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Please DON’T Buy My Book! (one author’s plea)

Guest post from Tricia of

I’m an author, and I love readers (of course!). I get excited when I know someone out there is so engrossed in one of my novels that she misses sleep. However, I also love when readers don’t buy my books.

Do you have an author you love? Instead of buying the book ask your local library to purchase a copy… or two.

Here’s why I love my readers turn to their local libraries to get my books:

1. If the library has it, then checking it out tells the librarian it’s good. This means the library orders the next one I write.

2. If the library doesn’t have it, you can ask the librarian to order it. Most libraries have a system for recommendations. Libraries have a budget for books, and they are happy to oblige.

3. When you request a book it gets put on the shelf and others pick it up. If they read it—and love it—that means more fans for me!

4. And if you read a book that you really enjoyed, let your librarian know! Librarians are one of the greatest resources on the planet. They get asked daily for recommendations. If you have an author you love, spread the word.

5. Finally, when you’re talking to that librarian make sure you thank her (or him!) for buying all those books so you don’t have to! Just think of all the thousands of resources and literary adventures available to all of us for FREE!

How often do you frequent your local library?

Tricia Goyer wife, mom of six, author of 34 books… and a familiar face at her local library. You can read more about Tricia at or at at Mom Life Today.

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  • Love this! I often feel guilt when I want to tell the author I’m getting it from the library, but this helps ease that guilt! Makes plenty of sense to me!

  • Holly Fieger says:

    What a great post-particularly an author recommending the library. I LOVE our local library and almost never buy books because of wanting to be wise with my money. But, I do want authors to get what they deserve for writing and it was great to see ways we can help them to do so. Our library does a wonderful job of carrying many christian authors and always surprises me that they have some of the latest Christian books available as well. Thanks for the post!

  • Sakura says:

    We start with our first trip each month, depending on how quickly we finish reading we’ll then head back for another batch. My husband on the other hand seems to be there once or twice a week. He is an avid reader.

  • Heather says:

    I have done this on many books. We just don’t have the budget to buy books. I even did it with Crystal’s book back when it first came out! Now our library has six copies and there is always a hold line for it.

  • Debbie says:

    I’m sharing this! Very good advice. We want to keep our libraries in business anyway.

  • Karen says:

    Our family loves going to the library. We actually frequent several in our area. We do have one favorite library that we always go to. Our area was devistated by Hurricane Katrina and this library lost everything in the flooding (even the building). When the time came to order books for the new library they asked everyone for recamendations. They specifically asked us since we were always in the temporary library. So of course we gave them a list and now were are so excitted because we get to check out some of the titles that we helped the library get.

  • Susan says:

    As a fellow author, YES! All publicity is good publicity! I love it when people tell me they’ve checked my books out of the library or recommended that their library purchase them.

  • Amanda says:

    My kids have been interrupting story times since they could talk! I’m at the library at least once a week, sometimes twice, and i’ve been tutoring there too, so I’m actually EARNING money at the library now! =D I am so bad about grabbing the first of a series for free on Kindle, and then getting so caught up in it I have to go hunt down the others at the library. I’ve often had to put out some interlibrary loan requests to track down the ones our system is missing. Love, love, love the library.

    I also love browsing the books shelves at goodwill for children’s classics. Paperbacks there are $0.50, so I’ve been able to build us up a nice little library at home, too.

  • Megan says:

    As a librarian, I can’t reiterate how important #4 is. We have numerous ways to find out about authors and titles, but it’s great to get feedback from library users.

  • Brooke F. says:

    Fact is, the library is not a FREE resource. Just look at your property tax statement and you can see that you may spend as much as $80 a year for your use of the library. If you’re not using this fabulous resource, you’re paying quite a bit for everyone else to use it! I certainly don’t like to pay for something I don’t use.

    • Tricia Goyer says:

      Wow, that’s a great point, Brooke!

