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Another Gut-Punch to Indie Authors

But does my library love me?

   Excuse me while I stand on my soap-box for a moment. Sometimes I just need to vent…and this is one of those times.

I’ve always been a strong supporter of education and literacy. Whether you are a child or an adult, the importance of good education and the ability to read is critical. Individuals and society as a whole benefits from it, and the future course of a nation depends upon the decisions of well-informed, well-read citizens.

The drop-out rate from high schools across our country remains high. When I learned of a local program to counsel students returning to complete their educations, I volunteered to be a mentor. I also volunteer as a “Reading Buddy” at an elementary school to assist children that have home-life problems associated with their reading skills. And being a writer, literacy is one issue I rank at the top of my concerns.

I’ve always been a strong supporter of public libraries. The Internet may have decreased their usage and forced many branches to close or reduce staff, but I believe a good public library system establishes a knowledge center for communities to build upon. From youth I’ve always considered a library to be a valuable resource for everyone.  

As a writer, especially being an “Indie-Author,” I already have a sufficient number of obstacles to overcome without adding my local library system to the fray. Aside from the writing, editing, publishing, and marketing headaches of moving my novels from computer to reader, (and of course, battling the constant stigma of being unpublished by big houses), I’ve taken my share of hits. Recently, my own local library gave me a gut-punch that left me frustrated.

In December of 2011, still relishing the author’s joy that accompanies the release of a new novel, I took a copy of each of my three novels (brand new, mint condition, and autographed) to the Brazoria County Library System branch library in my small town of Alvin, Texas. The librarian was gone but the assistants accepted my donations and stated they would be processed into the system for citizens to read. I left with a great sense of having made a contribution to my community. One day, I thought, someone may come, read my books for free and enjoy themselves.

In March of 2012 I happened to be in the library for a meeting. While there I checked their computer system for my works and couldn’t locate them.  I asked the assistants where my donated books might be and they in turn passed the search information on to the head librarian. Fast forward now to today, the end of April, two full months after not receiving a word from the librarian, I received a polite “gut-punch” letter attached to an email:

(even more aggravating is receiving a letter with your name misspelled after giving them your business card)

Dear Mr. Glen Starkey;

 I apologize for not contacting you sooner concerning the three books you donated to the Alvin Library… I deeply regret to say that it looks like your donation has been misplaced.  It may be your books were mixed in with other donated items and given to the Library League for its book sale…

 …All donations are received with the understanding the items become the property of the library, and that acceptance is not a guarantee the items will be placed into the collection.  The items must follow the same evaluation criteria for library purchased items. This would include reviews from recognized review sources and the item would also need to have an acceptable binding that would take the stress of being circulated…

 …The cataloging of donated items takes time and special handling, especially if it would require what is termed “original cataloging.”   Since your books appear to be self- published, there is not an available cataloging record in the correct format from a vendor for downloading into the library’s catalog. This special handling comes at a price and that is why there is a $10 per item charge to cover the cost. Hundreds of items are ordered, received, and processed each month which takes priority over specialty cataloging…

 …want you to know how much your interest in the library is appreciated.  The library system wishes you good success in your writing career.

They lost my books or they dumped them into the pile of unwanted, discarded library books to sell. Not only that, the librarian goes on to state they were unacceptable because they are self-published, probably did not have acceptable binding, and did not have “…reviews from recognized review sources.”  THEN, she has the audacity to say the library requires a $10 per item fee to process them because they are self-published. But she ends it all with a kiss: “The library system wishes you good success in your writing career.”

   Give me a break! Barnes & Noble won’t stock their shelves with Indie-Author books—and my own local library will only stock their shelves with my books if I pay them $10 per book. How did I reply? As calmly as I could.

Thank you for the information.

I have always been an advocate for literacy, volunteering as I do with our school district as a “Reading Buddy” to assist elementary children, promoting reading and education at every turn for adults as well as children. 

