How to ask the Library to buy your self-published book

Firstly, congratulations on writing a book!

Next step: contact the Content Development Librarians. The City Library does not accept unsolicited materials, and we do not accept donations, so contact us first and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

We can’t buy everything. As Lemmy from Motorhead often said: where would you put it? Content Development Librarians decide which books to buy, based on the current shape of the collection, the buzz around the book, past performance of an author, and all sorts of other factors. If there’s legitimate demand, we’ll hear about it.

Content Development Librarians are often away from their desks doing various jobs, so be sure to send an email or make an appointment to chat with us. We love talking to local authors!

Please bear in mind that a public library does not hold copies of a book forever. There is a constant rotation of stock, and when your book is removed from the collection, it is purely a practical thing and not a judgement on its quality.

Have a look at our page of advice for authors too – you may find your question already answered on there.

What to put in your email/one-sheet

Kick off with something like “New book from local author”.

Give us a quick blurb – basically the same thing you’d put on the back cover of your book.

Tell us anything unique about it – this might be your “elevator pitch“.

Attach a good quality cover image.

Tell us the price, the release date, the ISBN – all the publication details.

Make sure to include a link to where we can buy the book. Maybe from Wheelers, or a local bookshop.

It’s always good to end by thanking the recipient for their time.

When will you hear back?

Generally, with public libraries, you won’t hear anything back. They’ll either buy your book or not.

After all, you’re the one who will know when your books are sold at shops or through Wheelers, and your email is a sales advertisement not a customer query.

Since there are more and more self-published books every year, the Library receives more and more emails. It might take a few weeks to look at them and make a decision.

If you really need to know so that you can sign up for the Public Lending Right Scheme, you can always check the Library’s catalogue any time.