    • Theresa says:

      We live in a very small town with no library so we pay for a library card in a larger town close by. People are always surprised that we “pay” to use the library. I have to explain that they “pay” as well (whether they use the library or not!) just through taxes so many don’t notice it and since we are not in the libraries taxing district we pay directly. We pay approximately $60 which is well worth it in all we save by checking out books and we love the library!

      • Elizabeth K says:

        In Colorado, the libraries do not charge you for the library card, even if you don’t live in the district or town. I have a card from a library 1/2 an hour away, and another 2 1/2 hours away! Colorado also has a system in which you can turn in a library book at any library in CO, and they will take it back to the library which it was checked out from.

    • Terra W says:

      The funny thing is most people don’t even realize that they’re paying for it! When we moved to our small “village” in N. IL I resisted having to pay almost $80/yr for the library. But being a book lover & homeschooler that quickly went by the wayside. Especially after I learned that they calculate my fee based on the same property tax rate that everyone else pays. That made me feel better! But, after 8 1/2 years, I still have to inform people that they pay too, they just don’t “see” it like I do.

      • Angela says:

        We live outside our city’s limit so we have to pay a fee to have a library card. I really do get a lot of use out of my card and feel it is worth the money spent. The workers know me by name and I usually have at least 3-5 books on the hold-shelf. Our particular library is part of a larger cooperative of libraries which gives us access to many more resources which is so helpful. The library also has wonderful reading programs in the summer for all ages. I use the library as a sort of guinea pig…if I check out a book and absolutely love it, then I will go ahead and purchase it for my own use at home. Now if I could just get more organized about our library books…it seems we are forever hunting for that “one library” book, lol!

  • Victoria says:

    I am a huge library user (and unfortunately late fine payer too! but hey those monies are used to by more books right? LOL) . Since my kids are such visual learners I do the same thing this article recommends with educational DVD’s I request them and then get to be the first one to take them out. The librarians let me know that the titles I request are often the most popular which leads them to wanting to bring in more of my requests.

    • Tricia Goyer says:

      Oh, let’s not mention library fines. LOL! Been there, paid them.

    • Elizabeth K says:

      The library that I usually go to is strict with its fines. I have paid too much for that! My kids found out about a library which is closer, and for some reason, they don’t charge late fees! They only suspend library privileges if the item isn’t returned within 20 days of being overdue.

  • NaDell says:

    I love doing that! I often recommend books for the library to purchase and they always do. I want there to be more than just junk there for people to read!

  • Lynn says:

    LOVE, Love, love this post! Libraries are a wonderful and great resources that I wish more people would utilize. I’m not a fan of ebooks, etc. (even when free or cheap!) and am thrilled to hear an author promo going to the Library for a book.
    Thanks, Tricia!

  • Kimberly says:

    Or if you do buy a book, consider donating it to your library when you are finished!

    • Donna says:

      Agreed. I’ve recently supported some of my favorite authors by buying their book, reading it and then offering it as a donation to the local library. A way to share when I am able to do so.

    • Tricia Goyer says:

      Some books use donations for their shelves, but some use them for their book sales. But I agree, spread the love!

      • Yes, I was going to donate a book b/c I loved it so much that I wanted many others to enjoy it…but then I found out that if a book doesn’t suit their needs, for whatever reason…it gets sold for $.50. And for some reason that just made me sad…I’d rather donate $.50 and keep my book. Even though really it doesn’t make logical sense because someone would still be blessed with a great deal…but something about making my beloved book be only “worth” $.50 just made me sad! lol

    • relrev says:

      It’s a nice idea, but be aware, libraries usually just sell donated books – even brand new ones. If you’re donating so they can make a quarter or two, great, but if you are looking to share a good book that they don’t have, you really need to go through their own requisition request process. #governmentbureaucracy

  • Elizabeth Kane says:

    Never thought of supporting an author’s work like this, but it makes complete sense. Those featured books in the library definitely aren’t picked randomly!

  • We use our library constantly. Our librarian knows us now because we are in there so much. Between our reading and the kids books, we always have a ton checked out.

