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Marketing to Libraries: Basics

Tips for authors, small publishers, and others who wish to reach the library market.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 5

Companies and products listed in this LibGuide are named for informational purposes only. ALA does not endorse specific products or companies. Contact companies directly for further information.

Please be aware that individual libraries are responsible for their own book purchases and collections. There is no one that chooses and distributes books to all libraries -- and that includes ALA.

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Libraries purchase books for adults, young adults, children, and special readers (emerging literates, large print, braille). They also purchase newspapers and magazines, reference sources, scholarly journals, electronic resources (individual and aggregated online databases, computer software, ebooks and ebook readers), audiovisual materials (DVDs and online streaming video, audiobooks and music recordings in various formats including streaming and digital downloads), and microforms (microfilm and microfiche).

Individual libraries are responsible for their own book purchases and collections. There is no agency that chooses and distributes books and other library resources to all libraries--and that includes the American Library Association. 

Libraries select materials in accordance with their collection development policy, a statement that defines what will be added to the collection to support local interests and needs.  The basics for reaching the market are:

  • Seek to have your publication reviewed
  • Consider working with a distributor
  • Exhibit at library conferences where librarians can review your publication
  • Advertise in library publications
  • Do your own direct mail
  • Collaborate with other authors through an Authors for Libraries membership

Each of these avenues is further explained on the supplementary pages.