Book Marketing Toolbox: WorldCat


It can be difficult to know if libraries are buying your books, because they usually purchase books through wholesalers. One easy way to estimate how many libraries have your book on the shelf is to do a search at WorldCat, an online database of library holdings.

First, enter the title of your book in the search box and click on your book title when it comes up in the search results. To find out which libraries have your book, scroll down to the section on your book’s page called "Find a Copy in the Library" and enter your ZIP code or location in the search box.

The results screen lists the names of libraries that have reported holding your book in their collection. Not all of your library sales will show up in WorldCat because not all libraries upload their catalogs to the site. Roughly 70% of U.S. public libraries participate in WorldCat, although the percentage is higher in some states.

If you’re doing a promotion to libraries, copy the list of libraries that have your book first. If you’re contacting libraries directly, you can skip the libraries that already have the book. A few months after your library promotion, check WorldCat again, to see how the list of libraries holding your book has changed.

On your book’s WorldCat page you can also enter book reviews and keyword tags.

Want to learn more about selling to libraries? Check out The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries.

This is a reprint from Dana Lynn Smith‘s The Savvy Book Marketer.