Where to buy books

Your nearest Schools Library Service can advise you on the best places to buy stock.

Library Suppliers

A library supplier is a company that specialises in providing books from a wide variety of publishers – with plastic jackets, spine labels and your school ownership stamp –  for all types of libraries.   You can visit their showrooms and select books directly from their shelves, or order online using software that enables you to browse through their stock or search for individual titles.

A library supplier can also send you regular information about new books if you wish.

Library Suppliers that supply children’s books include:
(n.b. this website does not endorse any of these companies)

To ensure a wide range of resources reflecting diverse cultures, it is necessary to go elsewhere:

Local Bookshops

You may be lucky enough to have a local children’s bookshop.  While major suppliers offer bigger discounts and processing, you might be happy to support your local bookshop.  Ask them about visiting with pupils and ordering titles for you.  Click here for Booksellers Association where you can search for your nearest bookshop.

Publishers and Remainder Book Suppliers

If your school is visited by reps from individual publishers or remainder book sellers, be guided by the quality and needs of the your library – not just the cost.


Processing is the term given to the work that has to be done to a book to make it ready to put on your shelves – typically, it needs:

  • catalogue entry (see library management systems)
  • plastic jacket for paperbacks
  • school ownership stamp
  • spine label : The spine label carries the class number of the book which shows where it is to be found in the library.  In order to get the right class number on your books, you will need to discuss with the library supplier and your advisor from your nearest schools library service the best way of doing this.  An experienced librarian can classify the books as you buy them, but you might want to receive the order and classify them yourself which will mean putting the spine label on yourself.  For more discussion, see the organising the library section.

Ask your nearest Schools Library Service for advice.

Supplier selection

This is a concept developed by public libraries, and to be considered if you have a professional librarian running your library.

Supplier selection involves drawing up a contract between the school library and the library supplier to describe the range of resources you want to add to your library on a regular basis, agrees an amount to be spent and asks the library supplier to use their specialist staff to select books to match the criteria outlined in the agreement.

This should be used with caution, and needs to be monitored carefully.

Click here for an example of a supplier selection document