Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How To Keep Your Book In the Library: Part Two

As promised, here is the second part to my earlier post, “Terriers of the Information World.” Once again, a huge thank you to Monique Flasch, Susan Gibberman, Marlene Leonardi and Patricia Ruocco for being so generous and gracious with their advice and suggestions.

In a nutshell, keeping your book on a library shelf boils down to practicalities. Libraries only have so much space!

Of course each library has its own criteria before removing a title from the collection but on the whole it depends on the following:
  • The general size of the collection
  • The amount of available space in the relevant section
  • Patron usage of the collection
  • The condition of the item—was it dropped in the bath? Chewed by the dog?
  • If the title is still in print
  • The purchase price of another copy
  • Is the book (or series) a paperback original? Librarians are more likely to weed paperbacks as opposed to hardcover or large print
  • The Mission statement of the library

However, there are some tricks to making your book seem more “attractive.” Ask your friends and family members to check it out or even check it/them out yourself! Librarians say they don’t look at who checked the book out last … they look at when it last circulated.

Another incentive is if the author has a new book coming out—especially in the case of an ongoing series. Librarians will often keep a run of a series together rather than a stand-alone.

Authors can also make themselves available for panel presentations where often, the library will either arrange with a local bookseller to sell the author’s books. Joining forces with other authors is also a good idea since patrons are more likely to come and see a group of authors rather than one “unknown.”

Then … there is the tricky subject of an honorarium. I know that some authors balk at agreeing to do library appearances without some kind of compensation—possibly because very few books are usually sold. Hey! It’s a library, folks!

Frankly, I’m a huge supporter of libraries and if I do get a few copies of my book sold that’s money for jam. I’m also a great believer in library-karma … what goes around, comes around and in my experience, I’ve had the most wonderful invitations to speak at charity luncheons and book clubs that all started with a library panel. Sisters in Crime have strong relationships with libraries. So if you aren't already a member, sign up! 

And finally … as bricks and mortar bookstores continue to disappear, thank heavens for libraries! We’re lucky to have them so please, at the very least, join your local Friends of the Library.

1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

Hannah, thanks for the part 2. I'm saving both of these posts. I don't think people realize how important it is to keep our books checked out.