My Little Free Libraries Experiment

Little Free Library

A few weeks ago, I redesigned the cover of my novel and reformatted it better to my liking. Once it was approved, I ordered myself a few author copies to use in my book marketing campaigns that I have scheduled.

Unfortunately, when they arrived, I noticed something was off: there were about twenty-seven blank pages in the back of the book. When formatting a book, you want to try and get your page count to be a multiple of four; anything else will result in some blank pages.

At 361 pages, I expected there to be a few blank sheets in my book, which would’ve been fine. But 27? That was strange. If it were just the pages, I probably wouldn’t have cared but the extra pages offset the spine of the book, resulting in part of the back graphics to spill over the edge. The final result was not something I thought looked professional.

I didn’t want to waste the books, though. The inside looked great and was legible (you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover anyway, right?) so I wanted to find a way to still use these books in my overall marketing plan, but not in a way where people will purchase a defective copy.

My solution: Little Free Libraries.

If you’ve gone for a walk recently, you’ve probably seen these small book nooks around. They’re a great resource for finding new authors and titles without straying too far from home.

With the current COVID-19 lock down, they also seem like a great way to find something to read with bookstores and traditional libraries closed for the foreseeable future. So, I took three of my books, The Probability of Timeand dropped them in Little Free Libraries in multiple towns around where I live: Hartford, South Windsor, and Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Although I was happy to put these books out into the world for anyone to enjoy, the marketer in me needed to find a way to try and measure the success of this idea. It’s easy with online sales and programs such as Kindle Unlimited to see how successful marketing campaigns are, but with something so analog and out of my control, I needed something creative.

To do this, I decided to use those extra twenty-seven pages to my advantage. In the back of each book, I made a note to whoever reads it: I would love to see how far this book can go! Leave your name, location, and pass it along to someone else to enjoy! Tweet at photo to @authortimkosterI then started the log by writing my own name and hometown.

Obviously, this isn’t a foolproof method of discovering how successful my Little Free Library campaign will be, but I think it’s going to be fun to see if anyone participates. I’ll be really excited if someone tweets me a photo from another state or even another country.

I’ll make sure to update this post if anyone participates. In the meantime, let me know in the comments if you’ve ever done anything like this before and if you had any success.

If you’re interested in finding a Little Free Library near you, the organization’s website has a map where you can search by city or zip code. You may be surprised how many are in your neighborhood!

Published by Tim Koster

Tim Koster is an American author who was born and raised in Portland, Maine. After graduating from Deering High School, Tim attended Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, where he studied English with an emphasis on creative writing. In his junior year, Tim enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve as a public affairs specialist and deployed on two combat missions – his first was to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn (2011) and his second was to Syria in Support of Operation Inherent Resolve (2018). Tim currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and son.

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