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Libraries — The “Perfect” Customer

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Regardless of whether you are working with a large publisher or a small
press, every author should know that to make their book successful (that is,
to sell a LOT of books) requires a continued involvement in the promotion and
marketing of the book. Your distributor will probably take care of”traditional” bookstore sales (to the big chains like B&N, Borders, etc.),
but major sales are possible through “nontraditional” outlets such as
seminars, the Internet, book clubs, direct mail, small specialty catalogs,
and libraries.

Don’t overlook libraries as a wonderful customer for your books. They
purchase a lot of books and there are some good reasons why you should
consider them carefully in your personal marketing efforts:

  1. They usually pay full cover price.
  2. They never return books (unlike most bookstores and distributors).
  3. They frequently purchase subsequent printings and almost always new editions.
  4. They are excellent credit risks … they always pay.
  5. They provide “advertising” for your book in the form of displays at no cost to you.
  6. As your book gets checked out and discussed, word of mouth will sell more books.

Selling to libraries is a little different than other sales you may pursue
and here are some ideas to consider that will assist in increasing the
probability of library sales:

1) Ensure your book has complete CIP (Cataloging in Process) data. This is
VERY important and should be included in your book. This data is used by
library systems to properly catalog your book within the library system.

If you are a small publisher, it is doubtful that you can obtain this data
from the Library of Congress (where the big publishing houses go), but the
major library distributors provide this service to small publishers. As one
example, contact Quality Books, Inc., 1003 W. Pines Road, Oregon, IL 61061;
815/732-4450, and ask them for their CIP form. You will need to furnish
title, subtitle, ISBN and LCCN numbers, publisher information, and genre.

Cost varies depending on turnaround time but ranges from $30 to $75 per
title. Remember, this data is absolutely mandatory for library sales.

2) Make certain that the back cover of your book contains the proper
category such as “Psychology,””Self-help,””Small Business,” etc.
This is
not as important for libraries as bookstores but it is a good idea to include
it anyway.

3) Your book should be sent to certain important library reviewers PRIOR to
(normally three to four months ahead). The most important
reviewers to include are the following:

Library Journal

Book Review Editor

249 West 17th Street

New York, NY 10011

212/463-6816Booklist (American Library Association)

50 East Huron Street,

Chicago, IL 60611


Publishers Weekly

249 West 17th Street

New York, NY 10011


Kirkus Reviews

200 Park Avenue South

New York, NY 10003-1543

212/777 4554

Quality Books, Inc.

1003 W. Pines Road

Oregon, IL 61061

815/732 4450

Unique Books, Inc.

4230 Grove Avenue

Gurnee, IL 60031

800/533 5446

It is always a good idea to write or call first and request their current
submission guidelines.

Quality and Unique are two of the largest library distributors in the
country. If they elect to carry your book, you have the potential of selling
a considerable number of books. Of course, books sold to these folks include
a deep discount whereas direct sales gain you 100% of the cover price.

4) Consider joining PMA (the Publishers Marketing Association) to take
advantage of their periodic mass mailings to public libraries.
For details,
contact PMA at 627 Aviation Way, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; 310/372-2732.pmaonline@aol.com is the e-mail address.

5) Lastly, when shipping all those books to libraries, don’t forget to take
advantage of the US Post Office “Library Mail” rate
which is lower than”Special Standard Mail” known as “book rate.”

Follow these few guidelines and watch sales increase.

Good luck!

Robert Sullivan is the author of The Small Business Start-Up Guide, andUnited States Government – New Customer! He frequently lectures on starting
small businesses and has appeared on CNBC’s Minding Your Business as a small
business expert. His books may be ordered toll-free by calling 800/375 8439.

Robert also developed and maintains an extensive award-winning Internet
website at http://www.isquare.com called The Small Business Advisor.

This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor March, 1997, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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