Author Topic: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?  (Read 1288 times)

Megma

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What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« on: September 18, 2018, 07:53:30 AM »
This is MMM adjacent - library use. What's the longest you have waited for a book from the library? Have you ever broken down and bought your own copy instead?

I am currently #501 in line for a book which the library has 13 copies of and I have actually moved up substantially in the past week (I am stalking another book that I'm now #1 for...). I did the math on when I might get this book, based on the library's check out time and it could be as long as 115 weeks (likely will be less time, this assumes every person in front of me keeps it for the full time allotted). Every copy has to turn over 38 times before it's my turn.

Now, I want to read this book but I don't really care when. I recall one time I was about 250th for something I was dying to read and I broke down and spent $15 for my own copy; my husband also wanted to read it (but it's been two years and he hasn't yet :)).

Dave1442397

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2018, 07:59:43 AM »
I've waited a couple of months for some books.

Back in the days when I worked in a downtown area, I used to go to the bookstore and read books at lunchtime. It sometimes took a week to read a book, but it was free :)

Sibley

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2018, 08:05:56 AM »
I find that for the really long waits, there's a not-insignificant amount of people putting it on their list, then when it actually gets to them, they've lost interest. So they cancel it, or never pick it up. There was one book that lost something like 50 people in line ahead of me in a week, and they didn't have THAT many copies.

yakamashii

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 08:20:58 AM »
Three months. A bit aggravating as I was the one who asked the library to order it, didn't get to it first, and was #1 on the waiting list the entire time (in a city with native speakers of the language of the book <1% of the population to boot).

Megma

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2018, 10:08:07 AM »
Three months. A bit aggravating as I was the one who asked the library to order it, didn't get to it first, and was #1 on the waiting list the entire time (in a city with native speakers of the language of the book <1% of the population to boot).

I am curious how this happened…How could you be #1 for 3 months, was the book not in yet? Or did someone keep it well past due?

I usually do e-books, which automatically expire when their borrow time is up. My library allows 3 weeks with no renewals if there is a hold but there have been times when I couldn’t renew a physical book so I just kept it until I was finished with it and paid the small fine (I believe it’s .10/day).

I am #501 for an ebook. If I really want to read something, and the line is long, I will check the wait time for the physical copy as well but it’s usually the same or longer. I am sure some of these 500 people will drop out or read the book quickly. However, I am currently #1 on a book I have been waiting on for 4-6 months, there are only 2 copies.

Megma

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2018, 10:09:35 AM »
I find that for the really long waits, there's a not-insignificant amount of people putting it on their list, then when it actually gets to them, they've lost interest. So they cancel it, or never pick it up. There was one book that lost something like 50 people in line ahead of me in a week, and they didn't have THAT many copies.

This is true for sure. They lose interest, get it from a friend or buy it themselves if the wait is too long. I usually do ebooks, so if you don't download it within 3 days from receiving the notice, you lose your spot.

GuitarStv

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2018, 11:07:41 AM »
I've waited almost a year for a book (had a lot of holds and there was only one copy in Toronto's public library system).  I read a lot for fun though, and usually have 15 - 20 books in a queue at any given time.  It's not like I was desperately waiting for anything in particular, so whatever.

DragonSlayer

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2018, 11:21:32 AM »
I think 7 months was the record for an ebook. Those usually move really slowly. I think because they auto-return, most people just keep them for the full 3 weeks and let the auto return do its thing rather than manually telling it to return. Whereas with a paper book, they'll tend to return it when they're done, so those turn over a lot quicker. Plus, there are a lot fewer e-copies than hardcover; at least here. You can get the most requested hardcover within a couple of months whereas an ebook can take half a year or longer.

I'll usually get on both lists (if the library has hard and e-copies) and get whichever comes first and cancel the other. Rarely is there anything I have to read right now. There's only one author that's an auto-buy for me, but I never even get on the hold list for those because I know I'm buying the hardcover on release day.

teen persuasion

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2018, 01:46:19 PM »
OP, is that a stand alone library, or member of a system?

I work in a 3 county library system, and our "hold" number reflects your place on the system wide list.  However, depending on how a copy is tagged, your place within your home library list could be much shorter.  For example, if I tag a book as "New" instead of just "bk" it won't interloan (only our library patrons can receive holds), so patron #41 pops up as next for our copy.  Unfortunately, if we have no copy and every other library marks theirs "new" then our patrons wait until another library has filled all their holds and changes "new" to "bk" after 6 months.

On the other hand, I was always told to order another copy if our hold list exceeded 7.

