FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many titles do you have listed?

Good question. While we keep a running count of subgenres (460+) and authors (10,000+), we don't keep a running count of actual titles. Due to the nature of our site, counting titles is difficult (the same title frequently occurs in multiple subgenres, and there's no title index). We've tried a couple of methods to estimate the number, and they all come out in the 50,000+ range -- so let's go with that for now.

2. I see that you have over ten thousand authors listed. That's quite an accomplishment. When did you hit 10,000, and who was the author?

Aw, shucks. Our ten-thousandth author, Stella Duffy, was added at 2:50 pm on Friday, July 18, 2008.

3. Why aren't so-and-so's books listed?

First, perhaps we just haven't gotten to him/her yet. This site began with the holdings of one particular public library; titles not owned by that library were not listed. We have since relaxed that policy, and we now list many additional authors and titles, but we're all running as fast as we can to keep up with new releases; older titles, particularly from previous centuries, may take a long time to appear (in fact, some may never make it).

Second, we concentrate almost exclusively on books published in the U.S. If the title you're looking for was published only in the U.K., Australia, or Canada, or if it's a non-English publication, then you probably shouldn't expect to find it listed here.

4. How can I get my books listed?

The standard ways. Good reviews in national publishing industry sources such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. Any reviews in national sources such as Time, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Oprah, NPR, etc. Any publicity or notoriety that leads to repeated customer requests. In short, anything that would cause your book to be purchased by chain bookstores, independents, or public libraries.

The team is open to suggestions for additions, but we do not add suggested titles automatically. We have excellent spam filters, so spamming us is a very good way to get your title(s) ignored completely.

5. Why don't you have more children's or teen books listed?

Readersadvice.com is primarily aimed at adult readers. We have only 4 lists with major amounts of non-adult material: Children's and Teen's Fantasy, Young Adult Humor, Young Adult SF, and Read-Alouds (the last includes children's books but is really aimed at adults).

Occasionally a YA book appears on the adult lists, when it's something that adult readers would enjoy.

It would be great to list lots more Children's and YA titles, but once again, we're running as fast as we can just to keep up with adult titles. We're afraid that we'll have to leave the kids' stuff to some other team.

6. What do the dates at the end of each list represent?

At the end of each list you'll see something like this:

updated: Thursday, February 16, 2006

The updated: date tells you when the list was last edited. The second date tells you when the list was created.

A list may be updated for a number of reasons: to add authors or titles; to add additional formats such as book-on-tape, book-on-cd, e-book, or DVD; to correct errors or change the look of a page; etc.

7. What do , , , and mean?

tells you that a title (or series) was added to the listings in the current calendar month.
tells you that a title (or series) was added to the listings in the previous six calendar months.
Usually, these are recently-published titles; but sometimes, they are older titles that are new to readersadvice.com.

tells you that a subgenre list was updated in the current calendar month.
tells you that a subgenre list was updated in the previous calendar month.

www.readersadvice.com is updated frequently, usually daily (except for days off and vacations), so check back regularly. Obviously, near the end of a calendar month is a good time to check.

8. What do , , and mean?

tells you that this title is available in book-on-tape (audiocassette) format. Unabridged editions are preferred, when available.
tells you that this title is available in book-on-CD (audio compact disc) format. Unabridged editions are preferred, when available.
tells you that this title is available in e-book format. Adobe Acrobat or Multiformat editions are preferred.
In these cases, clicking on the icon usually takes you to the amazon.com page for the corresponding edition. Some e-books are linked to Fictionwise.com.
On occasion, a movie has been made from a book and the DVD is available. On those occasions, you'll see and clicking will take you to the amazon.com page describing the DVD.
These features are all fairly new; you'll be seeing more of these icons as time goes by.

9. What is your definition of a "series"? I don't consider xyz to be a series.

We consider a series to be a set of books (and/or short stories) set against a common background, frequently featuring the same character(s). A series may or may not present a continuing narrative. Most often, a series is written by one author or collaborative team, but there are some series in which books are written by different authors.

If you have a different concept of "series" and don't find our listings to meet your needs, we're sorry. Perhaps you can find or create another site more to your liking.

When possible, we try to list series books in order by internal chronology; i.e. in the order in which the characters experienced the events of the books. (This gets very tricky with certain time-travel series.) Sometimes an author has announced a preferred order for reading a series; we try to go with that when we can. Failing that, we will list in order of publication. Sometimes we'll list a series a couple of ways. In really difficult cases, we just makes our best guess.

Here are some terms you may see in our series listings:

10. Your listings say a particular title is #12 in a series, but another source (Amazon/Books in Print/PW/the publisher/etc.) says it's really #14. Who should I believe?

If Amazon/Books in Print/PW/the publisher/etc. told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? How about if we told you to jump off a bridge?

In truth, you shouldn't be jumping off bridges (or, mroe to the point, accepting series order without question) on the sayso of any particular source. There are any number of reasons for discrepancies, including how to count short-story volumes, which ancillary titles to include as "series" books, whether the series has changed publishers (sometimes they start over), the order of publication, and (our favorite) human error.

There is no central authority for the order of series books (sometiems not even the author is sure). Every source, from the publisher on, makes its own informed decision.

Just the same, if you catch us in a mistake (and we've made some doozies), please tell us at advisor@readersadvice.com. Dedicated fans often know better than anyone.

11. I read several of the books on your list, and they were lousy.

That's not a question. :)

With few exceptions, we do not evaluate titles for quality, only for genre and subgenre. Besides, literary quality is an elusive characteristic that varies from person to person. One reader's treasure may be, quite literally, another reader's trash.

12. Who and where are you, really?

Readersadvice.com was started in 1999 by a Librarian who prefers to remain anonymous. In 2004, the site was taken over by Janet Kerns, a retired Librarian in Oklahoma. Janet continues to be assisted by the voluntary contributions of the founder, as well as a volunteer team of current and former Librarians in various parts of the United States.

updated: Monday, August 24, 2009