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When the world locked down in early 2020, people suddenly found themselves with a lot more time on their hands, and many chose to spend that time reading. According to an article posted on CBC's Sunday Magazine, an Angus Reid Survey conducted in April 2020 found that 40% of Canadian adults said they were reading more.


While this in theory sounds like a win for the book industry, publishing, and more specifically authors were greatly impacted by the COVID measures, and the statistics paint an interesting picture. With bookstores and libraries closed for browsing, people flocked to blockbuster authors and celebrities, while lesser known and debut authors fell by the wayside.


When asked about the circulation stats at their individual libraries, many of our library customers confirmed this data, stating that without the ability to browse in person, patrons were sticking to the familiar. It’s also interesting to note that many book discovery sites such as online bookstores or Goodreads rely on algorithms, thus directing people to those already popular titles and limiting what they see or is suggested to them. According to the New York Times, nine out of ten of the top fiction bestsellers in 2020 were by established authors.


There was some good news for publishers in 2021. According to statistics from the Association of American Publishers, the industry as a whole started to rebound with revenues rising nearly 12% for the calendar year. Independent bookstores were not factored into this data, so it could actually be higher than reported. The increase is a direct result of the reopening of brick and mortar bookstores and libraries, with both sectors increasing their purchasing and seeing an increase in foot traffic.


Despite the common belief that digital books would eliminate print, data also shows that print is still the preferred format for reading. Physical books continue to account for the majority of book sales revenue in the United States and Canada, and publishers continue to focus their marketing efforts into print rather than digital. Also interesting is overall cost comparison between digital and print, which finds that the two formats are much closer than you’d think.


According to a survey conducted in the U.S. in March/April 2020, 70% of the respondents said they preferred print books. The same was true in Canada, where Booknet Canada reported print making up approximately 75% of purchases in 2020. In 2021, booksellers in the US saw a rise in all regular print formats ranging from board books to hard covers, trade paperbacks and mass markets.


On the digital side, e-books took a dip of just under 5% in 2021 after seeing a rise in 2020 during the lockdowns. While there has always been a belief that younger generations prefer digital books over print, this turns out not to quite be the case.


A Pew Research study  conducted in early 2021 showed that 74% of the coveted 18-29 demographic preferred print to digital, as did 62% of the 16-24 year-old age group. Interestingly, juvenile and young adult books made up 41.2% of book sales in 2020 but less than 5% of children’s books were published in digital format. At the same time, the newer digital audiobook format rose while physical audio dropped, reflecting the changing listening habits of readers.


So what do all of these statistics mean? Overall, it’s good news for the book industry and for libraries in particular.  While print book sales haven’t quite rebounded to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, 2021 definitely looked better than 2020. It also bodes well that for all of the online options available to book consumers, approximately half still discover new reads through in person browsing, and nearly half of all readers who purchased books did so because someone suggested the title.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!




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When the Shonda Rhimes adaptation of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series debuted on Netflix it became an instant success, introducing a whole new audience to these regency period romances. Now, with the second season arriving on Netflix on March 25, curiosity about the Regency period and other Regency set books is sure to peak.


So what exactly is the Regency Period? Technically, it is the period between 1811-1820 in the UK when King George III went bonkers and the government made his son George, Prince of Whales, regent (ruling in his stead). The way the monarchy worked, death was pretty much the only way to remove a king from his throne, so giving Prince George ruling powers was the next best thing. Some experts extend the period into 1837 while George IV and George V ruled, but while it’s not Victorian, it’s not considered true Regency.


Initially, Prince George was a hit, and he was a very romantic figure. By all accounts, he was charming and handsome in his youth, and people took to calling him the first gentleman (Never mind that by the time he became king he was neither of those things anymore and he was highly unpopular and slightly crazy). 


While poor people obviously still existed in Regency England and were no better off than the poor from any other era, the upper classes, who are the focus of Bridgerton, were really rich. These were the Knights, Dukes, Earls, Barons, Lawyers, Bankers, and dudes who had tons of money and didn’t have to work known as Gentleman. As far as status goes, there were different groups and ranks among the upper classes, but no matter which group you belonged to, if you had money, land, and a title, you were set, and it gave you (or bought you) a ticket into the ton (le bon ton) which was Britain’s high society.


The other aspect of Regency England as portrayed in Bridgerton is something called The Season. The Season officially began with the opening of London Parliament in late January, and extended into early July when the weather got hot, and the wealthy fled the city for their country estates or travelled the continent. The Season was essentially the social season for the elite, and was comprised of parties, balls, trips to the theatre, etc… It was also the time when mothers with daughters of marriageable age presented them to society in hopes of finding them a wealthy husband.


You might be wondering what’s so fascinating about the Regency period’s equivalent to today’s 1% that readers and viewers flock to it?


One reason of course is that it’s glamourous. Who doesn’t like to imagine a lifestyle where all you do is  party for 6 months of the year? There is also something very appealing about the manners and elegance of the period.


