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Using Library Checkouts to Grow Sales

Using Library Checkouts to Grow Sales


Eric Otis Simmons

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When I 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 developed a Library Contacts “Database,” an Excel spreadsheet containing the names of Libraries and their URLs, the 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 their Patrons had checked out the book.  My random searches would reveal at least one or more checkouts each time.  Afterward, I would email the Library(s) to thank them again for their purchase and to make them aware that I noticed my book had been checked out.  This follow-up on my part had a two-fold objective.  First, I wanted to let the Librarian(s) know I was still actively engaged with their account(s), and second and more importantly, I wanted to provide them with proof that they had made a solid purchasing decision.


Later, when I wrote my second book, I immediately contacted the purchasers of my first book.  As expected, some bought the new book, and some didn’t.  I noticed, however, that most of the Libraries that had purchased the new book were those 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 below).

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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.

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