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Book Collection

In order to have a successful sale, you need as many books as possible. If your Library has a Public Relations director, he will be able to put a notice in the newspaper that you are collecting books, state specific dates for the collection and the place of collection.In addition, committee or Friends’ members may receive permission to place flyers in their places of employment or in various markets. When making the request for books, it is important to note any specific types of books you do not want. Readers Digest Condensed books, encyclopedias, textbooks more than 10 years old, for example, are not the best sellers at a sale. It is a good idea to list the types of donations you would like: books in good to excellent condition, both fiction and non-fiction, quality sets, children’s books, media, and records (if you decide to sell them).

However, unfortunately, it often does not matter what limits you place on donations. Unless there is someone there to monitor what is coming in, you will no doubt receive many, many hundreds of books that are not suitable for sale. This is an occupational hazard that few books sales prevent. However, if you live by the saying, “You have to kiss many frogs before you find a prince,” you maintain a sense of humor through it all and you will find there will be many wonderful books donated to you. For the most part, you should be very happy with what is donated to you.

Once the word is out, the books will come quickly and in great number.

Book Sale Advertising & Marketing Ideas

Compiled by Lisa Mathews

Computer Media

  • Book Sale Finder
  • Book Sale Pirate
  • Facebook (Library & FOL pages)
  • FOCL Book Sale Calendar
  • Instagram
  • Kik Messenger
  • Local Patch Page
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter (Library & FOL pages)
  • Virtual Backpack
  • WhoFish

Library Advertising

  • Calendar Page
  • Email Friends members & patrons
  • Flyers
    • placed in Book Page or Parenting Magazine
    • passed out to patrons
  • Library page in newspaper
  • Library Newsletter
  • Library webpage
  • Posters on bulletin boards
  • Roadside signs with book sale hours


Paying for advertising is not necessary, your info counts as News
  • Hartford Advocate
  • The Hartford Courant
    • Korky Vann Savvy Shopper
    • Free for All! Coupon
  • Local Heralds
  • Local Citizens
  • Rare Reminders

TV & Radio

  • Fox CT "Charity Events" with Ben Goldman
  • NBC 30 Out and About
  • The River 105.9 Rene's Blog for Non-Profit Events

Other Options

  • Community Center Newsletter
  • FOL table at Fairs, School Picnics, etc.
  • FOL members march in parade
  • Movie Theater Advertisements
  • Posters at local businesses
  • Senior Center Newsletter
  • Sign on the Town Green

Book Sale Publicity Tips:

Marketing: Your Book Sale should always have a basic flyer and business cards with the sale hours and the Library website highlighted. This will connect Library, Friends and FOL Book Sale info. By clicking on the website, they can then get more information, such as the donation criteria and how to join the Friends. Post the flyers for upcoming Library events at the entrance to your sale for customers to view. Once the event has passed, you can place the poster in a binder that will act as a portfolio for your Library/FOL. You can then bring the portfolio to community events to show people how you help the Library.

Networking: Touch base with someone who works at your local Community Center. They will have contact information for people in town who can further help you advertise your FOL Book Sale. Have a librarian be a contact person so they can put your Book Sale info in their Library newsletters, calendars, etc. Give your contacts at Newspapers plenty of advance notice of your Book Sale. Your event counts as “news” and therefore should be free. This saves money on having to pay for an advertisement. 

Advertising: Ask owners of local businesses to put up Book Sale posters for their customers to view. You can also have flyers available for customers to take. Putting flyers on parked cars is an option, but always ask first.

Several sites on-line will publicize your sale for a minimal fee and provide broad coverage, even including surrounding states: http://www.booksalefinder.com. And http://www.whofish.org are two examples of sites that offer widespread coverage. In addition, paid ads in local newspapers are important, and it is also very important to check for possible free publicity in the papers weekend sections or library news update pages. There are also radio, television, and cable stations that will publicize your event.

IMPORTANT: It is sometimes amazing how much advance notice is required for submission of advertising for a specific event. Check early on the due dates for publication of your event. Obviously, the more publicity you have the more exposure you have and the greater potential for a better sale.

Other Book Sale Resources

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