So I’ve done my annual boxcount. I usually hold off until the Fourth of July break, but I’m surrounded by sports fans at work. They can’t understand anything unless you give ‘em stats.
See, what we do during the year is price books and pack them by subject. You don’t get to see all the boxes marked “HB Lit M-Z” because by the time you arrive (clutching a fistful of sweaty twenties) the books are up on tables. But we keep a list of what we’ve packed as we go through the year, allowing us to burble “Hey, ten percent more books this year!”. Or, after I do my boxcount, checking how much we have in each category, I can say “Whoa! Three times as many paperback romances this year! I’ll have to rearrange the rooms again.”
As I say, I’m early with the boxcount this year, and we might well pack another six or seven hundred boxes of books between now and opening day. So I can’t quite start rearranging rooms yet and tell you where the Poetry section will be. But I can point out a few trends.
Thanks to a major move by an important dealer in scholarly books, our sections on Anthropology and Archaeology will be, of, five or six times bigger than last year. (Roughly half of that will be back issues of journals, but there are plenty of books as well.) The Newberry Library just naturally attracts collections in history, both foreign and domestic. As a result, the Biography and History sections will both be at least a third larger than 2008.
It has troubled us, almost, that plain ornery paperback fiction donations have been dropping off. Mystery, Science Fiction, and Romance are as big as ever, but novels that don’t fall into any of those categories are…well, we have nine boxes total so far, probably a tenth of what we had in, say, 1999. (I wonder if the trade paperback is killing off the smaller version.) For some reason, however, paperback romances have recovered nicely from the slump and we’ll have twice as many of those as we did last year.
Our offerings in Nature, and in American Indian Studies, show good growth. (Room 1 is going to have to be rearranged; there’s no other way.) We should have bumper crops as well in the areas of Art and Cookbooks.
In fact, the only area showing a really drastic drop this year is books in Business and Economics. Funny. I’d’ve thought they’d be the FIRST to get dumped.