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There are so many libraries throughout Australia that stock books published across the world, but how do you get your book into a library? And just as importantly, what is the benefit to you?  

1. Who supplies book to libraries across Australia? 

There are a handful of main suppliers of books to Australian and New Zealand libraries. Some suppliers focus on local or state/territory-specific libraries, while others supply their books nationally. The main library suppliers include: 

    • Australian Library Services (ALS) 
    • James Bennett Pty Ltd 
    • Peter Pal Library Supplier 
    • Westbooks 

But there are a number of smaller suppliers and booksellers that may supply to their local and school libraries. The difference between these smaller suppliers and the big players is that the smaller suppliers don’t always provide as complete of a selection, nor do they necessarily provide services such as covering and cataloguing.  

1.1 Australian Library Services (ALS) 

ALS partners with Australian Public libraries in book acquisition and collection development. The staff at ALS work to bring Australian-based and international publications into both schools in public libraries throughout Australia.  

1.2 James Bennett Pty Ltd 

Like ALS, James Bennett is library supplier that works to make print and digital publications available throughout both Australia and New Zealand. They are known for their print and digital acquisitions as well as their collection services. 

1.3 Peter Pal Library Supplier 

Peter Pal partners with libraries to assist them with meeting the needs of their customers. They provide help for selections, acquiring, cataloguing, processing, and distribution for a wide range of collections. 

1.4 Westbooks 

Westbooks is a Western Australian-based library supplier that provides quality library resources and services. 

1.5 Smaller Suppliers (for schools) 

    • St Georges Bookseller 
    • Network Educational Australia 
    • Endeavour Education 
    • Boomerang Books 

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​2. How many libraries are there in Australia? 

Recent figures indicate that there are around 14,000 libraries across Australia, with New Zealand also hosting 2,500 libraries. This includes a number of different kinds with varying levels of accessibility to difference audiences.

2.1 Public libraries 

These libraries are accessible to the general public, meaning that anyone with a library card can use their services, such as borrowing books. There is a total number of 1,560 public library branches across Australia and New Zealand. 60% of Australian’s regularly use public libraries. 

2.2 State and Territory Reference libraries (including the National Library of Australia) 

There are eight reference libraries across Australia as they are limited to one per State/Territory. These libraries host a number of books and significant artefacts for preservation and future learning. 

2.3 Primary school libraries 

There are 7,000 primary school libraries in Australia. They will stock only books that are relevant to their demographic (Reception through Year 7–8), such as childrens picture books, childrens chapter books, teen fiction, reference books, and some older classics appropriate for the ages and reading levels. (As some schools combine primary and high school, these age-specific books may vary.) 

2.4 High school libraries 

There are 2,300 high school libraries, many of which have one or many dedicated teacher librarians. Like primary schools, high school libraries will have books that are limited to their demographic (Years 8 through 12) but will often include a wider variety of reference books and classics, along with current books aimed at teen, young adult, and new adult readers. (As some schools combine primary and high school, these age-specific books may vary.) 

2.5 TAFE libraries 

There are 200 TAFE libraries throughout Australia, located on TAFE campuses. These libraries are open to staff and students of TAFE and provide them with resources that are relevant to their education and studies. 

2.6 University libraries 

There are 40 library systems available to several university campuses and departmental libraries. Often these libraries include multiple sections, such as a general section containing reference books, textbooks, general reading, and classics and these books are available to all students and staff to borrow. Other sections have limited access and usage and don’t allow for borrowing, instead the students and staff must do their research in a dedicated room and leave the book behind when finished.  

2.7 Joint-use libraries 

There are around 120 libraries that are categorised as ‘joint-use’, most of which are in country areas. A joint-use library is usually located on a school, TAFE campus, or university but is available to both students and the general public.  

2.8 Special libraries 

Throughout Australia, there are approximately 1,200 special libraries. These libraries provide specialised information and resources that centre around a particular subject. Special libraries could cater towards those from a particular company, government department and agency, health, law, association, and parliament.

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​3. What is the point of getting my book into a library? 

Libraries could stock perhaps one or more copies of your book, allowing readers to borrow and lend your book free of cost. So, how does this benefit authors if their books are being read for free? There are a couple of benefits to getting your book into libraries, however. 