    I loved hearing this from an author, though. I’m pretty surprised to hear an author say not to buy a book .;)

    • Tricia Goyer says:

      Johanna, my daughter-in-law lives in the town where I lived for 15 years and recently the librarian told her to tell me they missed me there! They knew me … and my reading tastes … well!

    • relrev says:

      Well, technically the author said to get someone else to buy it on your behalf, essentially recruiting you for marketing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not out of some altruistic generosity.

  • Brooke says:

    I work at my local public library – in the department that orders the books and other mateirals for our entire library district – and a big chunk of our budget goes toward fulfilling patron requests. Yes, submit requests, we listen!!!!

  • Heather says:

    I love my library! It’s tiny, but I have very little time to read these days so that works okay for me 🙂 Our library also has a cake pan loan system where patrons can check out shaped cake pans.

  • Shirley says:

    I love the library! We try to visit at least once a month as a family, and even my 4 and 6 year old have library cards! Its a great way to get fantastic books to read and variety in our reading!

  • Kimber says:

    Well, I am happy to say what I have recently read several of your books, all borrowed from the library, Tricia! :o) I had to wait several weeks for Beyond Hope’s Valley — I was so excited to see how the story ended! Loved it!!

  • shelly says:

    As a mom of two on a small budget, I often use the library to get my book fix. I wish the library had more titles available but they cut our library’s budget last year. Glad to know that authors are happy to see their books on the shelves! 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    My daughter “lives” in our local library. Our library is small but it participates in a co-op with libraries in the area. We make good use out of having books delivered from other libraries when ours doesn’t own a copy. I’m hoping this is also a way to get our library to purchase them.

  • Thanks Tricia! I always feel a little guilty telling someone I read their book from the library (even though I justify it to myself by doing all the things you mention…lol), and it’s nice to know that an author would encourage this! Awesome 🙂

  • RuthS says:

    Thumbs up for this post from a librarian 🙂

  • KimH says:

    This is a great post.. And thanks Trisha.. I’ve read almost all your books our library system has and love them. I particularly love the Amish themed stories.

    I live outside of Cleveland Oh and our library system is part of a 130+ consortium. All I have to do to get almost any book is to go to the online website, look up the book & place a hold. It’ll go to my favorite or any other library I’d like it to go to. Its fantastic and Im not restricted to only a few libraries. Its an amazing resource.

    I always have a large list of books on hold, or in a “for later” list when my hold and checked out list gets too big..

    I’ve gotten to be good pals chatting with the librarians at one of my favorite libraries. They told me that they appreciate my holds being processed to their library as that in turn gives them more funding to buy more books.

    Also, any book I have ever suggested the library system purchase has always been purchased. Its a wonderful wonderful world!!

  • Heather Hart says:

    Our library has very low funds so they can’t order many new books. My compensation has been buying the books I love and donating them after I read them. It’s a win-win. 😉

  • Terra W says:

    I very rarely buy books. I visit my library once a week and me and the kids check out multiple books and videos every time! We probably save thousands of dollars each year by using our local library!

  • Stephani Rankin says:

    Wow!! This puts me at ease. I’m always asking my local library if they have or will order a book if I don’t see it on the shelves. Now, I may not feel guilty for not purchasing a book. THANK YOU!!

  • Samantha says:

    All the time. I rarely buy books 🙂 I am blessed to have a library that offers free ILL and all of the librarians are so nice!

  • denise says:

    I love this but I have to say that my level of patience for waiting for the library to purchase the book is VERY LOW! Usually the process is pretty slow and when I’m looking forward to reading a new book by one of my favorite authors I can’t stand the wait!

  • Courtney says:

    We go to the library weekly – every Monday that isn’t a holiday. It’s the story hour for my kids age, and we pick out new books.

    Something cool my library started doing is printing “You saved $xxx” by using your local library today. I borrowed a DVD set today that apparently retails for $129.99!!!! It’s fun to see how much we are saving. Not to mention the book shelf space, and the energy from decluttering I don’t have to use.

