Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today's burning book-filing questions

I'm not looking for the official library answers; I'm curious what others think. 

1. Do you mix hardbacks and paperbacks?

I do not.  I recognize the down side of this choice: To find all of an author's books, you have to check in two locations.  The up side, though, is more important to me: Mixing mass-market paperbacks with hardbacks tends to cause warping in the hardbacks, particularly on very full shelves.

2. How do you file the books an author writes under pseudonyms?

This one is trickier, because there are so many good answers.  I tend to put all of an author's hardbacks together, even if she/he wrote them under multiple names.  So, my Donald Westlake and Richard Stark hardbacks stand together.  Even with this choice, though, I am torn on whether to put Stark after Westlake, mixed with Westlake in chronological order of publication, or before Westlake. 

These are the sorts of questions that a person who lives in a library spends entirely too much time discussing and pondering.


Anonymous said...

I think the postmodern library answer is to put like-sized things with like so they use available space best, but also number/barcode them with a location annotation all of which goes into a database for easy searching. Database browsing, however, is not quite as state-of-the-art.

steveburnett said...

I have pondered these questions myself. For my shelves, I almost never mix paperbacks and hardbacks. I do have rare exceptions to this rule.
For 2, I keep an author's works together, but group the multiple names together, so using your example, all the Starks as a group and all the Westlakes as a separate but adjacent group. Which is first? Whichever name I'm likelier to recognize better or think of more gets the better visibility - being my shelves, I want to be able to find my books.

Mark said...

I don't tend to label my books in any way, because I don't want to hurt them, so the postmodern library approach doesn't work well here.

I also tend to follow the same method as you, Steve, but I always put the writer's real name first.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Library (personal) resident myself, and also worked in libraries for many years... I'm straight alphabetical by author/editor/compiler's last name... even the non fiction. It's the only way I can find anything! I love Jon & Lobo, by the way!


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