Libraries pay for the copy (or copies) of your book up front, but that isn’t where the payments end. Through the Australian Lending Right Schemes (ELR/PLR), Australian authors can receive compensation for every year that your book is in circulation.

Having your book in one or more libraries also increases your visibility, allowing more readers to find, access, and enjoy your book. Many readers often borrow a book from the library before purchasing, meaning that, although they’ve already read your book, they may go out and buy their own copy anyway. These readers could also tell their friends and family about your book, and even rate and review your book on resources such as Goodreads. They become part of your readership and can help positively influence others to give your book a chance, helping again to grow awareness for your book and in turn help give you and your book credibility. Another benefit of growing your readership is that you start to build loyal fans who will be almost guaranteed to buy any other books that you release in the future, helping you to become a self-sustaining author. 

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4. Do libraries stock self-published and small press books? 

While it can be more difficult for self-published and small press authors to get their books into a wide range of distributors and retailers, libraries are generally more flexible and accommodating. They recognise that a small publisher may be more likely to publish a book with relevant and timely topics and themes and appreciate that all authors have the capacity to contribute positively to their collections.  

So, the short answer is yes, libraries do stock self-published and small press books. You just need to make them aware of your book and allow them the chance to choose. 

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5. Do I need to pay to get my book into libraries? 

To register your interest in having your book stocked in libraries it is free. However, registering your interest doesn’t guarantee that your book will be stocked in libraries; this is up to the libraries to decide.  

Even though you don’t technically need to pay, you do need to provide the library or library supplier with a book so they can review it and decide if it is suitable for their collection.  

5.1 Do I need to discount my book? 

You will need to discount your book to a wholesale price (5055% is the typical range). Most suppliers will expect a trade discount to enable the book to be sold to libraries at a discounted price. 

You aren’t technically required to give a discount, but it can affect the chance at sales as the supplier will need to charge the libraries more money for your book.  

5.2 Should I include the cost of postage into the cost? 

If you are supplying the book directly to the library, yes, you will need to include the postage cost. However, if the library will be purchasing direct from your supplier (a Print-on-Demand printer such as IngramSpark or AmazonKDP), they will be dealing directly with the supplier, which means the postage would be included in the order. 

5.3 Should I include an invoice with my books if I receive an order from a Library Supplier? 

Yes, you will need to supply an invoice if a Library Supplier purchases a book from you. They will typically need the following information: 

    • Supplier Name, address, email, phone number, and order number. 
    • Invoice number, date, ABN, and GST status 
    • ISBN, Title, Author, Quantity, RRP, Discount, Unit Cost, Total  
    • Cost of Freight  
    • Payment Details  

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6. What is a Legal Deposit? 

The Legal Deposit is a part of Australian law that ensures the nation’s published “heritage” is collected for the future. This means that one copy of every title published in Australia is required to be given to the National Library under the legal deposit provisions of the Copyright Act (1968).  

Legal deposits apply to the following publications: 

    • Books 
    • Graphic novels, comics, zines 
    • Newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters 
    • Maps 
    • Sheet music 
    • Standalone or annual reports 
    • Government Publications 
    • Websites 

For more information, visit the National Library of Australia website. 

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7. Do libraries prefer certain binding types? 

Libraries will take book in either paperback or hardback formats. However, paperbacks are typically cheaper to stock, so, if you have multiple formats of your book, approaching a library with your paperback version is likely the best strategy.  

They also prefer quality books that are bound well enough to withstand being handled multiple times. Some also do not like wire spiral, coil, or plastic comb bound books as it is hard to place a spine label for classification. Similarly, they may not like large books (above A4) and small books (below A5) due to shelving reasons.  

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8. What else can I do to get my book into a library? 

Marketing is essential to get your book into libraries. If you can show them that you have an established readership and author brand, it will be easier to convince them to stock/distribute your book.  

It is also important to try and have your book reviewed in many places as possible, such as: 

    • Capital city newspapers and The Australian
    • Books+Publishing.
    • ABC Radio (on air interviews even at a local level)

Getting in contact with your local libraries to host author talks and other events is a great way to get in the door, too. You will show them that you’re an author who is active in their community and they may be more likely to help you out by stocking your book.  

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