Publishers should think outside the box

And by box, I mean big-box bookstores. David Vinjamuri’s excellent article explaining why publishers should partner with libraries is a gem of wisdom – and loooong overdue.

Most folks think that libraries don’t market books. Hogwash! As a former public librarian, I can assure you that libraries do a great job of introducing books and authors to readers. How? Well, a few of my favorite ways are:

  • Displays – by subject, by author, by theme, by genre. You name it, we have a display for it.
  • Reading lists – summer reading, read-alikes, genre
  • Book clubs and book discussions
  • Librarian recommendations (heck, I got started on Goodreads because my fellow librarians wanted access to my readers’ advisory skills when I moved!)
  • Serendipity

That last one is known as browsing, and browsing is pretty darn hard to do on Amazon. And funny, a lot of the same books and authors pop up all the time. Not like the experience of skimming the “New Books” display and happening upon something that looks good – or searching the shelves for a particular book and discovering the one next to it is even more helpful or interesting.

Now, many folks think that libraries buy all their books. Some do. Most public libraries get books by a combination of purchasing and leasing. Yes, leasing. How else to have 600 copies of the latest best-seller and still have money to buy books for a vast range of ages and interests? (And let me tell you, librarians are happy to lease. No one wants hundreds of ratty Harry Potters when the tidal wave of popularity sweeps up Percy Jackson instead.)

Obviously, I agree with Mr. Vinjamuri. I just wish publishers did – they could get a lot of bang for their marketing buck by partnering up with libraries.

Speaking of marketing, BookExpo America is coming soon! Here’s a list of “Can’t- Miss Kids’ Galleys that will be there. I hope to scoop up a bunch of advance copies myself!

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