It is truly disappointing to read your letter and find that because my novels are “self-published,” they are considered below your standards. Although they are distributed by Ingram and doing well internationally on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and a list of other booksellers, it is unfortunate my own local library cast them out, loses them, or sells them as books no longer needed.

Yes, it’s ridiculous I cannot donate my novels to my own community library, and my stomach is still sore from yet another “Indie” gut-punch, but it won’t slow my writings or my advocacy of education and literacy.

Maybe equality is the lesson to be learned here. While I want my Indie-published books to be reviewed and treated equal with ‘big house’ books in public libraries, and to receive equal treatment in book stores, we should work toward equal education and literacy for all, regardless of a person’s station in life. But, maybe that’s all in a perfect world scenario.

Thank you. I shall now return my soap-box home to its closet.

Glenn

43 comments on “Another Gut-Punch to Indie Authors

  1. Kathryn on said:

    Hi, Mr. Starkey,
    I just came across your very fine article here and send along my compassion to anyone here who is experiencing this sometimes upsetting scenario you’ve described.
    What I’ve just been learning is that often, many small libraries are just wonderful about immediately emailing to thank an author for the offer of their latest book. I’ve also discovered that many larger libraries get thousands of offers and have very little time to promise each author that the book will be catalogued and included on their shelves.
    One solution I’ve found is to ask first about their particular rules and procedures for accepting new books. Most librarians, in my experience, are very kind and thoughtful. I also offer, if it’s out of town, to send along an SASM, (Self Addressed Stamped (book) Mailer) in the off chance that, at this particular time, they are not able to catalogue it. You can be very specific and say that you don’t want it to end up on their yearly sales tables, even though it benefits the libraries. If the gift is intended for the most readers to have access to your work, it’s perfectly all right to say so.
    I feel that if they still say they can’t promise it won’t be put on a sales table (or auctioned, etc.) and if they can’t return it even with the pre-paid/addressed mailer, then I simply go on to the next place.
    It may ease the pain a little to understand that many places will gladly accept your gifted books. Remember, too, there are many shelters, detention centers and people spending long hours in courtrooms or outside in the halls of juvenile or domestic relations courts, or hospitals, who would greatly appreciate something lovely to read and inspire them.
    The gift of your book may uplift someone today. By checking with each place first and humbly asking about their procedures, you can save yourself any unwelcome agony. It’s easy to simply inquire by email and say “If I send along a pre/paid mailer, would you be willing to send my copy back if it’s not right for your catalogue at this time?”
    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this article, as I had just begun sending out some inquiries myself, and I also was surprised to learn that each place has its own specific set of rules. Some won’t promise to return your book even with the offer of the return/paid mailer. In that case, I would move on to someone who is happy to accept the gift in the spirit in which it was given. People do have reasons for their procedures, and having so many wonderful librarian friends, I have the utmost respect for all they do.

    Best wishes to all writers here in finding a home for your work!

    • Thank you, Kathryn.
      You are correct. There are still many small libraries willing to accept an author’s gift of books.
      I wish you the best in all of your endeavors.

      Regards,
      Glenn

  2. Came across this entry just this morning, so my apologies for arriving late to the conversation. I suspect that old school snobbery and an authoritarian mindbent of following policies to the letter without thought of their consequences has more to do with the problem than tight library budgets and limited library shelf space. I’ve had mixed results myself with libraries. My hometown library (and in the city fromwhich I graduated high school) won’t even answer my emails or phone calls, whether it be about speaking there or carrying my books. In contrast, the city in the town where I currently live carries ALL of my books…and went out and got them all on their own before I even contacted them! The city library where I went to college did the same as my current city’s library…but good luck getting any of my books in my university’s library or even having my former English Deptartment there host a reading (guess they won’t be getting an alumni donation this year). Keep up the good fight…many libraries are changing their ways, and all eventually will have to if they are to survive in the rapidly evolving world of book publishing.

