Are Libraries Bad for Business?

If you ever wondered whether public libraries cause a decline in book sales, there’s a research study on that.  The Panorama Project has a council of representatives from publishers, booksellers, and libraries, gathering data from more than 16,000 public libraries in the United States.  So far, it appears that lending libraries are a good thing.   Library events and programs, and digital catalogs and reviews give free publicity to books and authors that readers might not have heard of otherwise.  This does lead to book sales.  Which neatly segues into the next paragraph. . . .

Publisher’s Weekly recently announced the books and publishers that dominated the bestselling lists in 2019.  The hardback nonfiction book for 39 weeks was Michelle Obama’s Becoming; it’s still number three in January, 2020. The hardback fiction best bestseller was a tie:  The Silent Patient, by Alex Machaelides, and Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.  Each had a 36-week run.

Mark Twain observed, “What a good thing Adam had.  When he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before.”  On the other hand, “Write a wise saying and your name will live forever,” is attributed to Anonymous!

I’m going to get personal here.   Do you have metrophobia?  A lot of people apparently do.  At least enough to have a word for it.  If you aren’t sure, it’s the fear of . . . . poetry.  Our amazing Longmont Library has a palliative for that:  How a Poem Moves, by Adam Sol (808.1 SOL).  It’s a book for readers who are afraid they “don’t get” poetry.  It contains 35 short, humorous, breezy essays with titles such as “How a Poem Changes As We Read,” “How a Poem Articulates a Feeling,” and “How a Poem Shapes Memory.”   In the latter is an easy to understand poem by Deborah Digges, titled “Stealing Lilacs in the Cemetery,” in which she describes the flowers as “stars within stars” and the new graves “like doors into the earth.”  If you don’t have metrophobia, you’ll enjoy this book even more.

Love a book? Give it a hug on Valentine’s Day.

*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at

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