Tools of the (development) Trade

Good Morning, Reflectors!

I've had one or two people ask how we hear about books (and by extension, dvds, cds, etc) to add to the collection. There are a variety of ways. Here are a few:

Vendor catalogs:

Baker & Taylor Forecast: Comes out every month and covers fiction and non-fiction titles. Sometimes audio and large print as well. Divided into HC, trade pb and mass market, and then divided by category/genre. The ads are just as important as the actual listings. Every once in awhile, you might find an interesting author interview or article as well. Carries titles usually a month or so in advance of publication. Absolutely wonderful for keeping up with mass market series. Not so hot on smaller press or self published items.

Ingram Advance: I wish I could provide a link, but the majority of things linkable from their site are so old they aren't worth the trouble. BUT, they are very good at listing (and stocking) small press and/or self published titles. When I look through Advance, there are many things that I can't find in Baker & Taylor (which is our main book vendor.) I don't have a problem ordering from Ingram, but it is out of the usual routine so it takes some conscious thinking to do it. Some things are worth it, some aren't. Catalog is laid out mostly the same as B&T's Forecast.

Booking Ahead: Back to Baker & Taylor for this resource, this goes a little farther out than their Forecast magazine. The August issue is announcing titles releasing in October. These are mostly hardcover releases, and mostly the big names every library will probably order. I say that with a definite fiction bias, but there is plenty of non fiction on the list as well. When it comes to big titles, we have mostly ordered these already, but not always. Separated into categories, first in non-fiction and then in fiction, it also gives print run numbers which is always handy to know.

Publisher Catalogs

As you might expect, we get a lot of publisher catalogs. I'd take a picture of my desk (and my inbox) but it would only make me cry. Just.....take my word for it. Publisher. Catalogs. But, if you aren't on the mailing list (and don't want to be to save paper) the EarlyWord blog helpfully lists a large majority of them on their site.

The problem with publisher catalogs (our problem, not theirs) is that they go out very far in advance. We only order 4 months in advance because titles in our catalog cancel after six months of no activity in our catalog. This gives us a little wiggle room in things are delayed either on the publisher end, the vendor end, or the receiving end. (think.....big ice storm so no deliveries and closed library so no receiving and/or processing.) So if it is August, and you're telling me about titles that come out in March......I mostly don't care. There are ways around this: my favorite way is to create a cart of "advance" titles. I can pop a title in there (with or without quantity attached) and come back to it when the time comes. If a title I'm unsure about starts getting a lot of buzz, I can increase the quantity accordingly. If we get a budget cut, I can decrease quantity accordingly. I did a bunch of these titles yesterday when looking at the Little Brown & Grand Central catalogs. It's always good to know what's coming, IMO.

If you are wanting to get on the mailing list, Early Word also helpfully lists publishing house contacts to email and get on their list.

Magazines & Websites

Reviews can be handy, definitely, but by the time I see a review, we probably have the book on order. And, quite frankly, even if every reviewer in the world hated the new David Baldacci...... doesn't matter. We can't not order it (at least not for that reason.) But, we do read reviews. A lot of reviews. Which means we rely on PW, Booklist and Library Journal a lot. For me, LJ's Prepub Alerts are the most handy thing since....well, insert handy item here. I love it. It's another way of seeing what is on the horizon. Again, timing can be an issue, but most of these things also go into an advance cart. We used to automatically buy everything that came out in these three journals, but stopped that a few years back. Some of the things reviewed (especially in PW) were so......literary (for lack of a better word) they never went out. That just isn't what people here wanted to read.

Publisher's Marketplace -- the best thing you can buy for $20/month. Honestly, if you're interested in the book business, you need to have this. It's got tons of book info and the daily links alone are worth the monthly expense. If you're looking for reviews, you need this. They compile the reviews from newspapers around the country in one handy place. If you want to see more than just one NYT or PW review for Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion before you buy it for your library (or yourself), Marketplace has 9 reviews you can read to help you decide. Reviews from Boston to Seattle. You can track sales of books to gauge their popularity, you can track book deals made (I love the daily book deal listings) and there is a stripped down amazon called "Amazoom" which is SO HANDY for searching. You can search amazon US and UK. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without Publisher's Marketplace. I don't use every feature, but the features I do use, I use a lot.

Genre Magazines

RT Bookreviews is a must have for a fiction librarian with a large romance collection. There is no better place to find out about a wide range of romance titles. The website is good, but the magazine is better. If you have limited collection development dollars, but a high genre fiction reading public, you need to subscribe to this magazine.

Locus -- Does for SF/F/H what RT does for romance. It's a great place to find out about books, but it isn't very handy. In the print magazine, the font is so tiny you will hurt your eyes. In the web version, it doesn't link to anything (not amazon, b&n, etc.) It could be handier, but it is a pretty good list of titles. You may be able to find most of these in the Forecast & Advance catalogs, though.

Overbooked hot lists -- heavy on general fiction and crime, so a good list.

Stop You're Killing Me -- my monthly stop for crime fiction. I wish ISBN's were included, but you can't have everything. Split into hardcover and paperback lists.

Whew! I think that's it. So, what am I missing? What do you use to find books to buy either for yourself or your library? Talk to me!

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