    • Thank you, Rob, for your comments. It has truly been a frustrating journey with my local library, especially since we are a small town. I would love to contribute so much more to my library, whether through organizing readings, literary discussions, meetings with book clubs, etc., but with their present mindset, I have chosen not to. Fortunately, not all libraries do as they do and other authors have spoken of great relationships in their communities. I believe in promoting reading, so much to the point that I volunteer at two schools one full day each week to work with elementary children in their reading programs.

      I can only hope that one day my own community will become progressive. It is a shame to see every town around us grow and move into a modern era while my own simply “talks about doing so.”

      All the best to you.
      Regards,
      Glenn Starkey

  3. The public library system is yet another mismanaged and under funded program of city level government that is constantly on the chopping block. Your city government doesn’t care about promoting literacy through their library system, they only care about pandering to the lowest common denominator of citizenry. Unfortunately this filters down to the librarians and staff working within that system. They lost your books. They didn’t care that they lost your books. They probably still don’t care that they lost your books. However, when you called them out on it they then belatedly tried to appease you with a less than heartfelt apology letter. You are correct, it’s very discouraging, but it’s not surprising.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Garey, for your comments. You’re right. They accepted the books as if they were happy to receive them and never informed me of their bias toward indie authors… Matter-of-fact, at that time, they didn’t advise me of any type rules they had pertaining to donations… I was quite disappointed with their reply letter when I asked where the books were. They couldn’t tell me if the books were lost or they tossed them in their junk pile to be rid of. But they did go into length about how self-published books are not reviewed by recognized sources and their $10 per book processing fee. I know this has given me a different view of my local library — and in the future I will not be as sympathetic to their budgetary issues and plight as I once was.

      I appreciate you having stopped in to read the article.
      Best wishes,
      Glenn

      • You’re welcome Glenn. I question the validity of using the library system as a means of promotion. It’s a system that, beyond academic university libraries, no longer holds the relevance it once did. Independent promotional efforts are best directed here through web based networking. The only exception would perhaps be independent book stores if you are able to find them these days. I am delighted when I come across one. But they are few and far between.

        • Glenn on said:

          Thanks, Garey. No, for me the library wasn’t considered as a marketing or promotional means. Growing up, I always loved libraries… Walking the isles and grabbing a book to go sit at a table and read through it. I suppose I always had a secret dream to one day see my own books on a library’s shelves. In some small way it may have meant a sense of accomplishment to me. That may sound rather corny, but it’s true. I used to have a great respect for libraries. Still believe in them, but my local one sure shattered my simple dream. As for independent book stores — they have fast become scarce, especially around here! Barnes & Noble cornered the market in this area. I’ve watched small stores close, then Borders, and Hastings closed shop too…

          Regards,
          Glenn

  4. Glenn – Thanks for sharing this story – it’s getting plenty of attention in my Twitter circle and rightly so. In general I’m of two minds, which seems to play into larger issues.

    I’ve only really been digging into and reading indie material for about a year. In that time I’ve found some high quality stories in terms of the writing, editing and storytelling. I’ve also picked up material that was sorely lacking all three components – there was simply no QC done at all. With that in mind I can understand why some may be reluctant to simply take all comers where it concerns book donations. I wouldn’t want someone picking up one of the latter examples from my shelves.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that some public libraries could do far more to leverage technology and social media to screen indie work. It would only take a little effort on the part of the staff to research reviews on B&N, Amazon, etc. It wouldn’t be that difficult to actually read the book to make sure it was a quality product, if you were still undecided after looking at reviews.

    In my mind the losers here are the patrons who miss the opportunity to read fantastic stories. It’s also disappointing that the big press publishers have such a distinct advantage in a niche that seems to cry out for partnership with indie authors – particularly those who come from that locale or region.

