How publishers can participate in Loan Stars

Loan Stars is a readers' advisory tool that allows library staff across Canada to recommend forthcoming titles they deem essential for Canadian libraries. Each month, the books with the most recommendations become part of a top 10 list(s). These lists are shared by the media and public libraries. To be eligible for top pick status, a book must be:

  • publishing for the first time;
  • forthcoming;
  • English-language; and,
  • listed in BNC CataList.

But how can your books become Loan Stars picks? 

How Loan Stars works — from a library perspective

Library users have access to unique features within CataList. One of these features is the ability to see and act on "Recommend" buttons that are visible on eligible forthcoming titles.

Each month, library staff log in to CataList and request reading copies of upcoming books, view available auxiliary content (such as samples and/or excerpts), and even write reviews to go along with their recommendations. Library staff can recommend as many titles as they wish, though they can only recommend a single title once.

The Loan Stars schedule

The nomination period for a title starts as soon as the book is uploaded to CataList, and ends a month before the book's publication date. For example, the nomination period for a book publishing in September will end at 11:59 pm ET on July 31. The September list will be released during the first week of August.

For the Loan Stars Jr. list, the schedule operates slightly differently: Instead of releasing 12 lists per year, or one per month, Loan Stars Jr. releases six lists per year, or one every two months. Recommending books for the Loan Stars Jr. list is handled in exactly the same way as it is for the adult list — the only difference being that the books that appear on this list are intended for younger audiences, including picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction and non-fiction. 

So, when should you have your books ready for review? The best way to have your book become a Loan Stars pick is to add it to CataList four to five months before publication and upload a sample of the first few chapters to BiblioShare at the same time. This is the best practice for both lists.

Reading copy requests

If you provide reading copies to some readers but not all, you can choose to allow only certain types of users to submit requests when enabling the request form in CataList.

To enable the "Reading Copies" feature, log in to your CataList account. Please note that CataList is not a free service to publishers, and if you do not already have an account, please contact for further information about our services and rates.

To turn on reading copy requests, simply click the cog icon at top-right to access your Settings. Then choose the Reading Copies tab. Click "Yes" to access all of the options, including what types of books you'd like to offer and who you would like to offer them to. While you can restrict by category (fiction, non-fiction, juvenile, adult), you cannot restrict by title. All of your books that meet these requirements will be offered to your chosen population of readers. If you would like to offer reading copies to a select group of readers, please check off your preferences (libraries, media, retailers, wholesalers, and/or self-registered users) in the form. Make sure to provide an email address of where you'd like these requests to be sent within your company. Please note: Only account managers can set these preferences, but anyone can receive the requests as long as their email address is supplied. 

If you also want to receive a weekly report that summarizes all of your individual requests, check the box for "Email a weekly summary of all reading copy requests." Once you have made your choices, click Save.

All requests that come through CataList are at your discretion to fulfill. You are not required to fulfill each request, but we do recommend letting readers know if the book they requested becomes unavailable.

Requests made through CataList can be for either digital or physical copies. If you don't have available the format being requested, you can always contact the reader to see if they'd like a different format. 

You can also use NetGalley, a digital galley service that connects professional readers to upcoming titles and allows publishers to receive feedback. Titles that can be requested through both NetGalley and CataList will display both options to users. Readers who choose NetGalley will be taken to NetGalley's website and requests will come from their site. CataList allows users to also search and browse for titles on NetGalley.

If you are interested in using NetGalley, please visit their site at for more information on their programs and rates.

Samples, excerpts, and interior images, oh my! 

If you don't plan to release a reading copy of a specific title there is a way to make portions of your books available through CataList. You can provide samples, excerpts, or interior images of your titles that will be available to trade only accounts. You can deliver these additional items through the BookNet BiblioShare FTP. 

All you need to do is follow our simple naming convention and drop 'em in the correct folder (i.e., either the Sample or Image folder, depending on what you're sending) within the BiblioShare FTP

You can also provide excerpt information via your ONIX. In the OtherText composite, the following type codes will be imported from list 33:

  • '04' - Table of Contents
  • '23' - Excerpt
  • '41' - Reading Group Guide

Samples: ISBN_Sample (e.g., 9781546789232_Sample)

Samples must be either a PDF or EPUB and loaded into the "Sample" directory on the BiblioShare FTP.

Samples, in all honesty, can be anything you wish them to be. They are a single separate file that contains as much or as little as you'd like to distribute. Common practice for samples tends to be providing the first two or three chapters of a book, including front matter. This is by no means written in stone, especially if you have an academic title and wish to restrict the table of contents from public view, or have a picture book that does not follow a chapter format. If you are providing samples of your digital books, make sure to provide an EPUB instead of a PDF. If you don't plan to produce a reading copy or only have a limited supply, samples are a fantastic way to not only boost sales and circulation by giving readers a taste of your book, but also to increase your odds of becoming a Loan Stars pick. Library staff can review a portion of your forthcoming title and recommend it, all in the same space! 

Excerpts: ISBN_Excerpt_# (e.g., 9781546789232_Excerpt_01)

Excerpts must be either a PDF or EPUB. They should also uploaded to the "Sample" directory on the BiblioShare FTP.

A common question we hear is "what's the difference between samples and excerpts?" and, really, the difference is minimal. Excerpts tend to be shorter and more focused with the intention to hook the reader with a brief passage. Again, excerpts can be anything you wish them to be and you can upload them to CataList the same as you would a sample.

Interior images: ISBN_IN_# (e.g., 9781546789232_IN_01)

Interior images must be image files (JPG, TIF, PNG, or GIF format) and should be uploaded to the "Image" directory on the BiblioShare FTP.

For Loan Stars purposes, this is the ideal spot for publishers of children's titles to upload previews of their books. We recommend providing at least two full spreads in order to give library staff a good idea of your book. Interior images are kept behind the login wall so only verified industry accounts will have access to these images.

What happens when your book becomes a Loan Stars pick

Congratulations! Your book has been deemed an essential book for Canadian library systems by library staff across Canada. Now what? 

Share the news! 

We have materials available in the publisher section of our website that you are free to use in your own marketing efforts. We are constantly updating and adding to this collection and we are always open to creating new materials to meet your needs.

Contrary to popular opinion, Loan Stars is an endorsement, not an award. What's the difference? And, more importantly, how can you tell everyone that your book is a Loan Stars pick? We have it written in ONIX for you:

Tagging Loan Stars picks in your ONIX feed