How Publishers Sell Books to Libraries

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Today's library is an information center. At the large local public library I use, in addition to tens of thousands of books, there are a few hundred different magazines on file, and five years of The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times that can be accessed on microfiche.

Acquisitions are a major library function. To keep up with new releases of books, librarians read the book review sections of major newspapers, examine publishers' announcements and catalogs, and scan the industry's trade publications. In addition, they study the important review services, such as Kirkus and Booklist.

In terms of scope, there are about seventy-five thousand elementary, junior high, and high school libraries, about eighteen hundred college libraries, and almost ten thousand public libraries, with combined yearly purchases of more than $1.6 billion. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimates that there are 150,000 people staffing these libraries.

Large universities often have a number of different libraries to facilitate their various areas of specialization.

About 70 percent of a library's purchases of books are made through library jobbers who are particularly attuned to the needs of these institutions. With access to as many as ninety thousand titles in stock, and electronic ordering capacity, a jobber is a very efficient source.

In recent years, libraries have joined in regional associations and networks in order to increase their ordering efficiency.

John Wiley & Sons publishes about fifteen hundred books and related information products each year and maintains a backlist of about nine thousand titles in four hundred disciplines. It has a roster of approximately eleven thousand authors and thirteen hundred employees worldwide. Incidentally, Wiley's headquarters is still in New York. The company has annual net sales of more than $200 million.

The category of professional book publishing encompasses a broad range of disciplines and professions. It includes textbooks in the fields of law, medicine, business, science, mathematics, computers, and books for working professionals in these areas.

Each year there are about fourteen hundred books published on business, twelve hundred on law, twenty-seven hundred on science, and more than three thousand on medicine in the broad scope of professional book publishing. Literary Market Place (LMP) lists approximately five hundred publishers in the scientific and technical categories alone.

Career Tip

Publishers in this field are located all across the country. If you think your talents qualify you for employment with these companies, consult for names and addresses.
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