Monday, March 06, 2006

Disappointing Circulation of The Bradbury Chronicles

Bradbury Chronicles
Originally uploaded by ricklibrarian.
In the book section of yesterday's Chicago Tribune I saw that The Bradbury Chronicles by Sam Weller is coming out in paperback. I was pretty certain that we had a copy already, but I checked the SWAN catalog anyway. I was right. We do have a copy and it was on the shelf. I looked down the list of other copies in our system and saw all 29 were on the shelf!

Surprised that no one is currently reading the book, I wondered how many people had read it since April 2005 when the book was published. Relatively few is what I found. The 29 copies have been borrowed a total of 72 times, about 2.5 circs per copy. In one library the book had been out 8 times, in another 6, and in a couple of others 5. In four libraries, the copies have never gone out.

It is not easy predicting what our readers will like. We rely on book reviews and on our sense of our public's tastes. The book reviews gave the book high recommendations. We also do not want to reduce our collections to only popular items, and it is totally appropriate to get some books that will not "fly of the shelves." Still, I would have thought there would be more borrowing of The Bradbury Chronicles by old Bradbury fans.

We will make some miscalculations, but we should learn from them and not go out of our way to make more. I noticed that five libraries are now buying the paperback, four of which own the hardback. I wonder if any of them thought to look at how the hardcover circulated. I think we have enough copies in system to share already.

In a time when many of us have insufficient book money, we need to buy judiciously and share.

No comments: