Yesterday, two patrons I helped walked out of the lib with paperback books. First, an old gent asked for a book by Jared Diamond. Recalling that we have a few, in the stacks and on the paperback round, I checked the catalog.
- Is a paperback copy okay?
The stuff inside's all the same right? So why should it matter?
- Oh, yes sir; some people don't like paperback's because the print can be smaller. He's undaunted, we stroll over to the paperback rounds at the front of the building. We don't own that many non-fiction paperbacks, so it takes only a moment to spot the thick book.
Wow, that's a long one.
- Some folks have a lot to say I guess. (That's the best I can do? Oy.) A little more small talk follows, and he moves to the check-out desk.
Thanks for finding it so fast: I am bringing all my business to you!
Later in the day, a 30-something wants to know where to find Eragon. He's had trouble finding it in the public catalog, because both the title and the author's name aren't easy to spell. I look it up on the staff side, thinking odds are I'll have to place a hold on it for him.
- Ah! We have one on the shelf in YA fiction. He seems perfectly capable, so I wave him over, tell him the author's name starts P-A-L, and it should be on the left, most of the way back. I help someone else, then go check on him, because we do have a copy in Spanish, and I'd hate for him to grab that one accidentally. He's staring down at what we'd call a "fully-cataloged paperback copy." It IS a paperback, but because it has been cataloged with more info than title and author, it's shelved with hardbacks. Oh, good, you found it.
It's not the cover I'm used to seeing. Is it the right book?
- Yeah, that's one of the extra copies we got when the movie came out -- it's the same book, just a different cover. At first, I think he's unconvinced, but he goes on to ask about more books like this for his SEVEN-year-old. Foolishly, I forgot to check the age first, and had been pitching the Uglies series, which is best for mature middle schoolers and older!