    I’m selective in what I read and more so with those books I plan to review but it’s been relatively easy to establish a screening system that separates the wheat from the chaff while fitting into my tight schedule. Surely a fully staffed public library could do the same and should want to highlight local authors – people their patrons, particularly children, can relate to. Who knows, maybe it’s the extra nudge a youngster needs to become a writer one day.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on the bigger picture.

    @TCAbn The Motley Chronicles

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Tom, for your comments and review. My article has been well received and created much discussion as I hoped it would. The same theme seems to carry throughout the responses: (1) that it is deplorable for public libraries to have such bias toward indie books, and (2) this shows the need and importance for all indie writers to present the best possible work due to the bias against self published works.

      Personally, I do not want my library system to be the ones to dictate what I should and should not read. I believe such responsibility falls to me. I have always believed libraries should be filled with all books and be a place for readers to have the freedom of selection and genre choice. As you said, the losers are the library patrons.

      Anyone having read my previous articles will immediately realize I strongly support well written, well edited novels. One major point of frustration with my library system was their statement that self-published books are not reviewed by a recognized review source. Of course they gave no example of what they consider to be a recognized review source, but to me, I believe readers should be that source — not solely The New York Times.

      Do I feel there are indie books lacking quality? Yes. Unfortunately, there are many. I receive numerous books from indie authors asking me to write a public review of their work. I have read good books, great books and excellent books — but some should have never been released in their present state. I will not write public reviews for works with poor craftsmanship. I do not consider myself better than others, but I simply want to write the truth when I state my enjoyment of a book. I also wish I had sufficient time to read more of the novels I have received because many appear to be quite interesting. (I seem to have a problem with not having enough hours in the day to accomplish all I wish…)

      And to be fair concerning libraries, I also received communications from various authors stating their local libraries were quite happy to receive their books — and even supported them as local authors. That was excellent news and showed there are still progressive libraries alive today across America.

      The publishing industry is changing and libraries will one day find themselves (if not already) addressing problems as the newspaper industry: electronic technology is a major path of the future.

      Thank you again for your comments.
      Warmest Regards,
      Glenn

  5. Glenn, the same thing is true in my own neighborhood, the Bay Area of California. So I donated 40 books to my home town libraries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the setting of my second memoir. Then I donated 40 more to the History Center in my home town and both organizations were thrilled to get them. They’re distributing the books to all the smaller libraries in nearby towns and also starting a book club with them. They were thrilled to get them. I’ll still get a tax benefit which is better than nothing, but this new library rule is really discouraging. I still write my stories but I might settle for self-publishing just enough copies for family and friends because I can’t stop writing. I don’t have a clue as to why this is happening in the library systems but it’s darn frustrating.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Betty, for your comments. My apologies for the delay in reply. I’ve been playing catch-up with a long list of “To-Do’s.”

      I’m sorry to hear the Bay Area of California is not progressive enough to accept indie books. But, reading that your donated books to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were well received is excellent news. I suppose I will have to send my books to a library in another state rather than be able to support my own local library which is mere blocks away.

      Don’t allow non-progressive libraries to stop your writing! Write because it is what you want to do! Even if you write a single novel, print it and set it upon your bookshelf to remain for years, one day your family will read it with great joy and acknowledge the writer in their family!

      I wish you the best in all of your endeavors!

      Warmest Regards,
      Glenn

  6. This is appalling that a free library would “gut-punch” a LOCAL author! This is short sighted on their part. What exactly do they consider a valid review site: New York Times? That means that they should only have books from about 100 authors a year on their shelves. I pray that this is not the general attitude taken by all libraries.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, ZaBeth, for your review and comments. A number of authors have said their libraries accepted their books and scheduled talks, so evidently it’s my library system which does not care for local indie authors. It is unfortunate they accepted my books without first advising me of their predujice against indie books. I’m glad to know not all libraries act in that manner. I still support public libraries and believe they serve a good purpose.

