Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top Five: In Demand Romance

Longtime readers of this blog will remember that once upon a time I talked about "library stuff" a lot more. Wacky stories. Surreal moments. This blog was a bit of a dumping ground for the variety of frustrations I had back in my middle-management days. Then I got The Dream Job, went into administration, and my library stories dried up.

I'm going to be honest - I think the librarian thing makes me a little unique among the tiny corner of the blogosphere I inhabit, so I want to try to incorporate some of my job back into my hobby. Also, I think libraries and librarians tend to get lost in the mix when publishing, retail, and dollars are discussed. I'm not saying that publishers and authors shouldn't focus on retail, but let this serve as a reminder that libraries buy books to. Some of us buy a lot of books and have large budgets (although they're never large enough). Something to keep in mind.

So I thought it would be fun to start something I'm going to call Top Five. This will be a semi-regular feature where I will discuss five books currently generating demand, and a waiting list, among my library service population. To kick it off? Well of course I'm starting with romance. Like y'all have to ask! Here it goes:

Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You by Judith McNaught - This one is my fault. Totally. Like a moron I ordered copies of this one month before the original laydown date. McNaught doesn't "do" deadlines, naturally this one got pushed back, and the publication date keeps getting further and further away. Latest date I've seen? May 19, 2009. In the meantime, there sits a record on our catalog collecting patron holds. From now on McNaught doesn't get ordered until one week prior to the release date. She's burned me one too many times and I'm bitter. Very, very bitter.

The Hollow by Nora Roberts - Well duh. Second book in a trilogy. Nora. This isn't exactly rocket science.

Death Angel by Linda Howard - I've seen mixed reviews/reactions to Howard's last couple of books, but it hasn't hurt demand for this July 1 release. It's currently my third most requested romance title.

Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn - I haven't been entirely pleased with Avon of late, and lord knows I've aired out my issues on this blog a time or two (or three) - but I'm positively giddy to see a historical romance (I don't care who published it!) generating so much interest among our patron population. A hibernating sub genre, maybe - but nowhere near dead.

Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward - While romance bloggers hit the Ward crack pipe early and often from the very beginning, it took a little bit longer for my library patrons to jump on the bandwagon. It was around the third book in this series that I started to see holds accumulate, circulation numbers jump, and demand increase.

This small representation of our romance circulation probably doesn't shock any romance reader looking at this list. These are all bestselling authors. But I was intrigued by Ward, mainly because I think she's the perfect example of how "word of mouth" can elevate an author to bestseller status. Also of note, the demand for the latest Julia Quinn is higher than for the latest releases by Elizabeth Lowell, Johanna Lindsey and Catherine Coulter. You go girl!

In the "Wendy Is A Bit Surprised" category - demand for Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson is currently sluggish. Up until this point she's always had steady demand, and solid numbers, so I'm wondering if people just don't realize this book is out and that's why they're not requesting it? Or maybe they're all buying it themselves, because she's currently on the NYT Bestsellers List. Although I gotta say, I think Avon needs to put her back on cartoon covers. Her cartoon cover books do very, very well for us.


Kay Webb Harrison said...

I just read in the August RT issue about why McNaught's book has been delayed. Her mother was ill, so JM put everything else aside to be available for her mother.

Lori said...

Also, I think libraries and librarians tend to get lost in the mix when publishing, retail, and dollars are discussed. I'm not saying that publishers and authors shouldn't focus on retail, but let this serve as a reminder that libraries buy books to.

Interesting. As one in the publishing industry (and who got my start in the journals marketing dept there), it was all about the libraries. Granted, it's the academic pub industry, so the public library isn't as impt s the university lib, but still.... it's all about the lirary, which is why I get so PISSED OFF that my local library here in Simi has NOTHING. EVER.

Jill D. said...

Hi Wendy,

I think this is a great idea. I love to get inside information on the whole library system! Definitely keep us informed.

PS. I was the first person on the waiting list for Ward's Lover Enshrined and Hunter's Secrets of Seduction.

Wendy said...

Kay: See, now I feel bad. I'm still nursing the battle scars from the Water's Edge fiasco from several years ago. And dang, I just got through my July RT! Guess that means August should be showing up any day now....

Lori: I don't buy nearly the romance that I want to - but I do my best to get most of the heavy-hitters. Sigh, and I'm still playing catch-up as far as "core collection." Thank God for reprints. You wouldn't believe the holes we've still got in the collection. It's a never-ending project.

Jill: Weeeee - I ordered the Hunter too! I should see if she's got a waiting list....

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I am very excited for Linda's new release, but I understand what you mean about her last books. I love her Blair series, but her suspense romancec has been lacking lately.
And of course I am on the waiting list of Chelsea Cain ;)

Cheryl St.John said...

Go figure on those cartoon covers. Interesting to know they do well. They always put me off for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear more about your daytime job again. I must say I do think you snagged the best library job ever. When you were writing about the job search I thought that trying to a Southern California job was ambitious but my hat is off to you. Think your blogging had an effect?

azteclady said...

I'm with Cheryl, I don't much care for the cartoony covers, and won't pick the book up unless I've read a good review by someone whose tastes I trust.

Wendy said...

Katie: Geez, I haven't even ordered the new Chelsea Cain for work yet. It's still a bit too "early" for my tastes. Although July 2 will mean the book is only 2 months away - so I better order that puppy soon!

Cheryl: I think cartoon covers work for a certain type of book. Gibson is "funny contemporary" and cartoon covers convey that really well to your casual browser. Now the trend a couple of years ago to slap a cartoon cover on everything? Yeah - that didn't work so well.

Anon: I doubt it. I work for a large library system and I think me being "fresh blood" had more to do with it than anything else. The Dream Job is for the same organization, and I think a reader's advisory presentation I did on the romance genre helped me out there.

AL: I know, me too! Every time I've read a cartoon cover book and ended up liking it, nobody is more surprised than I am. But dang, they really seem to grab casual browsers for some reason....

Nicole said...

Awww....did you have to talk about library waiting lists? Mine is somewhere in cyberspace since the flood knocked out our library's online system.

Yeah...Cedar Rapids' Public Library's ENTIRE adult collection got ruined.

Wendy said...

They need to figure out a way to get some of your water over here to California! Half of the state is burning down!

That is horrible at about the Cedar Rapids' library! ::making a note to check the latest edition of Library Journal when I get back to work::

Are you and yours OK?

Nicole said...

Ooph, yeah, those fires look really bad. You can have our water, we definitely have enough to spare.

We're fine. We live on a hill.