As a child, I devoured books.
In the summers, I sucked them down like Otter Pops from my grandmother’s freezer, tucked in the crook of tree branches or sitting on swingsets or lounging on the couch or under my blankets at night.
During the school year I carried them onto the playground or read them under my desk thinking the teacher wouldn’t notice. My fifth grade teacher — tired of telling me to put my book away — once kept me in at recess as punishment.
My punishment? To stay inside and read?
It was heaven.
We lived out in the country, so in the summers, when the school library was closed, a stop at the library was a mandatory part of our weekly trek into town. I remember scooping books up by the armful and carrying them joyfully to the check-out stand, each week pushing against the upper limit of what I was allowed to check out.
And each week, I read every one of those books before we brought them back.
I remember growing older, starting to venture beyond the aisles of brightly colored chapter books. Wandering upstairs to grown-up fiction section to seek out dragons and mystics and murders. Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett and Patricia C Wrede and Mercedes Lackey and Frank E Peretti and Ursula K Le Guin and anything else that caught my fancy.
I would have bankrupted my parents if it weren’t for the library.
For that matter, I’d bankrupt myself now if not for the library.
I want people to get my books at the library
As an author, I love libraries. I love that places exist where people can get books for free. Where the ability to experience the joy of a story isn’t limited by your bank account.
(Though I’ve paid my fair share of late fees, let me tell you!)
A month or so back, I asked my newsletter subscribers what are some of the tropes or themes that make them automatically buy a book, and I got back a significant response from people who say they read so much they’re only downloading free books these days.
That’s possible to do — especially with so many indie writers offering free newsletter magnets and first-in-free series. But what happens if you fall in love with a series and want to support the author — but are still on a budget?
I’m telling you, getting books from the library is a fantastic way to support an author.
Most indie authors aren’t automatically distributed to libraries. You’ll see more showing up as ebooks, but finding an indie book in print is tough.
Here’s where you can help! If you want to see a book from a specific author, you can recommend your library purchase it.
How to recommend a title to your library
Indie authors can distribute ebooks to libraries through Overdrive, a fantastic app that lets you borrow ebooks and audio books from your local library.
(If you read ebooks or listen to audio, seriously you should use Overdrive!)
Once you’re logged in with your library card, do a search for, hypothetically, “Jessie Kwak”.
More than likely, your local library will tell you they can’t find this “Jessie Kwak” person.
Just scroll down in the app, and you’ll see search results that aren’t owned by the library:
There’s my books.
If you want to recommend a title to your library for purchase, click the “Recommend” link at the bottom of the book card.
(From that screen you can also read a sample of the book, add the book to your history, or view other books in the series. Just click the three vertical menu dots.)
For more information on how to recommend a title to your library, check out this helpful post on library recommendations over at OverDrive.
Why aren’t all indie books available to recommend to the library?
Super good question. It has to do with how a book is distributed.
Basically, if a book is in Kindle Unlimited, the author has to exclusively publish it at Amazon — which means no library distribution. My Durga System novellas are all published wide, which means you can get them on any ebook platform (and at libraries).
The publisher of my first novel, Shifting Borders, has kept it in KU — which makes it “free” for paid KU subscribers, but not available to libraries.
If you’re curious and want to learn more, Lindsay Buroker just wrote a detailed post about why some books are in KU and others are widely available.
(And why some authors would make that choice. Full disclosure, I’ll be releasing the Bulari Saga exclusive with Amazon for the reasons Lindsay outlines, but I’ll make it more widely available as soon as I can.)
That’s what I’ve got for you.
I hope that was helpful, and — if you’re in a library ebook recommending mood I’d greatly appreciate you recommending my books. 😉
Oh — and if libraries have been a big part of your life, I’d love for you to let me know in the comments!
BONUS POINTS if you had to use a card catalogue to find the book you were looking for! 😉