?

If you can think in percentages, think how much money you could make if you could only reach 10% of those 120,000 libraries! (And I think an even greater percentage is possible.) Think of the exposure your book will receive when a library purchases it. Think of the devoted readers you could influence or attract. Think of the many readers who would enjoy or be helped by reading your book.

Some authors expect others to get their books into libraries for them. This doesn’t always happen, even in the traditional publishing world. I haven’t been able to detect an emphasis or strategy in the traditional publishing world that aggressively targets libraries as a market. This reveals another clear advantage the POD author has over those who utilize traditional publishing: We can target libraries more effectively and aggressively than those who use many of the traditional publishers.

As a POD author, I know that I must market my book. I have learned that this is hard work. Yet, I also know that many authors who use traditional publishers learn the hard way that they, too, must promote their work. At first, their hopes of success are high. They count on the publisher to push their work but are usually disappointed when they discover that their books are only lines in a catalogue and that virtually no advertising or promotion is supplied to help them make sales.

So, without promotion and publicity, the books of these trusting and hopeful authors sit idly in warehouses with limited distribution, while the well-known writers who are already making the big bucks rack up sales due to the advertising dollars poured into purchasing display space, visibility, and media-hype. Eventually, their books are consigned to the purgatory of remains or discount hell.

Authors should remember that, although ten percent of the publishing world’s business comes from sales to libraries, one’s books are not added to libraries automatically. Few authors’ books will find their way onto library shelves by accident or through serendipity.

Now is the time to plan your strategy for reaching this potentially lucrative market.

Rickey E. Pittman is the author of How to Market Your Book to Libraries. Read more at:

Rickey’s personal website is here: