One-Minute Book Reviews

September 15, 2009

My Attempt to Get ‘The Lost Symbol’ from the Library

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:37 am
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About six weeks ago, I put my name on a library waiting list for The Lost Symbol. It’s a large suburban library that often buys multiple copies of big books – a half dozen or more of New York Times bestsellers — and might buy ten of this one. So if fewer than ten people are ahead of me on the list, I could have the book today. If a hundred people are ahead of me and each keeps it for two weeks, I might not have it for months.

Anybody want to guess whether I will get The Lost Symbol a) this week, b) next week, or c) when the Cubs win the World Series?

I will report back when my copy arrives.


  1. In many library systems, you can go online and see how many copies the system owns and where you are in the queue.

    The large suburban system I used to work for actually had a formula for books like this – they’d buy a certain percentage of the number that were in the queue. Naturally, a number of these copies were eventually weeded, but a lot of them were in poor shape by that point anyway and needed to be withdrawn.

    My guess is none of the above (a, b, or c). You won’t get it this week or next week, but after that point the queue usually moves pretty quickly with these hot books as some folks get tired of waiting for a library copy and just go ahead and buy their own.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — September 15, 2009 @ 11:08 am | Reply

    • Thanks! Why didn’t I think of that? My library is highly wired, and I think the staff at the library told me a while back you could do that, but I forgot.

      Sometimes they staff will also tell you how many people are ahead of you if you ask. I’m going to check today just for fun to see how many people were ahead of me and probably post something on it later.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 15, 2009 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  2. The cooperative catalog of the Westchester, NY, library system shows 95 copies in the 36 member libraries. IIRC each library’s copies will go first to their own patrons, at least for some period of time, and then can be sent around the system.

    I guess your wait to be 8 weeks.

    BTW, you’ve reminded me of doing this in the Brooklyn Public Library system in the 1940’s, ’50’s, and it was years, but I didn’t care since I would get it eventually. Curiously, I have no idea what new books I would have been so eager for!

    – a retired librarian

    Comment by Azalea — September 15, 2009 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

    • Interesting statistic. That works out to only three or so copies per library, and you wonder if the libraries will have to adjust that upward quickly.

      Wish I were more eager to read The Lost Symbol. I reserved it mainly because I do so much speaking at libraries and elsewhere in addition to writing this blog, and books like this one have a way of coming up when I do.

      The speaking to libraries part is fun even if reading the book isn’t, because often patrons are much blunter about books than the critics who have reviewed them …

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 15, 2009 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  3. I’m too impatient to wait for a library copy, so I’ll be adding to the dizzying sales statistics for The Lost Symbol this week.

    Comment by Chad Aaron Sayban — September 15, 2009 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

    • Are you adding to the stats today? That is, are you a rush-out-and-buy-it-this-instant fan or get-it-the-next-time-I’m-at-the-airport person?

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 15, 2009 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  4. I must have been the last person in the US to read “The Da Vinci Code”, just to see what the fuss was about. I found it a page-turner _even though_ it was trash but not bad enough to be funny. A really good thing, though – I read a book refuting it point by point which led to other books on the history of Christianity, current historical thinking on Jesus, and the history of churches in America, which, after all, started out with none. So I gained a great deal from one silly novel (and the leisure to read as I please).

    I was really entertained by Brown’s description of the hideaway of Opus Dei, since people who aren’t New Yorkers would have no idea that it is a 17 story building at the corner of two major shopping and traffic-bearing streets!

    Comment by Azalea — September 16, 2009 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

    • And Opus Dei is way out in the open in other ways, too — for example, with chapters operating on some campuses, such as Notre Dame.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 17, 2009 @ 12:00 am | Reply

  5. I ordered it, read it and reviewed it already. When it comes to some books, I’m addicted enough to pre-order them and read them ASAP. I know, I know, it’s an expensive habit that more trips to the library would help me manage.

    It will be interesting getting your take on it.


    Comment by knightofswords — September 17, 2009 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

    • Could we have a link? I went to your site to try to find your review so I could link back, but didn’t see it. You’re ahead of me …

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 17, 2009 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

      • Didn’t think about imposing with a link. But since you asked (thanks), here it is:


        Comment by knightofswords — September 18, 2009 @ 11:51 am

      • Nice lead on that Lost Symbol review, Macolm! Given that I couldn’t get past the third chapter or so of The Da Vinci Code, my review might turn out to be less enthusiastic than yours, assuming I get the book before the Cubs win the Series and can review it. But I enjoyed reading what you had to say and appreciated that you avoided the long inscrutable discussions of arcane plot points that might interest no one but the hardest-core Brown fans.

        Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 19, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

      • Thanks, Janice.

        Comment by knightofswords — September 19, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

    • The nice thing about Beyond Heaving Bosoms is that the authors have a sense of humor and do some satirizing of the form themselves.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 17, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  6. Re #1: Amanda: You nailed it about people getting tired of waiting. Somebody dropped off the queue at my library, so I moved up from #4 to #3 and I got one of our three copies. It’s 508 pages, though, so it’s going to take me a couple of days to read the book and write a review …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 24, 2009 @ 8:36 am | Reply

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