How do I sell my book to the library?

Washington County Library is often asked to consider adding items to our collection that are independently written and/or published. This can include materials that are self-published or published through micro-niche publishers. There are now more nontraditional titles published than from traditional publishers. The librarians at Washington County Library have no efficient way to evaluate all of these titles to make informed decisions on selection. The best way to bring a title to our attention is through reviews. A positive review in one or more of the library review journals, such as Library Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, or a local Twin Cities newspaper will give your book an improved chance for purchase by Washington County Library (and other public libraries as well). Review sources that specialize in self-published and small press materials include the following: 

  • PW Select, self-published book reviews from Publishers Weekly 
  • ForeWord Reviews, reviews books that are independently published 
  • Midwest Book Review has a monthly Small Bookwatch 
  • Independent Publisher, an online magazine that includes book reviews and resources for small presses and authors. 

The next best method is a fact sheet mailed to the Collection Development Department. Librarians generally have only a few seconds to look over a fact sheet, so it is to your advantage to emphasize the essentials. You should include: 

  • WHAT is the content of the item? This summary should be brief and pithy. 
  • WHY the item is needed at Washington County Library? Here you should include quotations from reviews, or reader/listener testimonials if you have them. If the item has been reviewed, you should also attach a copy of the review. 
  • WHO is the intended audience? Is it intended for adults, young adults, or children? Parents, businesspersons, hobbyists, etc.? 
  • NAME of the author/artist. This should include qualifications, such as experience as a writer, experience in the field, etc. Be sure to mention that you are a local author/artist or publisher, since this is a factor in our decision whether to buy materials. 
  • WHEN, WHERE, etc. the item was published/created. We need all the bibliographic data: date of publication, price, ISBN number (very important), etc. If the book is self-published, please give some indication of its appearance (size, type of binding, etc.). CDs and other audiovisual materials need ID numbers. 
  • HOW can Washington County Library purchase it? Libraries prefer to buy from wholesale vendors, such as Baker and Taylor or Brodart. If the item is listed at Amazon.com make note of this. If the item is only available directly from you, be sure to provide contact information (phone number, address, and email address). 

If your items is added to the collection, be prepared to accept purchase orders, and to wait several weeks for payment. As a public library that focuses on items in popular demand, we select materials whose content is aimed at the general reader/listener rather than for the specialist or practitioner. Also, due to the constant and sometimes careless use by the public, the Library purchases materials that are sturdily packaged. If you send a sample copy to the library, it will not be returned in the event the title is not purchased. We will treat your item as a donation. Washington County Library reserves the right to dispose of unsolicited materials in any manner it deems appropriate. If your book is available as an eBook, please contact our vendors for inclusion in their catalogs. 

Drop in visits to market your book are not encouraged. Due to their busy schedules, it is possible a librarian might not be available to meet with you. If you would like Washington County Library to consider your materials, please send the fact sheet with the professional reviews attached to: 

Attention: Collection Development Department
Washington County Library
8595 Central Park Place
Woodbury, MN 55125

If you are interested in presenting a program in relation to your book, please see our Author or Book Talk page. 

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22. How do I sell my book to the library?
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