Why Library and Bookstore Partnerships are Beneficial

Fifteen reasons for partnering with your local bookstore from Bookselling This Week.

In September 2009, two things became apparent to us at Lake Forest Book Store: one, e-reader sales were hurting independent booksellers, and, two, the libraries of Lake County, Illinois, were interested in and equipped to host author events, but couldn’t do so in a manner that was cost effective. These realizations led to a flurry of activity and a vigorous round of phone tag that resulted in our arranging to partner a store event with a library (and, thus, its larger venue and audience). Nearly two years later, Lake Forest Book Store works with 15 of the 20 libraries in Lake County and has plans to partner with the remaining five by the end of 2011.

When Lake Forest Book Store approached the current 15 libraries, we proposed that the store would bring authors for library events, but only with the stipulation that we would be able to sell books. The libraries were ecstatic, and the whole partnership has been beneficial on every level.

Just as bookstores need customers, libraries need patrons. State funding is based on user traffic, and lower library usage equals a smaller budget — and fewer opportunities for the community.  Author events have proved a reliable method of building patron traffic. In the past, a library that wanted to host an author had to pay a speaker’s fee, and library charters prevented internal book sales. Without the bookstore-library partnership, these events required more of a budget than they would end up stimulating.

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