Now Is the Perfect Time for Indie Authors to Focus on Libraries

Ran Walker
2 min readJun 13, 2020
Image used courtesy of
Priscilla Du Preez via

As we grapple with the impact of Covid19, many readers are tightening their purse strings, choosing to focus their resources on basic necessities, rather than the luxury of buying new books. As a result, we are seeing numerous traditionally-published authors launching books that are met with hardly a glance, many of them with little in the way of marketing support since most bookstores are closed for the foreseeable future.

Many traditional publishers have built their economic models almost entirely around bookstores and online sales. There is, however, another option for selling books, an option worth strongly considering if you are an indie author: public libraries. In fact, rather than spend all of your time and resources targeting individual readers, it might prove wise at this point to target public libraries.

First, libraries don’t cost readers anything more than the cost of a library card (and in many places library cards are free). People can still have access to your books and read them, even if their financial resources are earmarked for other essentials. As long as there are people reading and engaging with your book, there will be reviews and word of mouth working for you and your overall author brand.

Next, librarians are showing greater interest in local authors. This is evident in the explosive growth of the Indie Author Project, a program launched to help state librarians curate books by indie authors in their states. Having the support of librarians also helps to stimulate word of mouth with your book. I would venture to say a librarian’s endorsement of a book might ring louder than that of a book sales associate at a book chain.

Another good thing about libraries is that they have budgets to purchase books. This is not to say that you should price your book in a way that seeks to exploit this; it is merely to say that there are institutions where buying books is a part of their budgets — something not to be dismissed when many readers are cutting back on book purchases. And for those of you who have sold books to bookstores but the books were returned to your chagrin, libraries don’t typically return books.

So as we continue to socially distance ourselves and wait out the storm, consider reaching out to your local library. There might be an opportunity there for you that could pay off major dividends.