ALA Editions


Publisher analysis

About the publisher

Name: ALA Editions


Purpose, objective, or mission: Publishing resources for librarians and LIS professionals worldwide to “improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal development.”1 ALA Editions focuses on publishing professional library tools and resources, and also publishes textbooks and materials for LIS programs.2

Target audience: Librarians and LIS professionals.3

Owner: American Library Association (ALA)4

Are published books peer reviewed? Yes.5

Types of books published: Books, digital content, online workshops, textbooks and materials for LIS programs.6

Medium: Print and online.7

Topics covered: From the website’s About page: “if you have ideas about improving library services and a desire to share your expertise, you might just have a book in you.”8

ALA Editions strongly encourages authors to consider diversity issues as part of a proposal or manuscript, noting that “Throughout the country, our communities are changing, and diversity is integral to library service and professionalism.”9 Authors should include information on how diversity plays a role in their proposed topic.10

Number of titles published per year: In 2012, there were 137 new titles published by ALA Editions.11

About the publisher’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: / 

Types of submissions accepted: From the proposal guidelines, ALA Editions is interested in:

  • Standards and guidelines used broadly in the library/information field
  • Basic approaches to major new developments in the field
  • Handbooks, manuals, primers, deskbooks, encyclopedias, textbooks
  • Projects that go “beyond information,” adding practical applications and other values to serve a broader audience
  • Specialized but high-value information12

Types of submissions the publisher is not interested in:

  • Fewer than one hundred doublespaced manuscript pages
  • Arcane topics or approaches and dated information
  • Theoretical treatment of practical topics
  • Dated information
  • Bibliographies without useful annotations
  • Conference proceedings
  • Historical treatments13

Submission and review process: It is highly recommended that you start with a query that describes your topic of interest, why it’s relevant/necessary, how it fits the publications’ readers needs, and a brief bit about yourself.14 Email query to appropriate staff member (see the About page for a complete list)15:  if they like it they’ll request a full proposal.16

You may also send a complete 2-3 page proposal or complete manuscripts for consideration, but ALA Editions prefers the initial query.17

If your query/proposal is not a fit for ALA Editions, you will be notified promptly.18

If accepted, ALA assigns the proposal to a “acquisitions editor” for consideration; this “sponsoring editor” prepares more information on the proposal and passed it along to a group of ALA Publishing staff to evaluate the project.  If ALA Publishing staff accept the project, then you move into the publication process. The normal publishing cycle is seven to ten months to publication after a manuscript is approved.19

For more information please see the Author Guidelines.20

Editorial tone: Professional but readable. Tailored specifically to the library community, publications can range from books for professional development to books for young adults and children, so the tone will vary depending on the nature of the publication.21

Style guide used: General style: The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, for punctuation, capitalization, quotation, abbreviation, source citation, use of italic, etc. The two types of source documentation that ALA Editions accepts are Chicago humanities style and Chicago author-date style.22

Conclusion: Evaluation of publisher’s potential for LIS authors

The ALA is a widely recognized and respected LIS resource, consulted by librarians and information professionals worldwide. ALA authors are leaders in their field, and so having a manuscript accepted for ALA Publication would provide authors with a large market for potential readership, amongst LIS professionals and peers. ALA works closely with authors on the marketing side, which includes potential to present material in ALA webinars, presentations and “meet the author” events at ALA conferences, listings in the ALA Online Store and several international and general catalog listings, and targeted media release events. From the Writer Guidelines: “Your work is in the hands of seasoned publishing pros and professional librarians. We develop, manufacture, and market your project in a way that draws good reviews and customer interest worldwide.”23


Audience analysis

About the publisher’s audience

Size: This is a very large, encompassing publishing house. ALA Editions markets every title to at least 100,000 customers.24

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Although based in Chicago, IL, ALA Editions publishes and reaches librarians and LIS professionals worldwide.25 ALA Editions “develop, manufacture, and market your project in a way that draws good reviews and customer interest worldwide.”26 ALA titles are written in English, but marketed to a worldwide audience.27

Reader characteristics: This is the more professional ALA publishing imprint, focusing on LIS professional development and improving library services. Readers are interested in library and information science, with backgrounds varying from librarian, educator,  LIS administrators and professionals. ALA is the premier Library and Information Science group around, and it would be well worth any author’s time to try to work with them. Their bias is simply pro anything LIS, rather than other publishing houses who have an LIS focus. With ALA, LIS is everything.28

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Strong, as this is the imprint of the American Library Association.29

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

You’re guaranteed a knowledgeable audience eager for new LIS material when you publish with ALA. Not only are ALA Editions books marketed on the ALA website (including ALA Store), but they’re promoted at ALA conferences and events, emailed to a huge mailing list, and heavily marketed through a partnership with Amazon. Readers of ALA Editions books are seeking LIS material specifically, and will most likely be up to date on your subject matter or, if not, curious to learn from like-minded professionals in the field. This is the first stop publisher and organization for anyone seeking LIS reading material, and is an excellent group to be a part of.

Last updated: January 25, 2018


Show 29 footnotes

  1. “About,”, accessed January 25, 2018,
  2. “About.”
  3. “About”
  4. “Home,”, accessed January 25, 2018,
  5. “About.”
  6. “Home.”
  7. “Home.”
  8. “About.”
  9. “Writing for ALA Editions,”, accessed January 25, 2017,
  10. “Writing.”
  11. “Annual Report,, accessed January 25, 2018,
  12. “Writing.”
  13. “Writing.”
  14. “Writing.”
  15. “About.”
  16. “Writing.”
  17. “Proposal Guidelines,, accessed January 25, 2018,
  18. “Writing.”
  19. “Writing.”
  20. “Writing.”
  21. “About.”
  22. “Manuscript Preparation Guidelines,”,” accessed January 25, 2018,
  23. “Writing.”
  24. “Writing.”
  25. “About.”
  26. “Writing.”
  27. “About.”
  28. “About.”
  29. “About.”
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