Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Word Heard: "Nonfiction at PLA"

As a devoted reader of nonfiction, this is what I noticed at PLA last week.

1) Author and bookstore owner Ann Patchett gave equal attention to fiction and nonfiction in her Ann Patchett Book Hour. Her postcard identified 5 of each to recommend to us.

2) There were very few nonfiction advance reading copies offered to librarians at the publisher exhibits. What does this mean? Could it be that they are confident in nonfiction sales and do not feel the need to promote? This is unlikely. I suspect that they believe most librarians are fiction readers and less interested in nonfiction. They may also be promoting new fiction authors, for most of the ARCs seemed to be by authors unfamiliar to me.

I declined to pick up a copy of American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution by Walter R. Borneman because I am sure I will read a library copy, but I did bring home these titles:

Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr
Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone
Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America's Wildest Peak by Andy Hall
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean

I passed up a few other nonfiction titles, but I would estimate 90 percent of the offerings were fiction.

3) Steve Potash of Overdrive in talking about the library ebook market said specifically that the past two years have been good for "the adult readers of fiction." He did not say good for "adult readers" which would include nonfiction. It would be interesting to know what percentages of library ebook collections and ebook checkouts are fiction and nonfiction.

4) The joyous program Top 5 of the Nonfiction 5 showed that there are many reading choices in numerous nonfiction genres, but all the other readers' advisory programs that I noticed were only fiction.

No comments: