Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Survey Says Library Users Are My Best Customers

Finally, a study about libraries illustrating what most of us authors have learned from our readers. The PublishersWeekly piece:

Survey Says Library Users Are Your Best Customers             
Groundbreaking new study shows value of libraries to the book—and the e-book—business

This is wonderful to see documented--though I'm curious to read the full study, because frankly, this piece presented a lot of wonderful conclusions with almost no data to back it up. Hopefully the data is there in the full piece.

I have seen incredible evidence of the power of libraries since Columbine came out in 2009. I hear from
about 30-40 readers a month by email or facebook, and a startling percentage report discovering me in their library--and then coaxing all sorts of friends and family members about it.

The "Power Patrons" described in the piece also makes sense. My final girlfriend Bethany reads more than a book a week--I meet quite a few like her on my tours, and many on Goodreads who do more than 100 books a year).

Few of them could afford to buy that many new books, especially in hardcover, so these are not lost sales. (Without the library they would just be reading a lot less, not buying more.) Most of them tell me they then purchase a few of the ones they really prize each year to keep on their bookshelf, and they also buy more of their favorites as gifts, and spread the word about many more.

All of those are very positive forces for book sales. It's also nice that it works in favor of books that are really good. Instead of sales based on media hype or any sort of pre-read factors, these are all sales generated by someone who has actually read the book and admired it. All good.

I'm really grateful libraries and librarians are still so vital. I had no idea until my book came out.


  1. Caroline in BaltimoreNovember 9, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    Great to hear! I love libraries and go often, while buying a fair amount of books too [such as Columbine ;) ]. It's true that libraries are thriving. I actually have not noticed them going downhill at all, thank God.

  2. Hey, did you know the Wall Street Occupiers have their own library? complete with hundreds of patrons and real librarians who are volunteering from a variety of places around the country? NPR told me this today. Cornell West was there. I'll bet they'd like to have a best selling author and a copy of his book there!

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