Did you know there’s a way you can help your favorite authors sell books, with only a few minutes of your time, without spending a penny?
It’s true! You can request your local public library purchase a book. Libraries love getting requests from patrons, and often fulfill them. They are keenly interested in knowing what their patrons want to read.
Requesting a book for purchase at your library is an excellent way to support authors if you don’t necessarily want to buy a book yourself, can’t afford to buy the book, or if you just want to help spread the word about the book and ensure more people get to read it.
It’s win/win: The author gets paid (libraries often pay more money for books than consumers), and the book becomes available to more people, who may then recommend it to their friends, who may also purchase the book.
You can do this pretty much anytime, though it’s best to do this within a year or two of the book’s release. The only prerequisite is that the book has to be at least available for pre-order.
All you need is internet access and a library card. (Learn how to get a library card.)
Step 1: Find your library’s website.
A good online search term to use would be a combination of your city or county, your state, and the words public library. Including the state in the search term is pretty critical, because there are a lot of similarly-named public library systems. Make sure you find the correct library for your city.
Step 2: Look for the option to “request a book” or “recommend for purchase.”
This is the trickiest part of the process, because every library website puts it in a different place. Here’s where to try looking:
- Look at the library website’s main menu, under “account,” “services,” or “catalog,” to see if there’s a link to request something for purchase.
- Try searching your library’s online catalog for your author’s book. If they already have it – great! If not, there may be a link to recommend the book for purchase there.
- If all else fails, find the library’s contact information, and send them an email asking how you can recommend a book for purchase.
Step 3: Provide the requested information about the book.
You’ll need to provide several bits of information for the library to get the correct book. You’ll also need to provide your library card number and email address, so they know this request is coming from one of their patrons, and not from an enthusiastic author or publisher spamming every library system in the world.
The info they request usually includes the following:
- Book title
- Publication date
- Book category (adult or child fiction/nonfiction, for example)
- Format (audio CD, book, ebook, etc.)
This information is easy to gather from any online bookstore’s listing of the book. Just copy/paste or type it in.
Note that if they decide to purchase it, the library may automatically reserve the book for you to check out when it arrives. If that happens, and you already own a copy or don’t want to read it, simply release the hold by logging into your account on the library’s website. Easy-breezy.
Step 4: Hit “submit” or “send”
Thank you for supporting your favorite authors!
🌈 Guess what? I wrote a book on Queer Qabala, and you can buy it now! 🌈
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