Lessons learned shelving books at the library

by TheHack on June 18, 2010

I did three hours of shelving books at the library last night and noticed a few things.

  • Romance books are checked out WAY more than any other kind of fiction book. In the couple of carts worth of books that I put away, it was about 2 to 1.
  • Mystery came in a distant second place.
  • Most of the books checked out were from authors that have more than 5 other books on the shelf.
  • Science fiction/fantasy/horror is pretty much not checked out…unless they are hybrids that live on the romance shelves.
  • I put away about 1 large print book out of every 3 books that I handled.
  • Linda Lael Miller has written way too many books. It took me about fifteen minutes to get her section sorted out because the books spanned about three shelves and were completely out of order.

So based on a one day, small sample size survey of my library, if you want to get rich as a published author, write books geared for women especially romance. This of course assumes that the same people that buy books have the same habits of people that check out books from the library. But if not, you can still make good money selling them to all the libraries.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

bagn June 18, 2010 at 6:55 pm

As a former librarian wannabe, it’s possible that the shelving carts were pre-sorted to save the shelvers from having to dash around from section to section (boy, do I miss shelving!).

As a current (and lifelong) writer pretendtobe, I agree that romance novels seem to be the best route to a steady income if you can master the formula of the genre and have some writing ability. In fact, many of the technique books for writers are written by romance novelists, who appear to have figured out how to reduce their writing to assembly line precision.

fingers June 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

My wife loves the romance books. She also loves knitting books. The library made over $100 on late fees from these books.

Romance book checkouts during recessions is typical. Men come home nasty and women want an escape.

I know I come home nasty. Been the nastiest year of my life.

cardiogirl June 21, 2010 at 3:59 am

I can vouch for checking out books from authors with at least five others. This is so hypocritical since I’m trying to publish a book, I have no other books published and I wouldn’t check my own book out of the library since there are no other books available from me.

It’s like an Escher painting except with books. Or something.

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