The Regency period also fell smack dab in the middle of the Romantic Movement (a term used to define art, literature, poetry, music and architecture in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries), and produced famous authors such as Jane Austen, poets such Byron, and composers such as Beethoven to name a few.  Prince George was also famous for his investment in the arts, so culturally it’s a very rich period, and a really unique time.


It was also a time of high stakes, and functioning in society was something like a game of chess. Aristocrats were expected to marry for money, status, or politics, and there was a strict code of behaviour. You couldn’t even kiss a guy without causing a scandal, and there were appropriate times to make social calls, eat a meal, wear certain clothes, etc..  In Bridgerton and other Regency romances, part of the fun is seeing what happens when the charactrs try to step outside of those boundaries and defy social norms.


When selecting a Regency romance, it is also important to distinguish between novels written during the Regency period, traditional Regency romance, and the modern form of historical romance set in the Regency period but a lot sexier.


If reading books authored in the time period interest you, Jane Austen is obviously the most famous and most popular. Her commentary on social conventions and society is still relevant, and most importantly there’s Darcy (the hero of Pride and Prejudice) who is still considered to be the model of a romantic hero 200+ years later.


If you’ve already read and re-read Austen’s cannon until your copies are falling apart but are still interested in a traditional type of Regency novel, check out Georgette Heyer. Heyer was born 80 years after the end of the Regency period. She published her first novel in 1921, and her first regency novel The Convenient Marriage was published in 1934. Her novels are meticulously researched and have everything the romance reader could want- authentic characters, romance, humour, and rich dialogue. 


Amazingly, I never encountered her in any of my English Literature courses in University (maybe because most of my professors were men), but she's considered to be the mother of Regency romance and is noted for putting a more feminist slant on historical romance. 


If modern Regency is what you’re looking for, Bridgerton is an obvious choice. There are eight books in the series (one for each of the children of the late Viscount Bridgerton), and four Bridgerton Prequels featuring the Rokesbys-- the family who lived next door.


Once you’ve finished those, if you’re still looking for parallel authors, here are a few suggestions:


Lisa Kleypas is a highly prolific romance author, and her Wallflowers series focuses on four young ladies in Regency times who enter society with the goal of finding a husband.


Elosia James’ new Would Be Wallflowers series features a Regency period heroine who is about to be launched into society but has no desire to marry, and does everything she can to put off suitors.


Welsh-Canadian author Mary Balogh’s 10 book Westcott series is another popular choice, as is her brand-new Ravenswood series publishing in July 2022.  Similarly to Bridgerton, the Westcott books feature different members of the Westcott family, and they contain all the romance, balls, and scandals readers love about the period.


These are just a few of the most popular choices, but feel free to contact your selector for additional choices in print or on screen.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Due to the on-going conflict in the Ukraine, there is a shortage and delay in our supply of Ukrainian language materials. We are continuing to work with our vendors to minimize the disruption in the next couple of months.

There is currently no change in our shipment of Russian language material.

We appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.

Please feel free to reach out and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


Happy Reading!




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When I was a kid (ok, and maybe an adult too), I was absolutely obsessed with all things unicorn. I collected unicorns of all shapes and sizes (my prized possession was a giant unicorn from the CNE), had unicorn posters on my wall, and read anything I could find about unicorns. I even have a collector’s edition of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn simply because it’s a unicorn book. Looking at the breadth of unicorn, Pegasus, mermaids, and even mermicorn (a mermaid/unicorn hybrid) chapter book series that are a growing trend for emerging readers, I wish I was 8-years-old again so I could read them all and appreciate the magic of these stories. 


For newly independent readers, the branches series Unicorn Diaries by Rebecca Elliott is a perfect choice. Each book features a magical unicorn attending the Sparklegrove school. Part of the Branches chapter book series, these fully-illustrated, easy-to-read, and fast-paced stories are a perfect transition from levelled readers.


When they’re ready for something more challenging, try Sparkleton by Calliope Glass, and aimed at 7 to 10-year-olds. Sparkleton is a shaggy purple unicorn who is desperate to get wish-granting powers and will do almost anything to get them. The books are just under 100 pages and full-colour, and with book 6 arriving in August, it’s a perfect series for your unicorn-loving readers.


Also popular with young readers is the Unicorn University series by Daisy Sunshine. Aimed at fans of My Little Pony, the soon-to-be nine books in the series follow the adventures of young unicorns attending Unicorn University, a boarding school for unicorns. At 112 pages, these are slightly longer than the Sparkleton books, but black-and-white illustrations are interspersed throughout the text and they still fit into that emerging reader category.


For a longer-running series, direct your readers to Unicorn Academy and the spin-off series Unicorn Academy: Nature Magic by Julie Sykes about a special school where every student is paired with their own unicorn. The original series has 12 books, and Nature Magic has 4 so far. This series would absolutely have been a favourite of 8-year-old me, and I would have fantasized about attending this magical school.


For Pegasus fans comes an adorable series called Pegasus Princesses by Emily Bliss, creator of Unicorn Princesses.The five books in the series follow the adventures of 8-year-old Clara, a pegasus-obsessed girl who finds a magical silver feather in the forest that transports her to the magical land of the Pegasus Princesses. Each of the eight pegasus princesses have a unique magical power, throne, and tiara, and it’s a fun, illustrated series full of magic and charm.


If you’re like me and you loved Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Mermaids Rock and Mermaid Tales are the perfect choice. Mermaids Rock, by Linda Chapman is a new fully illustrated chapter book series featuring the mermaids living in the coral reef Mermaids Rock who have all kinds of adventures including solving mysteries and helping sea animals in danger. 


Mermaid Tales by Debbie Dadey is a long-running illustrated series following four third-grade mermaid friends attending Trident Academy, a school for you guessed it-mermaids! The fourseome get tangled up in all kinds of adventures, and with 21 books in the series, there are plenty to keep mermaid fanatics reading for a long time.


Do your readers love mermaids and unicorns and wish they could read about both at the same time? Well now they can with two different series about Mermicorns. Mermicorn Island by Jason June. Half unicorn, half mermaid, young readers will love reading about the adventures of the magical half mermaid, half unicorn mermicorns living on the island.


Can’t get enough mermicorn magic? Then try the Mermicorns series by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. When the mermicorn’s horn starts to sparkle it means she’s ready for magic school, and each story features a different magical mermicorn. The series contains black-and-white illustrations, and will appeal to fans of Unicorn Academy, Purrmaids, and other magical animal tales. 


While all of these fall into the chapter book category, there are additional series available for middle-grade readers, so feel free to contact us if you’d like some suggestions of titles for your collection.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!




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Becoming a famous bestselling author is no easy feat, but you know what’s just as or perhaps even more difficult? Being the child of a famous writer and trying to establish yourself separate from your famous parent. Some writer children have actually gone by different names, some started out co-writing or continuing their parent's work, and others took more unconventional routes to success.


Joe Hill, creator of the comic book series Locke & Key (now in its second season on Netflix), NOS4A2 (ran for 2 seasons on AMC), and numerous other novels is the son of master of horror Stephen King, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that King’s wife Tabitha and other son Owen are also writers. While Owen not as well-known as his famous father and sibling, he’s finding success in print and in television.


Hill (whose actual name is Joseph Hillstrom King), decided to change his name because he wanted to succeed on his own merits and not by riding his father’s fame. Although the cat is out of the bag now, by the time Variety reported his identity around 2006, he was already making it, and now he can boast being a Bram Stoker and Eisner Award-winner, a New York Times bestselling author, and several other credits. 


Having been a Stephen King fan since I was 11, I naturally questioned Hill’s talent, but I enjoyed the novel and TV adaptation of NOS4A2, and am excitedly binging my way through the second season of Locke & Key. IDW plans to publish a prequel collection of stories about the Locke family ancestors in March 2022, and I look forward to checking it out! 


Another author who clearly inherited the writing gene from her parent is Emma Straub. She's the daughter of horror/suspense novelist Peter Straub, and author of several novels including the 2020 bestseller All Adults Here which I really enjoyed. Unlike her father however, Straub does not write horror novels, but writes domestic fiction and she’s perfectly fine with that. Her stories are funny, true to life, and highly insightful, and they appeal to a different audience than her father’s books. Interestingly, in Straub’s case, growing up with a famous writer father definitely did not give her a leg up, and the first four novels that she wrote got rejected by virtually every publisher she tried. She gets the last laugh though, and her 8th novel This Time Tomorrow is scheduled for release in May 2022. 


Carol Higgins Clark, actress and author of the Regan Reilly series, inherited her mother Mary Higgins Clark’s talent for suspense writing, and even co-authored a number of Christmas suspense stories and novels with her mom. By the time Carol entered college, she was learning the craft by assisting her mother with her books, and event\ually progressed to writing mysteries of her own. While the elder Clark was known as the “Queen of Suspense”, the younger Clark is known for taking a lighter, and more humorous tone in her work. I’ve never read any of her solo work, but if you enjoyed her mom’s books she’s worth reading. Mary Higgins Clark passed away in 2020, but her final book Where are the Children Now (a sequel to Where are the Children) co-written with Alafair Burke is scheduled for a spring 2023 release.  


When you come from a family of writers, and your mom was the famous author of one of the most popular vampire book series of all time, it seems only natural that you either become a writer or run far away. In the case of Christopher Rice, son of bestselling author Anne Rice, he chose the former. He published his first novel Destiny of Souls at age 22, won a Lambda award for his second novel The Snow Garden, and collaborated with his mother on the second and forthcoming third books in the Ramses the Damned series. His novels range from supernatural to suspense, and his newest novel Decimate is scheduled for release in May 2022.


Roy Johansen, son of Iris Johansen can seemingly do it all. He won an Edgar award and a Spielberg writing competition in college for his first screenplay Murder 101 (which incidentally was produced as a cable film with Pierce Brosnan), he collaborated with Stan Lee to create the superhero The Accuser, co-writes the Kendra Michaels series with his mother, and has his own thriller Killer View releasing in February, 2022, featuring private eye Jessie Mercado, a character from the Kendra Michaels books.


In a Q&A with Mystery & Suspense Magazine, Johansen explained that while the character has already appeared in three Kendra books, it was time to give Jessie his own story. The book is listed as a standalone, don’t be surprised if more Jesse novels follow sometime in the future.


While a Google search and Twitter inquiry turned up numerous other results of famous writing spouses, siblings, and parent/child combos, I’ll end with a brief mention of two sons carrying on popular series started by their fathers. Dirk Cussler, son of the late Clive Cussler started co-writing the Dirk Pitt Adventure novels with his father back in 2004, and also happens to be the namesake for the series.


Brian Herbert, son of the late Frank Herbert co-wrote the final two books in the

 blockbuster Dune series (partially based on his father’s notes) with author Kevin J. Anderson, and has also collaborated with the author on several prequel novels. I should mention that Herbert has written a number of other stand-alone novels as well, but I’m sure he’ll be forever remembered for his contributions to Dune.


And last but not least, Alafair Burke, a law professor at Hofstra University, followed in the footseps of  her crime novelist father James Lee Burke ,and writes crime fiction loosely based on true crime stories. She's also notable for being the first person of colour (her mother was a refugee from China) to be elected as the president of Mystery Writers of America. Her latest novel Find Me released in January 2022. 


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

Happy Reading!


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Print Run.


Those two words seem so innocuous, but in publishing, they tell you a lot about a book.


If you’re not familiar with what a print run is, it’s the set number of copies that a publisher chooses to print of any given book up front. That decision is made by the publisher in the early planning stages, and is entirely based on how many copies they think they can sell up front.


Setting a print run is no easy feat. When you purchase a book for your library system, you’re using your knowledge of the author or subject to determine how many copies you think you’ll need right away to satisfy demand from your patrons, while still working within your budget. 


Most libraries also don't want a collection entirely comprised of top 40 picks, and making room for sleeper hits , award-winners, and midlist may require buying fewer copies of the 8 Danielle Steel books published annually. It’s a tricky balance, and is often impossible to get just right. Too few and the holds get out of control, too many, and they sit on a shelf collecting dust. 


Now imagine making this decision not only for your library, but for thousands of bookstore/library customers across Canada and the U.S. Print too few and you risk not having enough to fill customer orders which is never a good thing. Print too many, and there can be financial consequences for a publisher. Every unsold copy represents dollars that could have gone into publishng or promoting another title, and  in this case, having a lot of leftovers doesn’t make anyone happy.


The author’s previous sales, and bookstore/wholesale pre-orders definitely factor into deciding whether to print 100 or a million, as do factors such as whether film rights have already been acquired, the interest there was at auction (yes, books go to auction too), enthusiasm by staff at the publishing house, and whether it’s a book by a celebrity.


You might be wondering what a print run actually means, and why anybody cares about it. To the average person, it means nothing directly. Publishers generally don’t share print run information with the public, and the average person buying a book from a book store or signing it out of the library will never know how many copies are printed. However, that data is important on several other levels, some of which do indirectly have an impact on the public.


Believe it or not, the print run can have a huge influence on how well a book sells. The million copy plus print runs afforded to authors such as James Patterson, Jeff Kinney, Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, and a handful of others definitely tells you something about the publisher’s plans for the book.


A book doesn’t get that kind of initial print run unless the author is well-established and/or the publisher expects there to be a huge demand. These kinds of print runs are usually accompanied by a lot of pre-pub publicity online and in the media, and have a lot of marketing dollars thrown behind them.


For various reasons, some authors switch publishers at some point in their career, and a new publisher may drastically increase the print run, or drastically reduce it, which can signal the buyer to buy fewer or more copies. Bestselling author Ruth Ware, didn’t become a hit until she switched publishers, and her breakout was largely a result of her new publisher's enthusiasm for her work, and an active promotional effort. 


When you’re a bookseller/library purchaser, the print run information can assist you in making an educated guess about how many copies you’ll need, especially if the author isn’t as well known as the superstars I mentioned above. The larger the presence the book has, the more likely it is to become a bestseller, simply because psychologically, people are drawn to a large display and assume it’s an important book worth checking out. I’ve  discovered quite a a few authors by seeing their books in volume and prominently displayed so it works!


At the same time, while print runs can be helpful, they don’t tell the whole story and can be deceiving. While the extremes of a few hundred or a million definitely tell you something, there’s a huge range in between, and it varies from publisher to publisher. 100k might be at the top end of the scale for a bestseller for one publisher, and average for another. The print runs announced at the time the book is first annoucned is also merely an estimate, and depending on demand, it can go up and down.


Another thing to keep in mind is that print runs from Canadian publishers are substantially smaller than their American counterparts, and yet some of these authors are equally or more popular than the bestselling authors whose print runs might be 2 or three times larger. It’s a given that the demand for a new Margaret Atwood will be huge, but even she doesn’t receive a million copy print run from her publisher.


Books are a tricky business, no question, and lacking a crystal ball that can tell us 100% how popular a book is going to be, we use the tools such as print runs to make a judgement call about how many copies of a book we think we need. But as recent break out hits such as The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (print run 50k) or Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson (around 7k initial print run) demonstrate, you can’t judge a book by its print run!