      I appreciate your visit and comments.
      Glenn

  7. My sister is a librarian at a small to mid-sized city library so I am familiar with these sorts of policies – they aren’t unusual. Libraries have extremely limited shelf space, even smaller than indie bookstores in many cases. They can’t stock all the books out there so they depend on reviews to stock “hot titles” (in popular demand) or noteworthy works of literature.

    In addition, library budgets have been decimated over the last few years and they are extremely underfunded – it *is* additional work on an already burdened staff to manually input a book into the system. And sure, one book might not seem like that big of a deal, but with the advent of self-publishing, everyone and their grandma has a book they want their local library to carry, which means hundreds of hours of extra work for library staff if they were to accept all of them. While you had good intentions in wanting to donate your book, it’s unfair to just look at this from your point of view. The library was not being unreasonable and they weren’t trying to cast aspersions on the quality of your book because it was self-published. They were pointing out some of the (downside) realities to self-publishing.

    As an author who will be releasing through an small/indie press and therefore probably won’t see her book in libraries, I, of course, don’t like these kinds of policies and am bitterly disappointed by them, but I understand them and sympathize with the staff as well. :-( The real villain here is the amount we, as a society, as willing to budget for our libraries.

  8. Hi! I’m so sorry it was such a struggle to try to share your books with your community! Nothing is more infuriating than people who should be helpful standing in your way.

    I’m surprised, however, at their response, and at some of the comments telling of similar experiences. I, like you, love the library and wanted to donate a copy of one of my ebooks to them. This ebook was particularly thin and honestly, the cover was poorly done at the time, but I was proud of it nonetheless. I spoke to whomever it was I was supposed to speak to on the phone, first, to make sure it was all right for me to bring in my book, then left a copy in person with one of the receptionists. It took a few weeks, but they eventually got my book in the catalogue and it’s in the New Releases section at the front of the library, no fees charged and no questions asked. I’m thoroughly surprised to hear that other libraries have acted in such disregard to self-published authors. Something should be done about this and their perception, I think.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Miranda, for your comments. I’m glad to know you were able to donate your works to your library. Not only am I disappointed in my local library system, but it displays the bias which remains toward indie authors. As progressive as my library system evidently is, I’m sure they will review their policy in 30 or 40 years… Thank you for visiting my site and reviewing the article. All the best to you. Glenn

  9. Pauline Tilbe on said:

    Glenn, I’ve flip flopped about this issue as I read your post and then as I read through the comments posted here. I empathize with your great disappointment in having lost the opportunity at your own local library. I agree with the comments about so many “bad” indie books being self published but the bottom line, I think, is that the policy should have been communicated to you right from the beginning.
    As a reader, not an author, (Mike Bove posted the link to your blog on FB and brought me here) I’ve found some great books from indie authors on various sites and found some really terrible ones too. Luckily, I didn’t pay for most of them. When I find the great ones, I track down the author, post my reviews, praise the book and promote it to my friends, do as much as I can to help these authors. I find indie authors to be the friendliest, most appreciative authors and they in turn make me feel like a valued reader. I wish there was something more I could do about this situation. I have a great local library and now I’m off to ask them about their policy for self published books!!!

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Pauline, for your comments. I have been quite pleased at the discussion my article has evoked among readers. Like you, I’ve flip-flopped on the issue because I realize there are a number of poorly written indie books released among the vast number of well written ones. I am an avid reader as well and many a time set an indie book aside due to its lack of quality story line, writing, and errors. But, there have been many I thoroughly enjoyed.

      You presented an excellent point; the policy of rejecting indie books should have been communicated from the beginning. If I had known the library was going to treat my books with such little concern, I would have not donated them. After all, those three books cost me many long hours to write and money to physically produce — and I would rather have freely given them to any reader than know they would be discarded.

      I’m glad to know you have a great local library. I believe there are still many great libraries — and hard working librarians!

      Thank you for reviewing my article and entering this valuable discussion.

