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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Debbie Ridpath Ohi FAQ > For Teachers and Librarians > Will you send my school or library a signed copy of your book?

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This is a list of questions I am frequently asked. Here's a list of links to my more popular pages. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie


Q. Would you donate a signed copy of your book to our school? Or send a signed bookplate? 

A. I frequently get asked if I could donate books to low-income schools, libraries, fund-raising events, other good causes. I say yes sometimes (keep reading) and feel guilty when I have to say no. Sometimes people respond with hurt and anger when I have to politely decline. Tara Lazar has an excellent blog post on this topic and here are some of my own thoughts.

Those who ask may not realize that:

- I pay for my own books (most of the authors/illustrators I know do as well). Yes, I usually get some contributor copies from my publisher, but I usually give these away early on. After that, I either pay full price or order in bulk from my publisher at a slight author discount.

- Sending a copy of my books often costs me almost as much or more than the price of the book itself in terms of postage and handling. Example: Sending a copy of I'M BORED in a padded envelope from Canada to the U.S. could cost approx. $12-33 (postage alone, not including cost of office supplies).

- It takes time to cut the padded envelope to size (I buy in bulk to save money rather than opting for different size envelopes for different size books), write a note or sign the book, package it up securely to make sure it arrives at destination intact, look up and write the address, fill out a customs form, go to and line up at the postage office). This can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, and I usually have to do this in the middle of a work day since my local post office is not open on weekends or evenings.

I still do send out books sometimes, but because of the reasons above I try to limit this to 1-2 times a month. I usually opt for local causes close to my heart, and to those who approach me directly with a personal note rather than a mass mailing/post.

How to make a request:

If you are a school or library, I'm happy to mail you an autographed book plate; just ask. If you can't send me a self-addressed stamped envelope (please remember I'm in Canada, not the U.S., so the envelope would need Canadian postage), then a small donation to First Book Canada would be appreciated instead. You can find current Canadian postal rates here.

If you're an umbrella organization or association asking for a book donation, I usually fulfill 1-2 requests a month. I'd appreciate you including a link to promotional materials that tell me more about your project. Please use my Contact Form.

BONUS TIP for those who read this far: You have a much better chance when approaching an author or illustrator a book donation if you make your request personal and NOT a mass tweet or email. Explain why you are approaching that particular author or illustrator. Even then, they may still have to politely decline. If they do, please try not to take it personally. 

Related resources:

Authors and Book Donations: A Tricky-Tray Dilemma - by Tara Lazar

Last updated on October 8, 2018 by Debbie Ohi