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Marketing to Libraries: Basics

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


Icon of a megaphone with text that reads: Marketing to LibrariesWhile individual libraries or library systems are responsible for their own media purchases and collections, this resource guide provides basic information on marketing to libraries - including an overview of the library market, information on getting your title reviewed, and basic resources on self-publishing. 

Please note: There is no agency that chooses and distributes books and other library resources to all libraries - including the American Library Association. Companies and products listed in this resource guide are named for informational purposes only. ALA does not endorse specific products or companies. Contact companies directly for further information.


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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.