      All the best to you,
      Glenn

  10. Pingback: Another Gut-Punch to Indie Authors | Glenn Starkey | Oregonmike98's Blog

  11. This doesn’t surprise me much, but I think the blame is hard to place.

    I have, on my shelf, two self-published books that I was talked into buying. One is dead boring, impossible to get through. The other has obvious grammar and punctuation issues on page 1. I should make it clear that this is NOT what I expect all, or even most, self-published books to be like. It’s merely the curse of having met two people with great marketing skills and little talent. However, it brings up a point that I think the libraries are right to be concerned about. When I walk into a book store (OR a library) and browse the shelves, I expect that what I see is a collection of novels that have been rigorously edited and professionally packaged. So, when I pull one from the shelf, I feel safe in the assumption that when I get home I might hate the story or the writing, but I am hating a finished product that went through SOME level of screening. Not so with the self-published novel. Unfortunately, those are all over the spectrum (including some well above the level of some traditionally published novels, but plenty on the other end as well).

    Basically, with a novel from a publishing house that has a reputation, a library can assume that the book meets standards. Without that stamp of approval, the burden of screening falls on the librarian. And I DO think screening is necessary. I suspect with YOUR novel (and it’s only a hunch based on other comments) I wouldn’t know the difference between “indie” and “traditional” when I picked it up — I would be perfectly happy. But if I picked up the book that is sitting on my shelf right now with paper thin, unbelievable, cliche characters and “there” in place of “their”…I would feel betrayed. How could I walk into a library and select a book without reading several pages of each contender? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t want to. Worse, if every Tom, Jane, and Julie can walk in an place their book, and they do, what’s there to differentiate and what will the ratio of “good” to “crap” end up looking like?

    So, I can’t honestly say I think the library should accept and place those books without some sort of extra process.

    Two flawed solutions come to mind:

    1. Librarians DO screen. It would take longer, and it would be terribly subjective. Two problems. Also, a problem for the librarian who has to turn down poorly-edited books. That would get very personal very quickly, especially for a small town library.

    2. A shelf dedicated specifically to self-published novels. But, a big problem there — this keeps the stigma alive. You might have a rose, but it’s bound to be surrounded by thorns.

    The library’s best bet is to turn things away as a rule and take heat for bad policies (in place of taking heat for personal rejections), but I agree that that isn’t necessarily the best bet for readers who might enjoy SOME of the turned away novels. It also isn’t best for good self-published authors who don’t deserve the stigma and ostracism.

    I’m curious whether you agree that there could be an issue with unchecked novels of all kinds flowing onto the shelves, and if so, what you think the best approach would be. I realize this sounds somewhat harsh on self-pubbed works, but I really don’t intend to dismiss them outright. I’m just not sure how it’s possible to integrate GOOD works without simultaneously allowing the bad through and compromising the quality of the selection.

    [/rambling]

    In other news, I’m adding you to my list of indie authors to check out. I hope you have better luck in the future.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you for your comments, Meg. I apologize for the late response. A new roof is being installed on my home and the pounding noise activity has been quite rough on concentration.

      You present many good points. I have no problem with rules and/or established practices being in place for the acceptance of literature at a public library. My life has been one of following rules (i.e., military, law enforcement, a security manager of an oil corporation), but advise me of the rules first so I know what you wish me to do. I think this may be the central point of my discussion and frustration: Don’t accept my books as a donation then cast them away when I leave the library. Tell me there is a process and I will go by it or choose not to donate. After all, those books were paid for by me, out of my pocket.

      Without entering into a lengthy constitutional debate, I submit the following: Yes, there must be some means to qualify a book for library acceptance, but we must be cautious (the same as with government) that libraries do not become deciding factors as to what the public may read overall. The public should also have the right to review a book and make a decision as to its quality of writing or the lack thereof.