At a seminar, we discussed ways to handle extremely long hold lists.  Some systems rent large numbers of high demand titles, rather than buy.  I believe the rule of thumb was a patron shouldn't have to wait longer than 3  months.

Just as another poster mentioned trying a different format (paper vs e-book), look at other  options like large print, audio on disc, playaway, paperback vs hardcover, of different editions.  Each one has a unique bib record, so each has a unique hold list.  If you just click on the first one, you might have ignored a larger pool of available copies.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2018, 08:09:27 PM by teen persuasion »

ABC123

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2018, 01:58:00 PM »
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, I started out in the 200s on the waiting list.  I think I finally got to the top of the list after 5 months or so.  It was worth it.

But I have no lack of books I want to read, so I just read other things in the meantime.  I could probably never get another book for the rest of my life and still not get through all the books I have stacked under my bed or sitting in my "to be read" shelf on my Nook.  If only my boss and kids would let me do nothing but read all day long, life would be grand. 

Megma

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2018, 02:06:49 PM »
OP, is that a stand alone library, or member of a system?

I work in a 3 county library system, and our "hold" number reflects your place on the system wide list.  However, depending on how a copy is tagged, your place within your home library list could be much shorter.  For example, if I tag a book as "New" instead of just "bk" it won't interloan (only our library patrons can receive holds), so patron #41 pops up as next for our copy.  Unfortunately, if we have no copy and every other library marks theirs "new" then our patrons wait until another library has filled all their holds and changes "new" to "bk" after 6 months.

On the other hand, I was always told to order another copy if our hold list exceeded 7.

At a seminar, we discussed ways to handle extremely long hold lists.  Some systems rent large numbers of high demand titles, rather than buy.  I believe the rule of thumb was a patron shouldn't have to wait longer than 3  months.

Just as another poster mentioned trying a different format (paper vs e-book), look at other  options like large print, audio on disc, layaway, paperback vs hardcover, of different editions.  Each one has a unique bib record, so each has a unique hold list.  If you just click on the first one, you might have ignored a larger pool of available copies.

Teen Persuasion, that is really interesting insider knowledge. Mostly, I just thought it was amusing how long the hold list was. This is for the ebook, though I do sometimes check if the hard copy has a shorter time if I really want to read it. In this case, I wouldn't be motivated to go to pick up a hard copy (#lazy) and I don't really mind to wait, though I find it humorous how long the wait is!

I believe my library's loans are for a "stand-alone" country but I don't really know, anyway I seem to move up in a very predictable manner.

Full disclosure: the book where I am #501 is Crazy Rich Asians, and the movie just came out. This the reason for the long wait time. Also, while I'm sure the book is amusing, I would never buy this one and will read it whenever my turn comes up.

Paul der Krake

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2018, 07:35:37 PM »
Local library routinely sees huge backlogs too, and I've always wondered whether they actually bought the copies for those bestsellers.

Right now Crazy Rich Asians sits at 817 in line for 318 hard copies, 1237 in line for 244 digital copies, and 599 in line for 112 audiobook copies.

Where are the books rented from? Where do they go after the buzz is over? What's the difference in cost to the library between buying and renting?

@teen persuasion please give us the inside scoop.

FIFoFum

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2018, 07:57:22 PM »
I think the longest wait time has been around 6 months.

A lot of people sign up for the hard copy and the e-book (I know I do!), but aren't going to check out both. Where I live, there are two different library systems I can use, so sometimes I'll have 4 holds on the same book. So a book with hundreds of holds can have a bunch of people like me - all creating more holds across the system, planning to read whatever comes in first. It means the daunting wait list isn't quite as bad as it seem, and the wait time isn't usually that bad.

Where I live, you could also put a request out on the Buy Nothing group to see if someone has a copy to lend. There are still a lot of people who buy actual/physical books.

Rural

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2018, 08:15:27 PM »
Holds in my library system expire after 364 days, and I've definitely had them expire without ever seeing the book.

teen persuasion

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2018, 08:39:13 PM »
Local library routinely sees huge backlogs too, and I've always wondered whether they actually bought the copies for those bestsellers.

Right now Crazy Rich Asians sits at 817 in line for 318 hard copies, 1237 in line for 244 digital copies, and 599 in line for 112 audiobook copies.

Where are the books rented from? Where do they go after the buzz is over? What's the difference in cost to the library between buying and renting?

@teen persuasion please give us the inside scoop.

Our system doesn't rent - it was a new trend being explained to us.  I'm guessing there's some service happy to cater to larger library systems with a rental scheme - and I wondered too about what happens to that flood of used best sellers.  So I have no idea of the cost of renting books; we generally get a volume discount from publishers for print purchases, maybe up to 40%, but varies widely by title. 

