Thursday, August 4, 2011

Marketing with donated books

So I had this fun little idea the other day. I tend to stick to reading "classics", because I'm book-snobby like that, but every once in awhile I get talked into reading this-or-that best-seller. Because I hate throwing books away, and anyone who works in libraries knows that donations are not always looked so kindly upon by poor, over-worked, underpaid cataloging and acquisitions librarians, I have a collection of popular reading that I don't really want. Now, I do marketing and outreach for an academic library, but if I was at a public library, I think this would make a fun little promotion:

Hand-write a little note in the front of the book saying something to the effect of: "Enjoy this free book, courtesy of *** Public Library! When you're done reading it, please leave it someplace for someone else to read and enjoy!" Get stickers or stamps made with your website/facebook/twitter/blog on them, and put that under the note. In the back of the book, make a space for people to sign/date/leave a note. Leave the book on a bench outside the library (or even in a public park.)

You can then create a blog, where there's a post for each book, with a little book review. Invite users to post comments about the book, and where they found it/left it. Perhaps even have the sticker/stamp you put in the book say: "Read reviews and track this book's journey here!", with a link to the blog.

If you're worried about your constituents being mad that you're "just giving books away! with taxpayer money!" You can head the blog with a post detailing the program, and explaining it only uses *donated* books.

I don't know if the program would get any traction, but if you've got donated books (or your own unwanted books) laying around, it would be pretty easy to give it a try...

10 comments:

Jake said...

And perhaps that link to the blog could be in QR code format.

This is brilliant!

Jake said...

And perhaps the link to the blog could be a QR code.

Your idea is brilliant. Let's make it happen!

srobalino said...

This is bookcrossing. You could use your own stickers and use the bookcrossing database to track the book. I never had a lot of success with bookcrossing. Loved the idea, but I mustn't have have ever left the books in the right place

lucychili said...

Cool idea, library as a book crossing =)

Marleah said...

Bookcrossing.com has a place where you can make your own labels with an image (maybe of the library or of the library's logo), then people can register it at the site. It may be a good way to implement the idea without having to reinvent the wheel. It sounds great and is something I may consider doing at the library!

http://www.bookcrossing.com/

Jane said...

Great idea. I have seen "libraries" of donated books in "newspaper" boxes on street corners. Thanks for your idea.

allie701 said...

Sounds like a variation of bookcrossing.com which is a worldwide organization for spreading books.

Andria said...

I always take donated paperbacks with me when I travel and then scatter them along the way as I finish them. I think I just may do this small-scale on my own! Love the idea :)

destination.me said...

I thought this idea sounded very familar, so I Googled "found books" and came up with bookcrossing.com? Are you familiar with this site? The idea is similar, except that the inserts are tracking labels and one can track "their" book's progress (theoretically) around the world.

val said...

You guys! Stupid blogger never told me I had comments to moderate! I'm so sorry!

Anyway, I have heard of BookCrossing (though I didn't remember it by name.) I didn't realize they let you customize the stickers. For this to work as a promotion for the library, it has to be clear it's coming from you, and you need to be able to brand it as such. But it sounds like you probably could use that website for something like this after all. YAY INTERWEBZ!!! :)

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