      I fully agree with you as well that there are poorly written books by self-published authors out in the public arena. Indie authors must come to the realization they have a responsibility to produce novels as free of errors as their big-house counterparts. One point I did not agree upon with my library system is that they accept books only “reviewed by recognized review sources.” So what is that source? The NEW YORK TIMES? Does this mean John Q. Citizen cannot write a review or is not a proper source?

      If my article has served no other purpose, it has created debate on a variety of issues. Again, thank you for your comments and taking the time to review my blog.

      All the best to you.
      Glenn

  12. Suzan Tisdale on said:

    That is shameful. If it makes you feel any better, my small local library actually insisted on. Using a copy of my book even though I was trying to donte it. Not all libraries behave in such a shameful manner. Keep up your good work and don’t let idiots like that keep you for pursuing your dreams.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you for your comments, Suzan. You were fortunate to be able to work with your local library. Although frustrated over this incident, I still believe in supporting libraries of any size, especially small libraries. All the best to you. Glenn

  13. Glenn,

    Thank you for making this issue public. Things will never improve for indie writers if we don’t share our stories and get on our soap boxes every once in a while.

    All I can say is, ‘WOW!’

    I’m sorry that your experienced this.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Christina, for your comments and reviewing the article. This was an unfortunate incident. All the best to you. Glenn

  14. I’m sickened, Glenn. The quality of your writing is comparable to Stephen King or Robin Cook. That library was lucky that you were kind enough to donate three signed copies. (someday they may be worth big $$)

    Don’t let it get you down. Just brush it off. Some people suffer from tunnel vision and cannot see outside of their tiny little world. This librarian is a shining example of one of the “Dinosaurs”.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you for your kind comments. Truly appreciated and glad you stopped by to read the article. All the best to you. Glenn

  15. I sympathise with your library situation, but I also have some sympathies with the librarians. I’m sure that your books are great and very suitable for use in a library, but the sad truth is that many Indy books are poorly written, un-edited and simply not worth valuable and often fairly limited shelf space. My own local library (In the UK) has a problem with far too many donated published books – it just doesn’t have enough space, so a fair number of books get passed on to local charity shops. If they were ‘obliged’ to stock any Indy self published work, it would stretch the system even further. My suggestion would be that the library somehow (and politely) set up a approved reader / reviewer system. They need a system to accept good Indy books and politely pass on the dross.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you for the comments. You present excellent points. I wish the librarians had first advised me of their rules before accepting all 3 books. Thank you for stopping by to read the article. Glenn

  16. I’ve been lucky, every time I’ve donated either one of my own books, or one of the books we publish (I own a small fiction press), the local library has accepted it. I recently donated a copy each from a paranormal thriller author I work with (lovely lady by the name of Raven Bower), no more than three days later the books were in the system.

    Not only that but I know several of my authors have been able to do the same with their local libraries.

    Even if there is a $10 fee (the first I’ve heard of such which doesn’t mean it isn’t true), the donated book at least equals the cost of the fee. Normally when they buy a book, because of where they often buy it, they’re charged more than Joe Public would be for the book, a paperback running at $10 instead of $8 or so as an example!

    Having said that I know with the self published books I’ve brought in from competitions (after I’ve read them) they can sit for a month before they are entered into the system as each one has to be read for content, checking that the book is suitable for the library, but if it isn’t, I understand as not all books fall within whatever rules for content that library has to abide by.

