The Biggest Book Market in the US

The biggest book market is hidden — in plain sight!

The biggest market for books in the US is bigger than all of our brick and mortar bookstores. It’s bigger than Amazon.com and any other online bookstores too.

The biggest market in the United States is not Amazon or brick-and-mortar bookstores: it’s libraries!

Getting your book into libraries doesn’t “just happen”. Libraries have distribution companies that serve only them. Publishers are hooked into this distribution network, and this is how they sell to libraries. Yet, even if you have a publisher, you can still sell far more books than your publisher can by doing your own marketing to libraries.

If you are a self-publisher and you want to make a lot of sales in the biggest book market, you must actively market your book to librarians.

If you want to sell to libraries, it doesn’t matter what kind of book you have. It doesn’t matter what format it is in, whether you have a publisher or not, or who you are writing for.

What does matter is that you understand how the library book-buying system works.

Four different library markets

The library market isn’t monolithic. Each one of the four kinds of libraries; academic; public, school, and special, have different purposes. And they buy different kinds of books. In fact every library is unique in some way. This is why I can say there is a library out there somewhere that will buy your book. You just need to know how to find it and how to sell to it.

This is what my new book, Marketing Your Book to Libraries can teach you to do for any library in the United States.

The largest library market is school libraries (grades K-12). There are almost 100,000 school libraries in this country. So, while there are children’s sections within public libraries, this is a much smaller market – about 10,000 of them. Although public school libraries are the largest in terms of numbers, they aren’t largest in terms of size.

The budgets of academic libraries and public libraries are much larger than those of the typical school library. Only the New York Public library has a larger book collection than Harvard’s, and Harvard is the largest academic library system in the world. In addition, if you are writing for the adult library book market, keep in mind that the college and university library market, even though relatively smaller in number at around 4,000, has relatively more money to spend on books.

Lastly, there is the special library market. This market numbers around 8,500. It includes all kinds of libraries devoted to specific purposes. And it can be subdivided into categories such as medical libraries, law libraries, corporate libraries, non-profit libraries, and government libraries. Librarians at these special libraries often take extra training in school in order to work in these kinds of libraries. Law librarians, for example are usually required to have a law degree as well as a library of science degree.

Special library budgets range from miniscule to huge. Special libraries buy books to support the mission of the institution they serve. If you have a niche book, this is where you might begin to sell it to libraries! Once you’ve made initial sales to a few libraries, it is much easier to sell to other libraries, even to different kinds of libraries.

Want to learn more about how to sell your books to libraries? Click here!

Keep on selling long after your book is done

Librarians do not just buy new books. Unlike bookstores, where a new book is usually sent back to the publisher or author within months, librarians seek out and keep books of use to their library’s patrons.

In my new book, I have two sections about how to market your book to special collections within all kinds of libraries by using a targeted direct-marketing campaign. If you have a niche book you think would not sell to a library, think again! If you have an older book you think no library would buy, think again! In fact, almost any book can be sold to a library!

You can sell to libraries.

This is the bottom line. Even if you’ve written ebook, an audiobook, a video book, a graphic novel, or you put together your print book by yourself, you can market it to libraries. As a self-publisher, you will have some challenges, and I will share with you ways to handle them.

Think self-publishers can’t market to libraries?

Do you suppose you have to wait until your book garners enough sales to get a publisher before librarians will look at your book? Not at all! Librarians will buy self-published books that fit their acquisitions guidelines. I’ll show you how to identify which librarians would be most likely to buy your book and how to get them interested in your book.

Click here to learn more about Marketing Your Book to Libraries: An Insider’s Guide for Authors (and Small Press Publishers)