Ebooks are an entirely different story - the big publishers have fought selling ebooks to libraries.  They limit how many times an ebook may be circed, 23 is a limit I've heard - there is no limit on print book circulation - and then a new license must be purchased.  They also charge much higher rates to libraries, I've heard $96.  We don't purchase ebooks individually, our system subscribes to services like Overdrive and Hoopla to provide ebooks for our patrons, so it's a bit opaque as to cost for us.  Overdrive treats e-books like physical books - if a "copy" is checked out, no one else can have it.  Hoopla's model is different - they allow unlimited simultaneous checkouts, and charge us a fee for each one; prices vary depending on format because Hoopla provides video and music as well as audio- and e-books.  Something over $1 but under $4 generally.

There's currently an experiment (by publishers) going on, where TOR ebooks are not released to libraries for a period of time.  They are trying to prove that ebooks available at libraries depress e-book sales.  A counter argument is that the ebook reading public browse library OPACs to search for new releases even if they ultimately purchase, so publishers are hurting their business by withholding them.

accolay

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2018, 01:15:16 AM »
We've got a pretty good county library system here. I think the longest I waited was about two weeks? The only reason I've thought about buying a book was because the book was too long for me to read in the time I could keep it:

https://www.amazon.com/English-Their-History-Robert-Tombs/dp/1101873361/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=5B4HHM0DHWGB8XB6TNXV

1040pages.

Megma

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2018, 07:00:11 AM »
Local library routinely sees huge backlogs too, and I've always wondered whether they actually bought the copies for those bestsellers.

Right now Crazy Rich Asians sits at 817 in line for 318 hard copies, 1237 in line for 244 digital copies, and 599 in line for 112 audiobook copies.

Where are the books rented from? Where do they go after the buzz is over? What's the difference in cost to the library between buying and renting?

@teen persuasion please give us the inside scoop.

Our system doesn't rent - it was a new trend being explained to us.  I'm guessing there's some service happy to cater to larger library systems with a rental scheme - and I wondered too about what happens to that flood of used best sellers.  So I have no idea of the cost of renting books; we generally get a volume discount from publishers for print purchases, maybe up to 40%, but varies widely by title. 

Ebooks are an entirely different story - the big publishers have fought selling ebooks to libraries.  They limit how many times an ebook may be circed, 23 is a limit I've heard - there is no limit on print book circulation - and then a new license must be purchased.  They also charge much higher rates to libraries, I've heard $96.  We don't purchase ebooks individually, our system subscribes to services like Overdrive and Hoopla to provide ebooks for our patrons, so it's a bit opaque as to cost for us.  Overdrive treats e-books like physical books - if a "copy" is checked out, no one else can have it.  Hoopla's model is different - they allow unlimited simultaneous checkouts, and charge us a fee for each one; prices vary depending on format because Hoopla provides video and music as well as audio- and e-books.  Something over $1 but under $4 generally.

There's currently an experiment (by publishers) going on, where TOR ebooks are not released to libraries for a period of time.  They are trying to prove that ebooks available at libraries depress e-book sales.  A counter argument is that the ebook reading public browse library OPACs to search for new releases even if they ultimately purchase, so publishers are hurting their business by withholding them.

This is crazy interesting. When you said libraries could rent books, I assumed this was for ebooks. It makes sense that you only need 15 licenses for a little while and then the demand will calm down.

Honestly, I was really anti-ebook back in the day (I am young but have some Luddite tendencies...) because there is just no substitute for holding a fresh book. New book smell is totally a thing, so is really old book smell and they are both wonderful. I have now been totally converted because the lighting in my house is terrible for reading and I moved a lot in my 20s and grew tired of hauling books around. Ebooks solve both of these problems. When libraries starting offering ebooks and I could get books for free without leaving my house?!?

mountain mustache

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2018, 03:20:12 PM »
I've waited a few weeks before, but I am terribly impatient, and I am one of those people who is like "I have to have this book now, because I really want to read it now" and I can't think about reading anything else until I read the one that I am super focused on first. I'm annoying. So if the wait is longer than about a month...I'll just break down and buy it. Usually books I get excited about are old enough to be found used, so I'll order it on Thriftbooks or something like that for a few $. If I was more patient, I would get so much use out of libraries!

yakamashii

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2018, 10:18:56 PM »
Three months. A bit aggravating as I was the one who asked the library to order it, didn't get to it first, and was #1 on the waiting list the entire time (in a city with native speakers of the language of the book <1% of the population to boot).

I am curious how this happened…How could you be #1 for 3 months, was the book not in yet? Or did someone keep it well past due?

