I've noticed something strange lately. From time to time, readers apologize to me for getting my book at a library, as though they’re somehow doing something to be embarrassed about.
The first time this happened I laughed it off. But by the third or fourth “library confession” I decided I need to say something.
Do I like it when my book sells? Of course! (In fact, here’s how to buy a copy right now.) But I also take a longer view of my career, the literary community, and society itself. So not to dissuade anyone from buying a dozen copies of Titanshade, but here's why I love library copies:
+ Libraries buy their copies! I get paid, and my publisher gets paid. That flow of money is what keeps the publishing world ticking, and sending good books out into the world.
+ Easier to try! Books can be expensive, and that creates a barrier to trying new authors. Many people will try out a library book that they wouldn't buy, and then fall in love with it. Those folks often spread the word about great books, generating buzz and creating sales.
+ Librarians are awesome! Librarians see what's popular, and act as ambassadors, recommending books to patrons and to other libraries (who then buy a copy of their own!).
+ Libraries are a massively useful institutions. Patronage numbers help boost a given library’s profile, and help them when it comes time to justify their existence. And that, in turn, helps everyone who uses libraries as study centers, job resources, internet access, or safe haves from the world. In short, checking out a library book helps everyone in your community.
+ Pure Joy. I was a library rat growing up, and nothing in the world delights me quite like seeing my book in that crinkly mylar cover.
So yeah, buy my book! I’ll thank you for it. But if you can’t, or just prefer to get a library copy, don’t ever apologize for it. Because libraries and librarians are awesome… but so are library patrons.