View Full Version : Minor Rant: Would anyone else like to see publishers

02-23-2005, 12:12 PM
somehow, even discreetly, number the books in a series? I like reading a series in order. Even if the first one I pick up is in the middle somewhere, I like going back to the beginning and starting there. And maybe it's only me, but most of the time I find it's damn near impossible to tell what order they go in. Copyright/publishing dates arethe closest things I've found. And, as has recently happened, I bought basically an entire series that I'd read a couple of (our of order) and was trying to put them in order. Two of them had a 1994 copyright date. I had to read the first chapter of each, see what time of year it was in both and put them in order. I was lucky that this author is good about placing the season pretty early.

Obviously, I know that there's no "real" way to know if an author's book is the "first in a series" until number 2 actually is submitted, printed and distributed. But how hard should it be to keep them in order once there's more than one?

In the front (or back) of the book: "Other books in this series:" and then list them from first to last.

Work the number into the cover art, so I look at the front and/or back cover and look for a 2 or 3 or whatever and I know where I am. "I've read the first two, oh, this has a 4 let me find 3 as well." Something. . . . anything.

Yes, i'ts minor, but I read a LOT (anything in excess can be a vice) and it really does irritate me. SIGH. Thanks for letting me rant.


02-23-2005, 01:59 PM
Publishers often do provide cover information about the position certain books have in a given series.

For example, some very long series, like O'Brien's "Aubry-Maturin" books, have the numbers printed right on the spine of the book. Others might work the info in more subtlely, using titles like "Rogues Fall Out: Book Three of the Stormbringer Saga" or something like that.

If you don't see a specific reference on the cover, look inside the book. Just inside the jacket you should see a page with all the author's previous works. If there are different series, you might see the previous works grouped like this:

Other Works by Richard MacHugely:

The Stormbringer Saga

Rogues on the Road
Rogues in the Rough
Rogues Fall Out
Roges on the Rocks (coming soon from Smackmeyer Publishing)

Fluffy Bunny Unicorn Series

Fluffy Bunny and the Scary Carrot.
Fluffy Bunny Makes Friends
Fluffy Bunny's Big Day

and so on.

02-23-2005, 03:19 PM
Surprising as it may be, those two things had occurred to me.

So, yes, I do realize some authors/publishers number the book spines because they're written as a series, like the ones you mentioned. That's very clear even to the most unobservant of us. I feel like those tend to be books that see themselves (you know what I mean) as "epics." It's a feel they're going for. However, look around the shelves at a bookstore or library; most don't.

As far is the listing inside the cover, that was my point in the first post, althoug I realize it wasn't particularly clear -- why not list them in order? Most of the time, in my considerable experience, they don't. I've been reading for 36 years, I read "The Hobbit" in 2nd grade, I currently run through at least one book a day if I'm not busy, and I basically read anything with print on it; I've been caught reading the Yellow Pages just because I didn't have a book handy. Hell, I get laughed at because I keep at least one "emergency book" in my trunk; G_d forbid I get caught without a book because I am well and truly addicted and have been since I was 4. It isn't like I happened to read 2 series in the last 30 years and they weren't listed in order on the cover and I decided to rant about it.

For instance I'm currently reading a sort of fluffy murder series.
The inside front cover says (and spaced just like this):

Jane Jeffry Mysteries by

The Class Menagerie
A Farewell to Yarns
From Here to Paternity
Grime and Punishment
A Knife to Remember
A Quiche Before Dying
Silence of the Hams
War and Peas
Fear of Frying

The Merchant of Menance

The next page has blurb's ("Wonderful" says the Wenches Almanac)
The next page says:

Jane Jeffry Mysteries by
Jill Churchill
from Avon Books

The House of Seven Mabels
A Farewell to Yarns
Grime and Punishment
A Quiche Before Dying
From Here to Paternity
Silence of the Hams
War and Peas
Fear of Frying
The Merchant of Menance
The Class Menagerie
A Knife to Remember
A Groom with a View
Mulch Ado about Nothing

Grace and Favor Mysteries

Anything Goes
In the Still of hte Night
Someone to Watch Over Me

And in Hardcover

Love for Sale

Still with me? Okay, the first list (and this is in the same book, mind you) does not have all the books listed in the second list. And neither of them are in the correct order. I happen to know that Grime and Punishment is the first in the series. Class Menagerie and A Knife to Remember are around numbers 3 and 4 maybe? Something like that; maybe 4 and 5.

Our own darling Katie MacAlister's book "Sex, Lies, and Vampires" list some of her other titles like this:

The Trouble with Harry
Sex and the Single Vampire
A Gilr's Guide to Vampires
Heat Wave (anthology)
Noble Destiny
Improper English
Noble Intentions

Again, no real information about what goes with what or in what order. And it does seem to be the exception not the rule when they are in order. And my whole point was, how hard could it possibly be to ALWAYS list them in series order, first to last? If some sold better than others in the series, mark'em with an asterisk and footnote it (I've seen that done, too.)

Sorry, it's one of those minor petty things that just really irritates me - but like I said I'm addicted and you know how people get over their obsessions.


02-23-2005, 03:26 PM
I don't know about any of that. But I would highly recommend the Fluffy Bunny Unicorn series.

Lady Laurel
02-23-2005, 03:28 PM
I have noticed the same thing in series books I have read. They don't seem to list them in order and if they do trying to find the other books can sometimes be a trip all its own. I know exactly what you are talking about. I am just interested in what criteria makes what book comes first on the list.

Buxom Wench
02-23-2005, 03:34 PM
I also like to read a series in the order it was written.

If you can, go to the authors website and look for the series in which you are interested.
They usually have ALL the books they've written.

The lists in the front of some books may be complete ONLY for the publisher that put out the book in your hand. If the author changed publishers midway thru a series, the only place to find the right order is the author's website.

I know, I own over 2000 books and have had to find a way to "catalog" them all so as not to buy duplicates. (I have a great computer program that helps too)

If you need further help, and I can provide it, let me know.

02-23-2005, 04:13 PM
I just get worked up until I curl up in to a ball and rock back and forth, with my eyes darting around nervously.
Generally at that point someone will come over and manage to work out of me what hte problem is...then they point me in the right direction, say a friend who has read the series and knows what starts first.

But sometimes I am stuck for days in a little ball. It's hell on your social life.

02-23-2005, 05:45 PM
Oh, good, then it isn't just me???

I don't know about any of that. But I would highly recommend the Fluffy Bunny Unicorn series.

I'll add them to my list, right after "Hank the Cowdog and The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse" by John R. Erickson. (You gotta love that name.)


Jeannie Fitzgerald
02-23-2005, 06:13 PM
I've had the same problem. Some publishers make it easy for you. Others seem to take delight in driving me nuckin' futz. Even worse is when an author switches publishers. Then there are the authors who write and/or release books out of sequence, like Anne McCaffery's Pern series (I gave up on that one; she ran it into the ground). The absolute worst are the anthologies with multiple authors, such as Dragon Lance or Forgotten Realms. They can jump around in time and there seems to be no logical listing for them.

I'm not a fan of Louis Lamour but he wrote an incredible historical novel called, "The Walking Drum" and promised a sequel, even giving a rough preview. The bastard wrote at least another dozen books after that but went and died beore writing the sequel. How rude!