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!



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The month of January has traditionally always been about making resolutions. It’s the time where we turn the page on a brand-new year and promise ourselves all manner of things from losing weight and eating fewer sweets to being more active, sleeping more, etc… While our resolve to do all of these things tends to wane partway into the month, reading resolutions are far easier to keep.


In that spirit, we at LSC thought it would be fun to share some of our 2022 reading resolutions with all of you.


To start, Jamie resolves to read more practical non-fiction about recycling with a “make do and mend” notion – how to make and repair clothing, how to reuse fabric, sustainable choices, etc. She hopes that this will lead her into reading more about composting and gardening as well. Fiction wise, she hopes to find more graphic novels by disabled authors,  and hopes to venture into some science fiction. In the past it’s been a genre that she has generally avoided, but has recently caught her interest, and she plans to read Becky Chambers and Tochi Onyebuchi in 2022 while starting on Ursula K. Le Guin now.


Sara resolves to actually finish the many series she has started over the past few years. She has pile of books sitting beside my bed that are all book 3 or 4 in a series that forces conspire to prevent her from finishing. She notes that she often gets as far as book 2 or 3 and then stops due to delays in publishing and then forgetting the plot and never finishing. She recently purchased the last Diana Gabaldon, Go Tell the Bees that I am Gone but still needs to finish the previous volume and maybe even re-read the previous one to refresh her memory. She also wants to start the second "A Kingdom and Fresh and Fire" in the Jennifer Armentrout 'Blood and Ash' series as well as the 4th in Sabaa Tahir "An Ember in the Ashes" which came out a while ago, but hasn’t had the time to finish.


I echo Sara on this one, as I think we all do. I start a duology/trilogy/series with every intention of completing it, and if I like the first book, I’ll be ravenous for the next. Something always seems to happen between the second and third book that prevents me from ever getting back to it, and I have tons of unfinished series on my shelves. There’s only so many books I can read in a year, and with so many that I want to read, it’s hard to come back to a series.


Karrie likens her movie watching habits to reading, and comments that while she’s a big fan of all types of genres, it’s almost always fiction that she’s drawn to. In 2022, one of her Reading Resolutions is to read more non-fiction, particularly memoirs and biographies. Being a movie buff, she’s especially interested in reading the stories behind the actors on the big screen, and learning about them beyond the characters they play.


Stefanie resolves to make more time in her busy schedule for reading in general, but also to try and read outside of her comfort zone and broaden her reading horizons. She’s resolving to take a chance on reading genres she isn’t normally interested in, and seeing if she likes them rather than just reading who and what she knows she likes.


This is one of my resolutions as well. When an author you know you like and always read comes out with a new book, it’s a lot easier to make time to read it. I think I did a good job in 2021 of reading books by authors I’ve never read before, but in some ways it wasn’t really a stretch because they are still writing in genres that I already know I enjoy. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with reading thrillers or romance novels, but there are many other genres to explore.


Last but not least, I resolve to be more impulsive in my reading. I’m a compulsive planner. I like schedules and routines, and I get a bit too caught up in planning what I’m going to read next, and the book after that, and the book after that. We all have To Be Read piles that seem to grow rather than shrink, and in the digital age, I often joke that my Kindle is a black hole. I have so many titles on there that I lose track of what I have, and just adding something to a pile makes it easy to forget about it and never read something I was really interested in. The only person dictating what I read for pleasure is me, and I have to allow myself to deviate from my set schedule and read something on impulse right away just because I want to.


I’m sure that there are plenty more reading resolutions that we could/should make, but for now we’ll try to stay on top of these and see where the year takes us.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!



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Are you passionate about books and reading, and if so, are you interested in helping us shape our bestseller lists? If you are, we have an opportunity for you. We are seeking new members for the adult and juvenile bestseller committees currently working in a library setting who can apply their diverse perspectives to selecting new titles for our catalogues.

LSC’s Bestseller committees are made up of librarians along with the LSC selectors, and we meet 3x a year in over Zoom to discuss the forthcoming titles for the winter, spring/summer and fall publishing seasons.  We typically meet in October, January, and June, and the meetings last about 60-90 minutes with the discussed titles making up the committee picks section of our bestseller catalogues.

Bestsellers typically don’t need a lot of discussion. There are certain authors each season we all readily agree should be on a bestseller list, and in knowing this, we felt that our we could make better use of our members expertise and experience by giving them an opportunity to showcase some of their personal picks in the unique committee picks section of the bestseller lists rather than wasting time talking about Danielle Steel or James Patterson.

During the meeting, members have the opportunity to discuss their personal fiction and non-fiction picks with the other members, and to offer a brief explanation of what drew them to their picks. Whether it’s a buzzy debut, a hot-button topic, or just something that you personally want to read, the only criteria is that the title be suitable for the average Canadian library.