I usually do e-books, which automatically expire when their borrow time is up. My library allows 3 weeks with no renewals if there is a hold but there have been times when I couldn’t renew a physical book so I just kept it until I was finished with it and paid the small fine (I believe it’s .10/day).

I am #501 for an ebook. If I really want to read something, and the line is long, I will check the wait time for the physical copy as well but it’s usually the same or longer. I am sure some of these 500 people will drop out or read the book quickly. However, I am currently #1 on a book I have been waiting on for 4-6 months, there are only 2 copies.

Someone got to it first and then kept it for three months, around the time when the library will finally call the delinquent borrower on the phone (no late fee system, once-per-week emails after the two-week period is up).

Megma

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2018, 12:58:58 PM »
I've waited a few weeks before, but I am terribly impatient, and I am one of those people who is like "I have to have this book now, because I really want to read it now" and I can't think about reading anything else until I read the one that I am super focused on first. I'm annoying. So if the wait is longer than about a month...I'll just break down and buy it. Usually books I get excited about are old enough to be found used, so I'll order it on Thriftbooks or something like that for a few $. If I was more patient, I would get so much use out of libraries!

I was gearing up to facepunch you, until you said you buy the books used :) hopefully you also resell them when done.

Honestly, owning books is terrible. They take up so much room! Libraries are perfect for me.

mountain mustache

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2018, 06:58:03 AM »
I've waited a few weeks before, but I am terribly impatient, and I am one of those people who is like "I have to have this book now, because I really want to read it now" and I can't think about reading anything else until I read the one that I am super focused on first. I'm annoying. So if the wait is longer than about a month...I'll just break down and buy it. Usually books I get excited about are old enough to be found used, so I'll order it on Thriftbooks or something like that for a few $. If I was more patient, I would get so much use out of libraries!

I was gearing up to facepunch you, until you said you buy the books used :) hopefully you also resell them when done.

Honestly, owning books is terrible. They take up so much room! Libraries are perfect for me.

Yes, I do sell a lot of them afterwards, especially if I didn't love the book. I will admit to being a sentimental book owner though. I have shelves of books that I've read multiple times, and I love having them there to read if I feel like it. I'm not a "stuff" person, but books are my guilty pleasure!

iris lily

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2018, 11:10:09 AM »
 Before FIRE, I ran the acquisitions and collection development department at a large urban library.

For every hold there was on a title, we had five copies. That means that we were constantly buying new copies. That was the standard for our print collection, the e-book collection was not as generous.

Rental programs for books in public libraries have been around for decades, that is nothing new. Regardless of whether the books are owned or leased, there is a crap ton of copies to weed when immediate interest wanes.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 11:12:09 AM by iris lily »

RetiredAt63

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2018, 06:07:43 PM »
I've waited long enough that I have forgotten why I put that book on hold in the first place.

Please don't put holds on large print books unless you really need large print.  Some people really need that format.  It isn't as morally bad as parking in a handicapped parking spot, but it is the same general category of moral issue.

I do put holds on large print books, for the same reason I like e-books - they are so much easier to read.  Even with my reading glasses on, regular books are not quite as easy to read as large print.  E-books I can crank the font size up, the one I am reading right now has font size 6 of 9, where 9 is largest.  The joys of older eyes.

Blueberries

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2018, 03:45:00 PM »
I've waited a few months.  But, when I learned I could get e-cards at several libraries, it decreased my wait time for e-books.

Just Joe

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2018, 10:25:14 AM »
I've been trying for most of the summer to get hold of a book. I put a hold on it and then they'd check it out to someone else, etc. Turns out their hold notification system was not correctly notifying my phone by text message.

One time I called, it was available and they said they would hold it until I could stop by after work. What one librarian did not know was that it was at that second being checked out by someone at the other end of the checkout desk so it was not available when I rode my bike over there after work. They apologized profusely.

I'm patient. More so every year.


Sugaree

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2018, 10:36:33 AM »
I tend to get all my books online (no late fees that way).  I've found that e-books tend to turn over faster because people can't keep them late.  I have an older Kindle that I bought used for like $35, the type that has the e-ink, and I can send books to it and then turn the wifi off.  Then I can either return the books or let the rental expire.  The book will stay on the Kindle until the wifi is turned back on.  I can load it up with books and read at my leisure.  I use the newer Kindle Fire to read things like the free books from my Prime membership and the Prime library since it doesn't have a time limit. 

Parton

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Re: What's the longest you have waited for a book at the library?
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2018, 11:12:20 PM »
I don’t go to the library at all, it’s much easier for me to download an e-book and read it whenever you want and how much you want.