What is the Indie Author Project (IAP) Data Collaboration?

Over the past few years, BiblioBoard has been experimenting with partnerships between indie authors and public libraries. By prioritizing community engagement programming focused on supporting their local writing communities, public libraries become the on-ramp and long-term repository for locally authored eBooks. All the eBooks submitted are then curated by industry professionals such as Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and library editorial boards across North America as part of the regional indie book contests.

The best of these indie eBooks (as decided by aforementioned curators) are elevated and then distributed in the IAP Select collection available on major public library eBook platforms. We know patrons love these eBooks; with over a half-million circulations on Indie Author Project Select titles from our most recent reporting period. This usage data, combined with almost a year of sales & royalty data, presents a transformative opportunity to measure the impact of public library-driven community engagement programs.

We have created a transparent reporting system to measure public library contribution to author eBook royalties in their own creative communities. The nature of the publishing and book industry supply chain in general and a lack of transparency has made such a system impossible up until now.

Within this more tightly knit public library + author community project, we can measure and report how much a library contributes to the royalty pool and how that money is distributed to their own local authors. We can also report how public libraries are working together across their own states and regions to support their local writing community. The long-term implications of making all this data transparent to libraries will be valuable in terms of articulating to their own stakeholders the contributions they are making to the economic and creative health of their own communities.

Every Journey Begins With a Step

Things start small, but we believe that libraries will find joy in knowing how their eBook budgets are impacting their local creative economy. And we will have fun being able to watch that impact grow together. It’s tough to know what’s comparable to the data we are presenting here as there has never been anything quite like this before.

Here is what we do know: the money these authors have received from the IAP program, made possible by their own local library, is likely the first money they have ever received that they *know* came from selling their eBooks to libraries. And several authors have told us they are earning more in this program than they are in major retail channels. That seems like a good start.

To help us in this effort we have put together an Advisory Board of leading library and publishing industry professionals to help us manage the data sets and publish them. You can read about our stellar Advisory Board in this blog post and this blog post. We are also working closely with our friends at EveryLibrary as a publishing partner for the data sets as they work to measure the impact and value created by public libraries across the world.

Below are some interesting charts and data from our most recent data push, which we will publish in a comprehensive white paper this fall. This is just a small preview of the kinds of impact metrics we will be able to generate as the program grows.

Local Economic Impact

Total authors earning royalties in the most recent reporting period: 454 (+62)
Total authors earning > $100 in royalties in the most recent reporting period: 192 (+40)
Total Public Libraries Producing Royalties for Local Authors: 322 (+36)
As of July 2021

Top Public Library Royalty Earning Libraries

Figures are author royalties earned from that library’s own local authors in the latest reporting period

Hampton Public Library » $2,976.42
Los Angeles Public Library » $2,063.55
St. Louis County Library » $1,472.80
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System » $1,422.63
San Diego Public Library » $1,207.82
Austin Public Library » $1,420.41
San Diego Public Library » $1,403.17
New York Public Library » $1,332.04
Massanutten Regional Library » $1,127.22
Brooklyn Public Library » $1,071.25
Seattle Public Library » $1,074.17
Pikes Peak Library District » $972.58
Tyrone-Snyder Public Library » $931.19
Mid-Continent Public Library » $882.28
Arapahoe Libraries » $853.42
Howard County Library System » $796.00
DC Public Library » $788.33
San Diego County Library » $740.36
Northbrook Public Library » $695.71
Mobile Public Library » $694.13
Alameda County Library System » $691.13
Hennepin County Library » $669.79
Cuyahoga County Public Library » $658.07
Dakota County Library » $648.17
San Jose Public Library » $541.61
Calgary Public Library » $538.96

Total public libraries with royalty-earning authors in the reporting period: 286

Top Regional Contributors to the IAP Royalty Pool

Figures are author royalties earned from the aggregate public libraries in these specific regions in the latest reporting period

California » $10,515.81
Virginia » $6,256.51
New York » $4,043.18
Texas » $2,997.68
North Carolina » $2,715.70
Missouri » $2,678.40
Washington » $2,672.49
Florida » $2,625.37
Illinois » $2,166.29
Colorado » $2,010.28
Minnesota » $1,934.87
Pennsylvania » $1,657.45
Ohio » $1,651.54
Ontario » $1,498.11
Maryland » $1,432.39
Massachusetts » $1,141.61
Oregon » $1,030.42
Alabama » $860.24
Michigan » $810.99
Kentucky » $802.47
Wisconsin » $761.97
Arizona » $630.92
Georgia » $624.14
South Carolina » $613.46
Alberta » $590.97

Top Circulations by Author Home Library

Figures are circulations aggregated for all authors from the following library systems in the latest reporting period

Arapahoe Libraries » 34,523
Sacramento Public Library » 20,665
Austin Public Library » 19,928
Massanutten Regional Library » 19,636
Doylestown Public Library » 18,553
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System » 17,186
Brooklyn Public Library » 16,119
St. Louis County Library » 14,533
Chesterfield Township Library » 14,441
Deltona Public Library » 13,641
Los Angeles Public Library » 15,041
Brighton Public Library » 12,300
Pittsford Community Library » 11,932
Hampton Public Library » 11,728
Santa Clara County Library District » 9,927
Twinsburg Public Library » 9,335
Mid-Continent Public Library » 10,196
New York Public Library » 8,817
Seattle Public Library » 8,460
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh » 7,401
Jefferson-Madison Regional Library » 8,249
San Diego Public Library » 7,692
Camas Public Library » 7,604
Oakland Public Library » 7,010
Vancouver Public Library » 6,686