Libraries are not only critical resources for their communities, they are also some of our greatest partners in driving word-of-mouth for Random House authors and books. The American Library Association conference concluded a week ago in Anaheim, making this a great time to give you a glimpse into how we work with libraries.
Libraries obviously play a key role in creating a culture of readers and in promoting literacy. Beyond individual interactions between librarians and their patrons, libraries are driving broader initiatives that help readers discover books. The One Book, One Community program, which works like a community-wide book club, is just one way libraries generate creative ideas to engage broad groups of readers. This marketing contribution goes above and beyond the more straightforward role libraries play as a significant direct source of book sales. They have always been important customers for us.
Random House partners closely with libraries in a variety of ways. We are in a unique position, in that we maintain both marketing and direct sales relationships with a large number of public libraries. The actual distribution process to libraries is often handled by specialized wholesalers, but because we know that raising the awareness of our titles with librarians in person is vital, our sales reps have direct relationships with most of the country’s library systems.
In addition to the sales reps, our library marketing teams know an enormous number of librarians personally, and librarians have a good sense of what their patrons like to borrow. Our marketing teams use this knowledge to customize their outreach, with advance reader’s copies and supporting materials. Marketers and reps are actively engaged with reading group leaders at libraries and influencers in the One Book, One Community sphere, and they further support libraries with social media outreach and campaigns.
Libraries are great venues for author appearances. Our adult and children’s library marketing teams work very closely with libraries to arrange book events at branches across the country. Most of these are in-person events, but virtual interactive author events via Skype are gaining in popularity.
Beyond outreach to specific libraries on behalf of our authors, our teams attend a variety of national and state library conferences, where they can reach a large number of librarians at a time, take part in panel discussions, and present the books for the upcoming season. Furthermore, we have created a Library Advisory Board that convenes twice a year to discuss the promotion of Random House books and authors, among other topics.