Frequently Asked Questions from Authors and Publishers
Q. I've just written/published a book. How do I get it into libraries? Doesn't ALA tell libraries what books to get? Doesn't ALA distribute books to all the libraries?
A. Please be aware that individual libraries are responsible for their own book purchases and collections. Books are chosen according to the collection development policy of the library, which can call for a title to have been reviewed in an established book review periodical, like ALA's Booklist (see more below).
- There is no one that chooses and distributes books to all libraries -- and that includes ALA.
- Libraries usually purchase their books through such distributors as Baker & Taylor, Ingram Book Services, Emery-Pratt Company, and other book suppliers and wholesalers.
- At best, as mentioned above, ALA can review your book in its review magazine, Booklist. Please see Submitting Review Material to Booklist, which provides submission guidelines and contact information.
- For more information on telling libraries about your book, first access ALA Library Fact Sheet 5, Marketing to Libraries, which lists strategies for informing the library community about your product or service, especially books and getting reviews in the major library book review periodicals, and:
- Advertising in ALA periodicals and on the ALA website
- Exhibiting/Arrange to Have Your Book Displayed at a Trade Show including ALA's Midwinter Meeting and the summer ALA Annual Conference
- Then access the ALA Library Fact Sheet 3, Lists of Libraries, which lists companies and groups that sell library mailing lists, mailing labels and library email addresses, including a link to ALA Mail List Rental.
- You might also want to contact book distributors directly to see if they would be interested in having your book available for libraries to purchase. You can find directories of library vendors, including lists of book distributors and wholesalers, on the ALA Library Fact Sheet 9, Library Products, Services and Consultants.
If you are a publisher wishing to donate books to libraries, please see ALA Library Fact Sheet 12, Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs for groups and organizations that accept and distribute book donations to libraries and other recipients, as ALA does not provide this service.