The books we see for sale at a local chain bookstore or purchase new online are a small fraction of the entirety of human print culture. In fact, 98 to 99% of all books ever published are now out of print. These are the books featured in the BookFinder.com Report.
The BookFinder.com Report is issued every fall, and the 2012 edition marks the 10th anniversary of our tracking the most sought after out-of-print books in America.
Topping our anniversary list are the "big three" of out-of-print books which perennially find their way onto the BookFinder.com Report: Sex by Madonna, Rage by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King), and Promise Me Tomorrow by Nora Roberts.I checked, and of the top 3, Rage is the only one I could get you today at the library. Our system did have a copy of Sex for many years, but it was long ago stolen and it could not be replaced. Promise Me Tomorrow is available for checkout at many libraries and can be purchased for under $10 here.
The reason this list is important from the library perspective is because it emphasizes the one thing the library has in stock that bookstores do not--the backlist. Those books that are not hot at the moment, or even in print any more, we have them.
As a result, RA librarians should be trying to focus a large portion of their book promotion on the backlist. That gem of the library; the thousands of great reads just waiting on the shelf to be matched with just the right reader. For more on my strong feelings about promoting the backlist, click here.
The backlist is important, and the list by BookFinder.com proves that. Want more proof? Look at how their list directly influenced a book being put back in print. From the same report:
This year's list also marks the graduation of Marilyn by Norman Mailer, which after appearing in four straight Reports was finally reprinted by Taschen last December.So come to the library and locate that impossible to find book so you can read it. We won't let you buy it, but we will let you experience the joy of reading it, and in the end, that is what really matters.