One Way a Free Book Exchange Helps Indie Authors — and Literacy

I haven’t been putting a lot of attention towards marketing lately, either for Raccoon Rescue or for Raccoon Retreat — at least, not yet. So it was a lovely surprise when a friend sent me a series of pictures she’d taken, getting a copy of Raccoon Rescue stocked in a local free book exchange!

The free book exchange concept

Perhaps the best known example of a free book exchange is the Little Free Library: “… a ‘take a book, return a book’ free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share.”

They’re a great supplement to public libraries, a less formal way for people to share their favorite books — and to support independent authors and publishers!

The Boston Athenæum’s Free Book Exchange

The Boston Athenæum, according to its website, “is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States…. ‘an establishment similar to that of the Athenæum and Lyceum of Liverpool in Great Britain; combining the advantages of a public library [and] containing the great works of learning and science in all languages.’”

A friend from my freelance sphere purchased a copy of Raccoon Rescue to donate to the Athenæum’s new Free Book Exchange, which is, according to this calligrapher’s lovely blog post, part of an exhibition known as “Required Reading.”

The text in the image reads:
The Athenæum’s Free Book Exchange takes inspiration from Bray’s vision of putting books into everyone’s hands. We invite you to take a free book or leave one here for someone else.
Open the bookpress door.
Take a book.
Tell the Security Officer in the lobby about the book you have chosen on your way out. Our staffers love to talk about books and see what people are reading.
Leave a book.
Bring in a children’s or young adult book to donate. Visit the Circulation Desk to have your book stamped before adding it to the Free Book Exchange.

I’m already thinking about marketing Raccoon Retreat and the Living Wild Side by Side series overall, and a free book exchange contest of some kind would make a great challenge. Many thanks to my friend, Lodrina Cherne, for the inspiration — and for her support!

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