Now you might be wondering how you know what titles to pick, especially if you don’t personally meet with sales reps or do selection. Not to worry! We supply you with everything you need. Approximately one week prior to the meeting we provide you with a central login to Booknet Catalist where we will have posted our pre-selections for the bestseller lists in each category. We will also give you links to the current publisher catalogues on Catalist where you can review the titles and select your picks.

We suggest selecting up to 10 fiction and 10 non-fiction titles to discuss for the adult list, and up to 10 picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels for the juvenile, but being book lovers ourselves, we know that sometimes it’s hard to narrow it down. While we may not be able to discuss each title individually, we share our selections on Catalist and form the lists from there. One of the things that we most appreciate about the committee picks is the uniqueness of the selections, and a chance to highlight something we may otherwise have overlooked.

If all this sounds interesting but you’re worried about making a long-term commitment, be assured that we aren’t asking you to sign your life away. A term can last up to three years, but we also appreciate that you are volunteering your time and life/work gets in the way, and you can opt-out at any time. We also appreciate that you may not be able to make every meeting over the course of a term, so you don’t have to worry about losing your spot if you have to miss one or two.

We currently have two openings on the adult and one on the juvenile committees, and positions will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. If all of this sounds up your alley and you’re interested in joining or finding out more, please contact me at

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It’s that time of year again where the holiday movies dominate your TV screens, retail stores play Christmas music on repeat, and colourful lights brighten up the dreary winter weather. It also means that it’s time for holiday themed reads and there are some real gems this year.


On the picture book front comes a beautifully illustrated edition of The Nutcracker by one of my personal favourites- Jan Brett. With her trademark illustrations, she sets the story in snowy Russia, and follows the epic adventure of siblings Marie and Fritz who travel into the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. This is a perfect companion to the National Ballet of Canada version (which also features Marie and Fritz) and a true holiday classic.


For emerging readers comes Parks and Rec star Aubrey Plaza’s The Legend of the Christmas Witch. Plaza, who loves to scare kids on Halloween, gives Santa an exiled twin sister in a story that she describes as “merry and bright and a little dark, and a little creepy”. Torn away from her brother as a child, Santa’s sister was raised in the woods by a witch. Now, many years later, she sets out on a dangerous journey to find her brother, and learns lessons about bravery, love, and magic along the way. This non-traditional Christmas tale is sure to appeal to kids and adults alike.


If you’ve seen the new Nextflix movie A Boy CalledChristmas, check out the book that inspired the movie by Matt Haig, the bestselling author of the Midnight Library, and numerous other titles. Read alone or read aloud, this is a wholly charming Santa origin story about an 11-year-old Nikolas, nicknamed Christmas by his deceased mother, who sets off on a quest to the North Pole to rescue his father who has gone missing. Along the way he meets a prickly reindeer, a difficult troll, and finds the hidden village of Elfhelm who need his help to save Christmas. I loved the movie, and I love Matt Haig’s works, and like most good Christmas stories, it’s not just for kids. Haig is also the author of The Girl who Saved Christmas, and Father Christmas and Me, which make great companions.


If you prefer naughty over nice, I’d be remiss not to highlight the classic Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. The story follows the antics of the Herdman siblings, otherwise known as the worst kids in the world. When they unexpectedly show up at church for the free snacks, they end up taking over the annual Christmas pageant and chaos ensues. The story is laugh aloud funny, a little bit wicked, and a must-read for the holiday season.


On the YA front, Christmas usually means Rom-Com, and two of my favourites have also been adapted for Netflix.


The first is Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. In this fun romance, 16-year-old Lily has left a notebook full of challenges on the bookstore shelf, hoping that the right guy will find it and accept the dares. Dash, who feels more like Scrooge than Santa, finds the book and takes up Lily’s challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance in letters as the pair pass the notebook back and forth throughout New York City. When they finally meet in person, the only question is will they live up to their notebook selves, or are they doomed to be a mismatch of epic proportions? The authors also wrote a follow up 12 Days of Dash & Lily, picking up one year after the first book.


The other is Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson. A blizzard buries the residents of Gracetown under several feet of snow, creating chaos and romance in these three interconnected romantic holiday tales. The stories are sweet, funny, and swoon-worthy, and the authors all have huge followings, adding to its appeal.



If Hallmark movies are more your thing, check out The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcello about two clashing teen co-workers who accidentally switch cell phones for the afternoon and learn that they’ve each been hiding something from each other. Throw in an unexpected snowstorm and you have the makings of a fantastic holiday romance.


On the adult side, there are a number of holiday themed books from popular writers such as Anne Perry, Susan Mallery, Fern Michaels, and Debbie Macomber, but if you’re looking for something new, try Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli. When 29-year-old Niki travels to India for a friend’s wedding, she arrives just in time to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. When she meets London musician Sameer, sparks fly, and as they spend time together, Niki gets back in touch with her Indian roots and starts to reconsider what she actually wants out of life.


Another great choice for a non-Christmas holiday book is the Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer. This one is right up my alley and I can’t wait for my hold to come available at the library so I can read it. The novel is about a ‘nice” Jewish girl who has secretly been publishing Christmas romance novels for a decade. When her publisher forces her to write a Chanukah romance, she hits a wall. Rachel finds inspiration at a Jewish-themed music festival called “The Matzah Ball”, where she is forced to work with her summer camp arch-nemesis. It’s a fun, out of the box romance, and will appeal to a wide variety of readers.


