May 13, 2014

Where Do New Books Come From?

One of the questions we get asked fairly regularly is, where do the books come from?  How are they chosen?

There are many factors we look at when considering a title, but how do we know which titles to look at in the first place?  Largely we look to the same places you use to learn about new or interesting books: commercials, friends' suggestions, and the New York Times' Bestseller lists, plus other bestseller and hot picks lists through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.  We also get professional journals like Booklist and Publisher's Weekly; these publications are made up primarily of book reviews-- page after page of them-- making it simpler for us to find books that sound relevant, interesting, or otherwise of use to our patrons.

We also accept patron requests: tell the librarian if there's a book you want, and we'll look into it.  We love to get patron requests for books because, if one person is interested in it, odds are other Pullman residents would also like to read that same title.   

Once a title has been suggested, how do we decide if it would be a good fit for the library?  Many factors go into choosing a book for the library.  For fiction, we especially want to know if the book is part of a series and if so, how many books in that series do we already have and how frequently are those books checked out.  For both fiction and nonfiction, is the author well-known?  Do we already have books by the same author and how frequently do they check out?  Is the topic of local interest or current relevance?  How many books on the same topic do we already have and what would this new book add to the discussion?  Has the book received positive reviews from trusted sources?  Is the author qualified to speak on the topic?  Is the book a recent publication? (And is that even a factor?)

So if you're ever wondering why you can't find a title in the catalog, let us know that you want to see it.  Thousands of books are published every month, and there are a limited number of library staff trying to keep up on all those new titles.  Help us by letting us know what titles and authors interest you!

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