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Using Library Checkouts to Grow Sales

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When I first started marketing my self published Memoir to Libraries, my goal was to get the book into as many libraries and their branches as possible.  As a result, my initial marketing efforts were focused on America’s largest Academic and Public libraries.  I had developed a Library Contacts “Database,” which is an Excel spreadsheet containing the names of libraries and their URLs, first and last names of the highest-ranking decision-makers I could find, and their email addresses, to name a few.  I used the “Database” with a “customized” letter I created in Microsoft Word, whose Mail/Merge feature I used to email librarians to make them aware of my book.  As libraries began to purchase my Memoir, I became curious about how the book was doing.  Every month or two, I would go onto several of my customers’ websites to see if library Patrons had checked out the book.  Each time, my random searches would reveal at least one or more checkouts.  Afterward, I would email the library(s) to thank them again for their purchase and to make them aware I noticed my book had been checked out.  This follow-up on my part was to let the librarian(s) know I was still actively engaged with their account, and more importantly, the checkouts served as validation they had made a good purchasing decision.


Later, when I wrote my second book, I immediately contacted the purchasers of my first book.  As I expected, some bought the new book, and some didn’t.  One of the things I immediately noticed was a large majority of the libraries that had purchased the new book were ones that I had contacted about checkouts.  I was sure this wasn’t a coincidence.  As a result, I developed a monthly strategy to do random checkout searches and alert affected libraries.  Now that I’m up to four titles, this regular checkout review process has enabled me to increase the number of books purchased by my existing library customers (see the table and chart below).

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Of the 167 copies of my books in 133 libraries worldwide, 54.5% (i.e., 91 copies) were multiple purchases of between two to five books.


So, if you are looking for a way to generate additional book sales with your existing library customers, think about implementing a checkout review process.