'Tis the season for obsessive, time-consuming behavior in pursuit of material goods. Folks line up for days to exploit Black Friday and then log in for Cyber Monday.
It would seem, however, that an alarming amount of tenacity is required even when obtaining goods for free -- that you cannot keep. The other day, your humble narrator logged into the San Francisco Public Library webpage to put a hold on Bill Bryson's newest release, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.
You can imagine my joy when the transaction was completed and I was informed that I had hold No. 189 on the system's one copy of the book.
Doing the math, if every reader held onto the book for three weeks and
the next one picked it up promptly when his or her turn came up -- and no one ran off to
the Bahamas and purloined the tome -- I'd be getting the book in just
shy of 11 years.
Thankfully, the library has obtained many more copies of Bryson's book since that time. I now have hold No. 189 -- of 203 -- on the first returned of 42 copies.
Doing the math on when my chance will come is difficult -- even more copies of the book appear ready to enter the system (good!) and it's no sure thing when folks with holds will head down to the library and pick up their awaiting books (not good!). Even less sure is if everyone will play by the rules and return the book when it's due. In any event, my hold runs out in late May.
Incidentally, while 42 copies -- and growing -- of At Home
is a lot, it's nowhere near how many volumes of other high-demand books the library has stocked. For instance, the system has 233 copies
of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
; 10 large print copies, and 10 more on CD. There's also Harry in Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Accio Book
, indeed. SF Weekly has queried the library what book it has the most copies of. We'll keep you posted.
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