Move over brand new books, backlist books are the best!

On a news interview recently, a small business bookstore owner said that she was having trouble receiving orders of newly published books. She had plenty of backlist books for sale. Those are the ones that were published 2-10+ years ago. Not “hot off the presses” new but still worth reading.

I know someone who ordered a new sofa this past summer. Another friend purchased a refrigerator eight months ago. The delivery dates for these items are still unknown. The grocery store I frequent has random shelves that are noticeably empty. Last week it was canned goods. This week it’s butter.

The gifts I’m giving this year are products made from recycled materials like items from Paper Culture & Rareform or vintage Etsy. Or they are straight-up homemade by me. Jars of homemade hot fudge sauce, anyone? I’ve got an amazing recipe and will share it if you leave me a comment in the space below.

Gift-giving along with our nation’s current supply chain issues got me thinking about my own supply of backlist books. My office and in my children’s rooms (kids are in college now) are where I shelve many of these “born of yesteryear” books. Favorites from years past offer current themes of coming of age, friendship, and belonging. Who cares that the publishing dates of these books were before your middle grade readers were born!

It’s time to shine (or re-shine) a light on some of these “middle age” middle grade books. They all are about 10 years old, give or take a few. Of course, I’m going to put a plug for my own backlist book. It’s already 3 years old now. Time flies!

Need a holiday gift idea but don’t want to spend the money? Choose a book off your own bookshelf, wrap it up (with eco-friendly wrapping paper and ribbon, of course) and give it as a gift. Tell your recipient why you loved it. If they haven’t read the novel, it’s new to them!

Or shop local and specifically request a backlist book. The author, the store owner, and your gift recipient will be grateful you did.

Happy Holidays!

By Carolyn Armstrong

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt

By Sarah Aronson

DEWEY THE LIBRARY CAT *true story (2010)
By Vicki Myron and Brett Witter

By Ralph Fletcher

Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004)
By Gennifer Choldenko

A DOG’S LIFE (2005)
By Ann M. Martin