Finally, for readers who love the switching places theme comes the Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox. When I was a kid I was addicted to stories about twins switching places, and I’ve seen the Candace Cameron Hallmark Movie Switched for Christmas a few times. If this describes you, you’ll love this book. It’s about- you guessed it- twins who switch lives 12 days before Christmas as a temporary escape from their lives. But when you throw a calendar-worthy firefighter and a hot physician assistant into the mix, trading lives becomes much more complicated than they bargained for.


Those are just the tip of the iceberg for holiday reads, and whether you want laughs, mischief, scares or romance, there’s something for everybody in these selections.

es or romance, there’s something for everybody in these selections.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram @LibraryServicesCentre, and on Twitter @LSC_since1967. We also encourage you to subscribe to the Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!



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When it comes to boys and reading, there are several myths and misunderstandings surrounding their habits. These myths perpetrate the belief that boys, and teen boys especially, don’t read. And if they do, they won’t read fiction.


Curious to see whether this is also true of boys who have grown up reading and enjoying novels, I asked my friend whose sons recently turned 11 and 14 if she has noticed a difference in the reading habits of her kids as they’ve gotten older. Her younger son still enjoys reading, and is open to reading a variety of titles. Her teenager, who not so long ago was deep into Harry Potter now says “UGHHH” very loudly when she suggests that he put down his device and read a book.


Why don’t boys read novels you may ask? Well, according to Jon Scieszka, popular author and founder of Guysread, one reason that boys stop reading is because they lack a male role model for literacy. Research suggests that while men often come back to reading as they approach retirement age, boys mostly see women reading and therefore do not see it as a male activity.


a box set collection of Judy Blume novelsWhen my brother was a kid, he enjoyed the popular “boy” books such as the Fudge books by Judy Blume, How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol, etc…By the time he was a pre-teen, he was hardly reading at all. And in university, he asked me if I had Coles Notes for the required reading in his English class just to avoid reading the book. My dad is a reader now, but when my brother and I were little, he was building his career, and I doubt if we saw him just sitting down and reading. My mom had the luxury of staying home, and had a lot more time to read for pleasure.


The most common assumption is that girls read fiction and boys read non-fiction. For girls, reading is a pleasurable activity, whereas for boys, it’s merely a means to finding out something they want to know. This belief is certainly common in the publishing world, and of the 600 or so unique YA novels published each year, an overwhelming majority seem aimed at girls (statistics on this vary so take this as a baseline). According to a study of all books reviewed by Horn Book Magazine in 2014, the protagonists of middle grade novels were 48% boys, 36% girls, and 16% both, while in YA, 65% were female, 22% male, and 13% both.


Economically, this makes sense. Publishing is a business, and the job of a publisher is to produce books that meet the demand of the market. If there is little demand for boy-oriented YA fiction, they aren’t going to spend their limited dollars trying to meet a demand that isn’t there. That also means that the so-called boy books receive little to no marketing dollars, so even though they exist, it’s a lot harder to find them.


Now we’ve got a chicken/egg question. Do boys stop reading because of the perception that YA fiction is for girls, or is YA fiction aimed at girls because teen boys don’t read fiction? If you assume that boys won’t read and cater primarily to girls, boys naturally assume that there is nothing for them and focus their attention on other activities.  On the other hand, if you give them something that will engage them, they will be more likely to read.


So what will engage a boy? A thrilling story with a lot of action is a big one, and is a lot more important than the gender of the protagonist. Hunger Games is a perfect example of a female-centered book that boys have enjoyed, largely because the story has enough action and excitement to keep male readers engaged, and it doesn’t look like a girl book. I don’t know too many boys who are interested in reading about mean girls and love triangles, and I definitely don’t know many who will willingly pick up a book with a feminine cover. They also like stories about real boys experiencing real things, because boys want characters they can relate to as much as girls do.


the delusionist by don calame / a street magician juggling a ball and holding playing cards, against a blue fieldOne author who definitely understands the teenage boy psyche is British Columbian author Don Calame, whose four previous books have been big hits with reluctant readers. When I described the plot of Swim the Fly to my partner, he blanched, and literally asked me “how did he know?” As far as I’m aware they have no direct (or indirect) connection, but he was positive that Calame had somehow heard about his teenage exploits and put them into a novel.


His new novel The Delusionist focuses on two best friends, and their individual quests to find the perfect magic trick to get them into a summer magic academy for teens. As the story progresses, they find their friendship tested by a crafty female magician, the pressure of competing against each other, and the desire to be seen as individuals and not one half of a duo. It’s funny, it’s real, and I can think of several boys between 11 and 15 who will enjoy it.


the loop by ben oliver / the word loop with each letter a floor plan of a building.If your teens are into action, Ben Oliver’s Loop Trilogy is an exciting, action-packed dystopian horror series that will appeal to fans of Maze Runner. The story focuses on 16-year-old Luca Kane, who is an inmate inside a futuristic death-row prison for teens. When the teens suddenly find themselves left alone in the prison, Luca will have to overcome fellow prisoners who want to kill him, rabid rats in the train tunnels, and an outside population turned into murderous monsters if he wants to survive. Book 2 released last year, and while there’s no official word on book 3 yet, we can hope that it won’t be too long a wait to see how the series ends.


