As an author, you’re almost always going to end up with some extra copies of your book. And sometimes, you can end up with a lot of copies. We’ve seen scenarios where garages are filled with books in an attempt at a best-seller campaign or where authors have to buy back any unsold copies from a retailer after a certain amount of time. Or sometimes if you’re self-publishing it just makes sense to order a lot of copies and warehouse and ship them yourself.

But sometimes, you just come to the conclusion that you have too many books on hand and you want to get rid of them. Instead of a bulk donation to Goodwill (which might help your taxes, but likely won’t help your brand), we’ve compiled a list of ways to use those extra copies to build your brand awareness AND do good in the world, sharing your WORTHY message.

what to do with your books if you’ve got too many copies on hand

run a contest on social media

  • (Be sure and do this legally so your account doesn’t get shut off. We recommend using the Gleam platform to manage a giveaway and stay within all the ever-changing rules.)
  •  Consider making it a social engagement piece so that users get to win 2 copies and give one away to a friend, ask them to tag a friend on your post.

jump on the acts of kindness bandwagon

  • Plan to leave copies of your book to be “randomly” found around the world. This is an especially fun option if you’re doing traveling related to a book tour or speaking events.
  • Follow the lead of  Book Fairies WorldWide (or join them) and place a ribbon around the book and leave it at a famous or busy location.
  • Post a clue about where you’ve left the book on your social media to encourage your followers to tag their friends in the city/location where you’ve left the book (don’t forget to use your book-specific hashtag).
  • Find “Little Free Libraries” in your town and when you travel — leave copies there.

Consider using a card or bookplate to say something like “if you’ve found this book, it’s for you” or “free book, take me home” –don’t forget to put your social media handle(s) and websites on the card as a subtle reminder to the finder to let you know they’ve found the book!

support a charity that means something to you

  • Pick a charity and donate enough books for their staff and/or patrons to have a book club about the book (if you have a book club guide on your website, all the better for them to use the book!).
  • For example, if transgender youth speak to your heart, find an organization helping them. Or a battered women’s shelter, or whatever makes the most sense with your book. There are lots of good non-profits out there, it shouldn’t be hard to find a good fit with your book topic.
  • Let your readers give back alongside you: offer to donate to a specific foundation for every post that includes a picture of the book with a book-specific hashtag.
  • Ideally, you’ll sign each copy you’re giving away, but sometimes if you’re shipping from a store that has unsold stock, it may be easier to print bookplates and ship those separately.

Here’s a sample message we helped one of our clients craft for a donation like this:

“If you’ve found this book then I hope you’ll take the time to read it. I wrote this book to show that there is always hope and that our hearts can always heal. Tag me on social media (@username) and let me know what you think! Please note, this book is offered without expectation and as a gesture of goodwill.”

Do you have more suggestions on how to use extra books for goodwill? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or tag us on social media in your photos.

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How to use extra copies of your book or novel to share your message | The Worthy Marketing Group Blog