  • I frequent two local libraries, at least once a week each! I have recommended books that have been purchased…a great feeling, by the way! I highly recommend it! I am currently working on recommending books for their Reader’s Choice program! I used to work in a library and while working there I discovered the Sisterchicks books by Robin Jones Gunn and through her (on twitter) I discovered you, so ya, finding books on a shelf or on display at a library is a great resource! Although, non fiction books, I’d rather have my own copy to mark up and highlight, lol…great post! Thank you! 🙂

  • Kara M says:

    Love hearing this side of it from an author. I’m a HUGE believer in the library and frequent it weekly at a minimum. It’s an easy way to help the environment and be frugal.

  • Corey Lesko says:

    I love this post! My husband and I are on a tight budget to save some money right now so buying books is not an option and the library is (and has always been) one of my best friends. So far I have gotten all your books from the Library and love chatting with the Librarian about them. Most of them are not in our system so I have to wait a little longer but it makes it much more worth it when I do get them. And now I have a couple of our librians interested in them too! Also getting books from the library makes it much more special I think when you get your own book for Christmas or a Birthday. It holds a lot more value because you know you will love it read it again and again and it does not become wasted space!

  • Steph says:

    I love this! Thank you so much for posting these great reasons not to buy our favourite authors’ books. Makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Bonnie Way says:

    We go to our library at least once or twice a week. Many libraries have an easy, online system for requesting books that you want to read – I’ve done this several times because I don’t have the budget to buy all the books I want! 🙂

  • mbw says:

    As a children’s librarian, I am thrilled when anyone sends new people our way, or even reminds old friends to come back and see us again. But, your library is NOT FREE ! Most libraries are tax supported Like free public education, somebody, somewhere is paying for this, and it is usually you to some degree. So, come to your library, and hopefully you won’t be charged for a library card (some do), and go to your city council and/or county commissioners meeting (whoever is in charge of your library’s funding) and show some support by telling them how much your library means to you!

  • Tammy Pederson says:

    I have always loved the library. I love books – and I love saving money. It is a win-win. I buy the books that are special to me, the ones I want to keep on my shelf, but that is usually after reading copies from the library! It’s a great way to try new authors and re-visit favorites. Thanks Tricia!
    P.S. I would love to work at a library, but I would never get any “work” done, I would be hiding in the stacks reading!

  • Laurie Flockenzier says:

    I was so pleased to see this Tricia. When I met you at a book signing in Mansfield, Ohio I brought with me several books from my local library for you to sign. As a former library clerk for several years, I know our readers loved to have books signed by the authors even though that was rarely possible. I am such a proponent of the library, but I worried about what you might think, my having brought library books rather than purchasing them. I am thrilled to see your ideas on this subject. Since I am a voracious reading, often reading over 100 books per year, there is no way I could afford to purchase all of those. I do however, recommend your books to others and buy them as gifts. As a library clerk I did recommend them and still let my local librarians know how much I love them and know they too suggest them to other readers. Bless you for writing the words that speak to our hearts and touch our souls. And bless you too for supporting and praising our libraries!

  • I grew up loving the library! I was teased that I judged a town by it’s library, but I learned at a young age the tricks to making the library the type of place you want to you use.
    If they don’t carry the books that you want, ask for them. Ask for them until the library knows you so well, when they see you requested a book, they usually buy it! = )

    I worked at a library as a teen, and dream of working there someday again, but for now, we go at least once a week or sometimes more like 3 times a week. I volunteer there once a week for the past year and half as well. It is very nice to be able to do that. A man asked me after the librarian was teasing me about it, what she meant. I explained about the job I was doing and he said “Wow, at least you earn your paycheck!” I then I explained that I volunteer to do it for free. He looked at me with amazement and said “You must really love the library!”

    I do really love the library and I want to be sure that I support it as much as I can! It is a sad week when I have less than 30 books checked out! = )
    And yes, they buy all of Tricia’s books!!!

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