Secrets of the Stacks

How libraries decide which books to keep—and which don’t stand the test of time

They want a full collection but don’t want to be saddled with books nobody reads.

Weeding, to such people, is akin to eugenics and murder. Some people feel the same about books: no book should be removed from a library.

But skeptics of library weeding, like Baker, are keenly aware of the difference between gardens and libraries: once you’ve weeded out a book, it isn’t going to grow back again.

We like to think that merit is eventually recognized, that a great book will make its way, but we know only the success stories.

Now the Common Reader exists slightly less notionally—the average of unsolicited responses on Amazon.

But when crowd wisdom becomes self-conscious, aware of its own power, it becomes subject to manipulation and no longer works.

@FSGbooks has published award-winning fiction, nonfiction, & poetry since 1946. Posts by @nickcourage and @iza_woj.

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