Getting Your Book into Canadian Libraries

As an author, getting your book into public and university libraries is a great way to increase exposure and reach more readers in Canada. However, libraries have limited budgets and space, so they can only acquire a small fraction of published books. The key is to make it easy for libraries to select your book. Here are some tips to improve your chances:

Make your book discoverable. First, your book needs to be discoverable by libraries. Ensure that it has an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), which will allow it to appear in databases that libraries use to source new books. Also, get your book listed with the National Library of Canada and major Canadian distributors like University of Toronto Press and Brunswick Books. Having wider availability and accessibility through distributors will make libraries more inclined to acquire your book.

Target the right libraries. Rather than mass mailing every library in Canada, identify libraries that are most likely to be interested in your book’s topic and subject matter. University libraries are often receptive to books from local authors or on topics related to regional interests. Public libraries may be interested if the book appeals to their community demographics. Do some research to find potential matches.

Provide marketing materials. Create professional marketing materials that highlight how your book will interest readers and fit the library’s collection. Include a cover letter, book summary, author bio, reviews, table of contents, and sample chapters or excerpts. The materials will allow librarians to quickly evaluate the relevance and quality of your book. Keep all information concise while conveying the key selling points.

Offer discounts and donations. Libraries often appreciate opportunities to save money or receive free resources. You may want to offer a library discount off the retail price of your book or donate copies for circulation. Donated books that the library accepts will expose new readers to your work immediately. However, keep in mind that not all libraries will guarantee they will add donated books to their collection, so check their policy first.

Follow up and build relationships. After sending your marketing materials, follow up with a phone call or email to confirm that the library received everything and ask if they have any questions. Be open to speaking with collection managers or subject librarians to discuss your book further. Building ongoing relationships with libraries can lead to more acquisitions of your future books over the long run.

Getting into libraries requires time, research, and persistence. But with high-quality books that meet community interests, professional marketing materials tailored for libraries, special offers, and relationship building, you can convince libraries to invest in your book. With hard work and the right strategy, authors absolutely can get their books into the hands of readers at libraries across Canada. Keep trying and don’t get discouraged easily!

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