Is having their books in libraries a good idea for authors?

United States
August 9, 2017 1:54pm CST
I am a self-published author. I thought it would be great if my books made it into the library, but from what I found out, our libraries in NYC do not accept self-published books. Wonder why that is? But it also got me thinking... While it may be good exposure for an author when his/her books are in the library, it is also not a good idea. Why? Because if readers can get that author's books for free by going to the library, they are not going to go to the store to buy them. As a result, that author will lose out on lots of sales and hence money in his/her pocket. And for authors who don't sell in the millions or even in the thousands that is a big deal. So, maybe it's a good thing that I can't get my books into the library... Not like my book sales made me rich or will make me rich anytime soon though.
9 people like this
11 responses
@topffer (30744)
• France
9 Aug
Not true, at least in EU countries : there are some author's rights distributed to authors and editors each time somebody reads a book in a public library, and it is a lot more interesting for an author than to sell a book, because this money is shared 50/50 between the author and the editor, while an average contract gives 8% to the author for a book sold.
5 people like this
• United States
9 Aug
Interesting info. I wonder if authors in the US get anything for their books being read in the library.
3 people like this
@sharon6345 (102212)
• United States
9 Aug
That is one reason I would not want one of mine there.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Aug
You've published books?
@dramagirl26 (3438)
• Ringgold, Virginia
9 Aug
You make a good point. I've heard that it was important for authors to get their books into libraries, but also heard it's hard to do it and may not be beneficial.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Aug
To get a book into the library it needs to be registered with the Library of Congress and have a Library of Congress number. I am not even sure how that's done. From the standpoint of making money having the book in the library may not be the best idea, but in terms of having more readers then having a book in the library is great because those that can't afford to buy books can still read what you've written; of course if they come upon the book and are interested in it.
1 person likes this
• Ringgold, Virginia
13 Aug
@lovebuglena I'm not sure how the Library of Congress process is done either.
@Marty1 (26890)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
9 Aug
Wonder why they don't have self-published books. You can also look at it another way. It could be good to have the first in the library as people will read it and want to read more from the author and go out and buy other books by the author
2 people like this
• United States
9 Aug
Perhaps they assume self-published books are bad quality. But that is not necessarily true. Not all self-published books are bad.
1 person likes this
@Marty1 (26890)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
9 Aug
@lovebuglena Not at all! Most self-published books are probably good like yours! i never knew about them not having that kind of published books. Hopefully, they will realize that self-published books can be great. I once read of a woman who sold a book to kindle than a famous brand name publisher worker read it (forget which publisher ), and they published her book and gave her a contract! I do not remember her name though? the point is this may happen to you some day! What kind of books do you write?
@nomus24g (16480)
• India
9 Aug
Your analogy is incorrect...even if a library stocks your book, not every member would want to read your book (not because of you as an author, but readers are very genre specific)...so that way a book in library doesnt affect sales in anyway...rather if your book is available in library & some reader happens to like the style of writing, he/she will talk about it in his/her circle (which not necessarily have to be library member)...in that way your popularity spreads like a wildfire...
2 people like this
• United States
9 Aug
Yes, you are right in saying that not everyone would want to read my books. But I wasn't just talking about my books, but books in general. If people can read books for free why would they spend money on them, especially in today's economy when it's expensive to live? They will keep borrowing from the library and the author will keep losing money, no matter how big or small the amount may be. If a book is not in the library then people have no choice but to buy the book, if they really want to read it. Unless they borrow from a friend who may happen to have it already.
@nomus24g (16480)
• India
9 Aug
@lovebuglena by that logic....how are Restaurants surviving inspite of the fact that, every household has a kitchen to cook their own food (even with or without a help) ???
@Corbin5 (82069)
• United States
9 Aug
Yes, I do suppose if one can read a self-published book free of charge, then the author who self-publishes will lose money.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Aug
That is what I think happens but maybe I am wrong.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Aug
I guess it makes sense from a financial standpoint that the author (such as yourself) wouldn't make any money if the book was free at the library.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Aug
I'd still make money from those who'd buy the book but I would miss out on making money from those that borrow from the library.
• Richfield, Utah
9 Aug
From a librarians perspective, I would say why not have your self published book in the library ? Even if you only make just the one sale, if nothing else, it gives you exposure, and depending on the market, maybe a demand to write more books. But on the other hand, it also depends on the market and demographics as well
2 people like this
@KristenH (20496)
• Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
9 Aug
I have no idea. Yes it would be good exposure, just like doing giveaways online or at the bookstore. Maybe you need to establish your brand. When I hopefully get published (say in a year or two when I land an agent and pub deal), I would love to have my own books at my local library and give away copies to my local writing group too.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Aug
Why don't you want to publish the book yourself? All of my books, except one, are poetry/lyric ones, though some have prose as well. If I tried find a traditional publisher to publish my books with, who knows if I would actually have as many books published, if at all. So, I am glad I went the self-publishing route. And the only money I spend was on proof copies, so I didn't empty my wallet to get published. I do wish that my sales were much higher though. But going with a traditional publisher doesn't guarantee that. And I hear the marketing still falls on the author. So, why bother trying to get someone to want to publish your book when you can do it yourself.
1 person likes this
@KristenH (20496)
• Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
10 Aug
@lovebuglena Well, because it's a lot of hard to do myself, like promoting. I rather have an agent to help me with the legal stuff. I'm this close (about 85%) away from landing an agent this month. I do have interest from other agents (and a few small pubs), and that's what counts and matters to me. Most publishers and agents don't want poetry. An agent can help you land a pub deal, deal with electronic and movie/film rights, etc.
• United States
10 Aug
@KristenH good luck!!! Hope it works out for you.
1 person likes this
9 Aug
Yeah. It can be something inspiring.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Aug
What are you referring to when you say "It can be something inspiring"?
@marguicha (81881)
• Chile
12 Aug
Maybe libraries in NYC shold have a say on what they accept and what they donĀ“t. NYC must have lots of authors and not all of them are good.