By December 13, 2010 8 Comments Read More →

Where Do Your Books Come From?

I am wondering how different groups get the books that they read over the year.

Does your group use your library’s collection? (Which also probably means it has to be a title that your library has in sufficient quantities and doesn’t have a very long holds list.)

Does your group read the newest titles and purchase them in hardback or as e-books?

Does your group purchase the latest paperbacks instead?

Do you do a mixture of the two–library and purchasing? Do you discuss new and older titles?

Does your group make use of a Book Group Collection, provided by your library?

My group does the latter, which is wonderful in some respects–we can hand out copies to the group each month so no one needs to buy or track the book down–but we also don’t get to discuss the latest books all of the time. We have to wait for things to come out in paperback and get added to the collection.

Just wondering how different groups out figure out their books.



About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

8 Comments on "Where Do Your Books Come From?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1.' Karen Demers says:

    Hi Misha –
    I organize the book group for my library. We try to only select titles that are available in regular print, large print, and audiobook formats. As a member of the C/W MARS library network in Massachusetts, we are usually able to get enough copies from our region. However, if we max out our local resources, we can expand to include other Massachusetts libraries through our “Virtual Catalog”. A bit complicated… but it works. We generally don’t pick titles that are “hot”, and don’t mind waiting until the hub-bub dies down to include it in the next round of selections. If it is a good book, it is worth the wait. Our Booked for Lunch selections can be found in our event calendar at if you are interested in seeing our 2011 titles. Happy reading!

  2.' Marlene says:

    Our book group doesn’t usually read “best sellers” so there is no difficult getting the necessary number of copies. Our library system also has links to other library systems so even if our library system only has a few copies we can use the link and have a huge number of books from other systems available to us.

  3.' Carol Reid says:

    Our bookclub, Words and Flava, is comprised of a bunch of librarians,so usually finding books is not an issue. We choose books that are usually at least 6 months old (which helps). Some of us work for an academic library which, in Illinois, has an excellent statewide borrowing system. Sometimes we just buy the book at a box store or the local used book store. One member uses extensively. We tried the local library’s bookgroup bags, but when one book didn’t get returned, the member checking out the book was stuck with paying for it!

    Once a year we chose the books for the year, based on reviews, blogs (yours!), lists, or Novelist. Its a very esoteric list but as you know, using libraries gives us better depth than just picking the popular stuff!

    Thanks for asking!

  4.' Becky says:

    We do a combination of purchasing and borrowing. We purchase 12 paperback copies of the title and then borrow about 5-10 hardcover or Large Print copies. We share the books in 6 month cycles between the two book groups at the library. When the 6 month cycle is over, we turn the 12 paperback copies into a “Book Discussion Kit,” along with questions and librarian prepared readalike lists and resources. We then loan the kits out to community book groups or other libraries.

  5.' Alex says:

    Like Karen, we obtain our books through inter-library loan and we try to make sure copies are available in regular, large print and audio…though large print is becoming less and less of a requirement as long as an audio or downloadable option is there.

    We also obtain books for 3-4 local book clubs and use ILL for them as well. It took them awhile to realize that they couldn’t get enough copies of Freedom for next week’s meeting, but they’ve adapted and appreciate the fact that they don’t have to buy them.

    When we get the books, we make sure we get them for an extended loan which the owning libraries re more than willing to provide. So instead of 3 weeks, we can get the books in time for the preceding meeting so members can get them then and won’t have to return them until the night of the meeting.

  6.' gary warren niebuhr says:

    I am lucky that I work in a big system with 28 agencies. My rule is that if we select a book there needs to be as many copies in our system as their are members in the group. However, some members do buy their own copies just because they can.

  7.' Dan Nieman says:

    I facilitate the book group in our library, We choose our books from the lists on Reading Group Guides and from the book club kits around the state commission.

    We get our books through interlibrary loans and from book club kits.

    We usually choose books that are six months to a year old, because it takes that long to get the really good books off the hold lists so we can receive them via interlibrary loan.

  8.' Paola says:

    We have a book club at our library, but I am in a neighborhood book club. We continually run into problems ordering books, some of which could be eliminated if we did more research beforehand. What I’d really like to see, though, is an option at our public library for the members of my club to have their library card barcodes entered into a book club site. From there, one member–or even the librarian–could initiate an order for that month’s book, and each individual would be notified via email when her copy came in. Are there library systems that already do this? It’s certainly possible from a computer programming standpoint. Is there a reason why a library would not want to do this?

Post a Comment