[LMB] OT: K. J. Parker

Raye Johnsen raye_j at yahoo.com
Fri May 19 01:11:37 BST 2006

--- Rachel Ganz <rachel at compromise.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

> I've just discovered K.J. Parker's "The fencer
> trilogy". 1st volume in my local library. Any
> opions? I'm enjoying it.
> Further to that. Can a librarian among  the list
> members explain why vol 1 of the trilogy is in the
> local library, vol. 2 is 10 miles away, and vol 3.
> is 9 miles in the opposite direction. I just think
> how irritating it must be for members of communities
> 2 and 3.

As a librarian, I think I can explain....

Various libraries order books by various methods, but
in the libraries I've worked in, the major method has
been ordering via catalogue from the main wholesale
distributor.  Selections are made from the catalogue
based on borrowing patterns, popular authors and
reviews (for example, if a title comes out in the most
popular genre at the library, it 's likely to be
bought, if a title by a popular author appears, it'll
be ordered, but it depends on how much money's in the
budget for new authors, and a new author in an
unpopular genre can pretty much forget it unless the
reviews are spectacular).  Limiting factors are cost
and space.  Distribution was on a strict division by
number and author basis.  In a system of six
libraries, when there were twelve books by an author
in the latest shipment, each library got two - and the
fact that these were four copies of a trilogy was
completely ignored.  However, when a very popular
author brought out a set, each library had a set

So I'd say what happened was, not-overly-requested
author + not-that-popular genre + budget constraints =
only one copy of each title released bought, and then,
one title by this one author placed in each library in
the system.

If, like Lois' works, each title is able to stand
alone without the others there, it would increase that
author's readership.  But if, like Eddings, you
require the full series to make sense of the story,
then yes, it would be confusing.


raye_j at yahoo.com
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