These are just a couple of suggestions, but there are many books out there with teen boy appeal. You just have to be willing to find them. 


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!

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Everybody loves a good mystery, and from the moment I started reading chapter books, I had mysteries on my shelf. I had tons of collections of mini-mysteries (the ones where the solution was written in backwards writing that you held up to a mirror), and I loved solving puzzles alongside my favourite kid sleuths.


Anyone who enjoys reading mysteries can appreciate that sense of satisfaction when you have your ‘AHAH!’ moment and figure everything out, and I think that somehow it’s even more satisfying when you’re a kid. As the popular mystery writer Stuart Gibbs speculates, mysteries appeal because the smartest person (usually the good guys) wins, and they are just ordinary people without super powers or any extraordinary gift except for intellect. I’d also suggest that solving mysteries give kids a sense of power in a world where they often feel helpless and powerless.


While some of the books I enjoyed as a kid are now considered non-PC (Enid Blyton I’m looking at you), I’m amazed at how many of the series I followed as a kid are still in print and popular, and am constantly blown away by how rich a genre it is.


waiting game cover / an overhead picture of a chess boardI remember my brother and I both enjoying Donald Sobel’s Encyclopedia Brown. I loved Harriet the Spy, Liza, Bill and Jed (a series by Amelia Bedelia author Peggy Parish about sleuthing twins and their younger brother), and of course Ellen Raskin’s Newbery Award-winning novel The Westing Game which is still considered the gold standard of juvenile mysteries today.


When you think of famous kidlit detectives, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys are probably the first to jump to mind. They’ve been popular for nearly a century, and they are among the few children’s book series that I can say both my parents and I read and enjoyed. In fact, my mom still has her collection of Nancy Drew books from when she was a kid, and despite my having outgrown the books years ago and not having kids of my own, she’s been reluctant to let them go.


I liked Nancy and read the books faithfully when I was younger, along with Trixie Belden (who I thought was a lot more interesting), but it was another kid detective who stole my heart. I loved and still love Nate the Great. 


Nate first appeared in print in 1972. The series was one of the first chapter book series published by Putnam, and despite original author Marjorie Weinman Sharmat’s passing in 2019, they continue to be published today.


So who is Nate the Great? If you’ve never read the series, he’s a 9-year-old kid detective (think a mini Sam Spade) who solves "cases" in his neighbourhood along with his dog sludge. Nate wears his trademark trench coat and Sherlock Holmes-style hat, and loves (and I mean LOVES) pancakes which he accepts as payment for solving the mysteries.


Along with Nate, the books also introduce an interesting cast of supporting characters. There’s Annie, an African-American girl who is one of Nate’s best friends and her dog Fang, Rosamond, a very goth-looking girl who is always described as “strange," (remember this is a 9-year-old boy POV) owns four cats, and is crushing on Nate, the wise Esmerelda, and his sometimes adversaries Finley and Pip. I always had a soft spot for Rosamond, but they’re all interesting and likeable characters.


So what is it about Nate that has allowed him to endure for almost 50 years? Firstly, the humour. They are genuinely clever and witty stories, and at the time, books like these were something pretty rare for the age group. I remember most of the books I read as a child, and I can’t think of anything else that was comparable to these when I was 6 or 7 and moving away from picture books and readers.  While the category has greatly expanded since then, these are still stand out for me.


I also loved Nate’s autonomy. It seems like all he ever had to do was leave a note for his mother telling her that he was on a case, and that was perfectly fine. In Nate the Great Goes Undercover, Nate goes on an overnight stakeout to figure out who or what is going through his neighbour Oliver’s trashcan. In fact, Nate was so dedicated to solving the case that he even crawled inside the trash can. You really have to appreciate Nate’s dedication. He’ll work a case until he solves it, only briefly stopping for pancakes to help him keep up his strength.


Another of Nate’s characteristics that kids find so appealing is his blunt, deadpan delivery. In the first sentence of the first book, Nate introduces himself with the line““My name is Nate the Great. I am a detective. I work alone.” He may not intend to be funny, but he truly is, and adults will appreciate the tone as much as kids do.


nate the great cover / three students in a hallway following the trail of a muddy robot

The humour is especially prevalent in Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine where Nate has to figure out who left his dog a secret valentine. This is a problem because Nate really hates mushy stuff, and he makes it quite clear that he does not want to be anybody’s valentine. Thinking that Rosamond gave him a valentine, he decides to hang out in the dog house with Sludge until the valentine blows away  just to avoid having to claim it.


In Spring 2021, Nate returned with an all new adventure where he solves the case of the missing Earth Day robot, and it was just as funny and smart as the previous titles.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


Happy Reading!

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