Publishers discover the top tips to get into libraries

Independent publishers met library suppliers to discover how best to get their titles into Australian libraries.

An initiative of the APA’s Independent Publishers Committee, the Getting indie books into public libraries event on 24 March provided an online panel discussion followed by networking with Australian library suppliers.

The event kicked off with an online Q&A featuring representatives from Australia’s three major public library suppliers, offering insights into this important area of promotion for publishers. 

On the panel were Sarah Phillpot – General Manager at James Bennett, Brydie Genrich – Account Manager at PeterPal, and Simon Woodley – General Manager at ALS, with moderation by writer and academic Bec Kavanagh. 

Across a wide ranging conversation, the panel covered the role of library suppliers, their procurement processes, and library acquisition trends. They also offered advice on how indie publishers could get their titles in front of suppliers and libraries, with emphasis on the importance of quality metadata. 

Top tips for publishers

Among the advice offered by the panel, some of the top tips for publishers in reaching libraries included the following:

Metadata matters

  • The more metadata supplied the better, as libraries often have different budget lines across very specific categories.
  • Library suppliers prefer metadata as an ONIX file. However, all three suppliers have pages on their websites to enter data manually as well.

Latest trends

  • Current growth trends are in travel books, self-help and cookbooks in nonfiction, alongside graphic novels in junior and middle grade (keep an eye out for this year’s Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship, which will look at the growth of graphic novels and how we can support this locally).

Make local connections

  • If you’ve got a book set locally, it’s worth introducing yourself and the book to the local library (as well as the library suppliers).  Let the library know that your book is available through the suppliers, and any possibility of events.

Further networking opportunities

  • Attending the ALIA and BookPeople conferences are the best places to network with library suppliers.

A 'very useful' event

The event was attended by 23 staff from 19 independent publishing companies, and following the panel attendees could participate in one-on-one networking sessions with the library suppliers.

The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. Black Inc general manager Elisabeth Young described the event as ‘fantastic and very useful’, saying:

‘The panellists were very generous with their time and knowledge, and it was positive to hear about the ways publishers can collaborate with the library suppliers more to champion books and authors’.

Relive the panel

To learn more about their advice for publishers, APA members can view a recording of the Q&A panel here.