Last week we received an order from a librarian who was on her fifth try! She had tried to buy the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History from Amazon (I was surprised how many librarians do their ordering at Amazon; I wonder if they’ll be getting a new program like Amazon Prime, which I saw for the first time today) and gave up after they sent her, on three separate occasions, only one of the five volumes. She then tried Baker & Taylor who said it wasn’t published yet. In the end, she came to us and got a set shipped out the next day.
We’re delighted to see our books going out through all these channels, but they do add to the possibility of frustration and failure–failure being when we don’t manage to get a publication into the hands of people who want and need it. Who would have thought that packing all the volumes would be such an issue? I was in an English book warehouse, though, only a couple weeks ago and saw a huge sign over a pallet of books, “Pack all four volumes.” I laughed when I saw it, never thinking that our own books were sitting on a pallet somewhere that ought to have had a sign like that above it. There’s the challenge for every provider of information: getting the right stuff, and all of it, to those who need it. And doing it just as fast as we can.