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Blog«Marketing to Libraries - A Guide for Australian Authors
Marketing to Libraries - A Guide for Australian Authors
14 July 2023
20 May 2024
5.63 minutes

How many libraries are there in Australia?

Approximately 14,000.

New Zealand has about 2,500 libraries.


What types of Australian libraries are there?

  • Local public libraries 530 services with a total of 1560 branches serving the general public ‘cradle to grave’. They are used regularly by 60% of Australians and are accessible to about 99% of them
  • Primary school libraries 7,000, many of which have only a part time teacher librarian. In very small schools there will be no librarian
  • High school libraries 2,300, most of which have one or more qualified teacher librarians. Note: private schools and country public schools may combine primary and secondary on one campus
  • Joint use libraries 120, mostly in country areas. These are mostly public libraries combined with school, technical and further education (TAFE) or university libraries
  • University libraries 40 often very large library systems, many of which have several campus or departmental libraries
  • Technical and Further Education (TAFE) libraries 200 libraries
  • Special libraries 1,200 company, government department and agency, health, law, association, parliamentary libraries
  • State/Territory Reference Libraries and the National Library of Australia 8 large libraries


Who is responsible for selecting books and other resources in libraries?

In smaller libraries such as primary school, high school and special libraries it will be the librarian in charge. Larger, multibranch, libraries will often have a centralised selection and acquisition department because it is more cost efficient. For local public libraries, some states have centralised purchasing for all of those libraries, although the larger libraries in those states may have additional funds for local acquisition. Libraries usually utilise the services of two or more Library Suppliers/Vendors.

It is always good to join local libraries and suggest new books through the online system of the library.


Should I provide a discount?

Library suppliers/vendors will expect a trade discount from you to enable them to sell to libraries at a discount or at your recommended retail price. You don’t have to provide a discount, however. If you do not provide one, the vendor will charge the library more for your book. This may affect your sales.


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

Yes as this assists with the effective processing of your order & enables them to pay you promptly.


Should I include postage, packaging and handling (p&h) in the cost of the book?

Most large publishers do not charge freight to bookshops. If you need to charge freight, we suggest you show it as a separate amount on your invoice to the vendor.


Do libraries recognise the value of small publishers?

Many recognise that a small publisher may have more flexibility than major publishers and be the first with a book on an important topic. They appreciate that small press titles and author publishers may contribute to the breadth and quality of their collections.


Do libraries buy paperbacks?

Yes, but they like quality books bound well enough to withstand multiple loans. This is particularly true in public libraries. Some libraries don't like wire spiral, coil or plastic comb bound books with no title on the spine and nowhere to place a spine label carrying the Dewey or other classification number of the book. For shelving, handling and display reasons they also do not like very large books (above A4 size) or very small books (below A5 size).


What else can I do to get my book into libraries?

Have it reviewed in as many sources as possible:

  • send it to the Book Reviews Editor of capital city newspapers and The Australian
  • ABC Radio - sometimes conduct author interviews at a local level
  • See if your local library is open to having you speak about your book; provide a colour flyer; donate a copy of your book to your local library.

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