SELF-e — Connecting Libraries, Readers & Self-Published AuthorsWith perhaps as many as 600,000 indie books appearing each year, the library market is a tough nut to crack for the self-published.

But what if Library Journal vetted your e-book and—let’s be optimistic—pronounced it library-worth? That’s the idea of  SELF-e, and in a guest post in Jane Friedman’s blog, publishing consultant Porter Anderson explores the pros and cons.

One negative of SELF-e, he says, is that the program does “not pay you a royalty when your ebook is checked out by a library patron. It costs you nothing to get into this arena for discovery but it also will not pay you in royalties”—a contrast to the model commonly used by, say, OverDrive. The SELF-e site itself also reviews the pluses and minuses.

Powering SELF-e is technology from BiblioLabs and BiblioBoards. They reach nearly 2,700 libraries, although I don’t know if all offer SELF-e.

This isn’t the only path to libraries. Smashwords, for example, is another (details here and here). So’s ebooksareforever (author guidance here).

In addition, you should check with your local public library about resources for the self-published. Some local systems may even serve as publishers.

Meanwhile here’s a call to all TeleReaders who are self-published writers. What are your experiences getting into public libraries, or trying to? Any tips for others? Share your thoughts in our comments area.

Related: Library Journal Self-Published Awards 2015. The submissions deadline is August 31.


  1. Several years ago, I self-published a YA historical novel, “Bet: Stowaway Daughter,” which was based on research I did in the Seattle area. I offered a free copy to my local library system, but the copy was refused, because OverDrive, which handles Seattle’s library ebooks, wouldn’t accept it.

    A few weeks ago, I was approached by my contact at Seattle Public Library who asked if I was still interested in donating my book. Of course, I said Yes, and he suggested I submit it to Self-E, which the library is using to handle indie books. I’m hoping my novel will appear in the SPL catalog soon.

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