    • Thank you for your comments, Terri. You are quite fortunate to have a library receptive to accepting books. It seems my luck is to have a country library system with lengthy reasons NOT to accept them. The text you read in the article about the $10 came from the Brazoria County Library System Librarian, and it was the first time I had heard of it. As for rules of content, my books didn’t even get to that point! I’m just disappointed in my country library system. Brazoria County is the second largest county in the State of Texas, adjacent to Harris County where Houston is positioned. My county may be large in size but evidently remains small in its thinking. Thank you for your review of the blog. All the best to you. Glenn

  17. I experienced this too,as my library would not take my childrens book because it was “self published” with no ISBN.
    I was tickled pink when I received phone calls from distraught parents of kindergarteners who had the book read to them during a humane society show and tell. They all wanted to read the book again but the parents had no idea where to find it and the teacher was not available to look inside the cover where the publishing info was. The parents (27 in all) were very happy to dole out $10.00 for the book to LuLu and I was happy to hand $1 per book that I received from the earnings back to the humane society that the book was written about. The parents made their displeasure known to the public library when they could not find the book and were told it had been offered but not accepted. The library in question has not changed its policy however, and I’m sure there are plenty of authors in my area who are receiving the same treatment. It is an insult.

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you for your comments, Linda. I’m glad you were able to finally get your books out to the interested readers…but this situation with public libraries not accepting books is insulting and ridiculous. My town has a population of 24,000… It’s not like we are in Houston (which is just a few miles up the road.) I’ve always been a strong supporter of our libraries and the need for them — but this has made me wonder about them… Thank you for stopping by to read and comment on my blog. All the best to you. Glenn

  18. wow that’s tough!

    • Glenn on said:

      No, Diana, it was insulting. My novels are action/adventure and historical fiction in nature. To receive the letter I did from my country library system advising my books are below their standards because they are “self-published” and “not reviewed by reputable review sources” (much less their $10 processing fee) — is insulting to ALL authors.

      Thank you for stopping in to read the blog. All the best to you….
      Glenn

  19. Hi Glenn,
    I’m so sorry. I experienced the same thing with my local library, sans letter of explanation. It truly hurts.

    Mine is a picture book for children and the school I visited not only accepted my donated copies but also purchased five additional ones. That was a great feeling!

    Would your books be appropriate for high school students? Have you tried college and university libraries? Could you schedule an author talk? I’m sure you’ve already thought of all these. I just wish there was a way to make you feel better.

    All the best to you from a fellow indie author!

    Martha

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you, Martha. My books are for 19+ adult readers. For a library to not accept your books, specifically for children, is TRULY pathetic and unacceptable. I was stunned when I received the letter from my country library system. I’m definitely trying to schedule author talks where ever possible. Thank you for stopping by to read the blog. I wish you the best. Glenn

  20. Hi Glen,

    I hear you, have you come up with that ISBN / LCCN # glitch yet? i.e. I purchased ISBN numbers but can’t use them because I don’t have a Library of Congress Catalog Number (LCCN), and I don’t have an LCCN because the ISBN issued by Google books is an e-ISBN not the one needed to get an LCCN. … I wrote the entire loop of people about this one. The ones who sold me the ISBNs also assign the LCCN.. by the way, I assume you know, but I’m mention it because that is the $10 fee, or it’s a lot more per book if you are an indie publisher not a public library. :( … anyways… write on. And best wishes on our voice being heard ( books getting read )

    • Glenn on said:

      Thank you for commenting. I do not believe the problem is with the ISBN’s… All three novels have 13 digit and 10 digit ISBN’s and one does show a Library of Congress Catalog number. I’ll check further.

  21. OUCH!!! I had heard of this. I couldn’t believe it. I’d have been lost without libraries growing up and have a librarian cousin and good friend. They bought my book (after reading it) for the libraries they are involved with. I’m glad I didn’t have this experience after the kind gesture (that costs us $$ by the way!) of donating my book(s) to the libray.

    Things have to change for Indies as the publishing industry picks up fewer and fewer writers. I’m sorry Glenn!
    Aloha
    Toby

    • Glenn on said:

      Thanks for the comment, Toby. I was definitely disappointed in my local library branch. And you are right, we as authors pay for those copies which we donate free, then she wanted me to pay $10 a piece for them to accept them. I think her statement about “not being reviewed by a reputable review source” was the icing insult on the cake. But, I’m sure this situation isn’t at all libraries (or at least I hope not).

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