Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Moonlit guide to some vendors - freebies in the 200s

As a small town library director, I have to look at ways to save money on materials.  Really, it's something every librarian with a budget must do.  Regardless of how big a library you work in, no matter how good the millage is (if you have one), there will always be a lack of money to buy everything you need or want.

Where can you get the best bang for your buck?  Who is giving out freebies that you can't resist - and which free books should you just quietly stick in your book sale or free bin?

Let's start off with the freebies first.

Bridge Publications, Inc.
Types of materials offered: All of L. Ron Hubbard's nonfiction materials, in print, audio, and visual formats

L. Ron Hubbard was a prolific, influential science fiction writer, who also founded the most recent major religion, Scientology.  Regardless of what one might think of that religion, any well-rounded public library should have at least Hubbard's basic works on Dianetics.

If the library somehow does not have this or his other works, you're in luck.  Without any prompting, Bridge Publications will just send random materials to libraries.

On the other hand, the library is also likely to receive some of Hubbard's lesser known works.  Last month, my public library received two copies of Clear Body, Clear Mind.  The accompanying letter even included a suggested Dewey Decimal Classification, how nice.  I brought a copy home to peruse it before deciding what to do with it.  My partner read through it in a matter of hours, mostly chuckling at it.  But in the end, this book is no laughing matter.

The levels of niacin Hubbard recommends you take would kill you in a horrible way.  That's ironic, seeing as this book is about removing toxins from the body.

This is one gift horse I will look in the mouth.  The books are set aside for the book sale.

Quest Books
Types of materials offered: World religions, philosophy, science, and more

Quest Books is an imprint of the Theosophical Publishing House, part of the Theosophical Society of America.  This might also raise some eyebrows, but Quest Books looks to promote the study of world religions, philosophy, science, the arts, and more.

A few weeks ago, I received a four-page catalog from the publisher, offering up to 30 books free, of my choice, with the only cost being postage to mail the catalog back.  I checked the interlibrary catalog system to see if other libraries owned some of these works (several do), then went online to see if there were any negative reviews of the company and this service (nothing found in a cursory search), and how well the books did in reviews.  Then I selected 15 books - I didn't want to be greedy - then copied the flier and mailed the original back to the company.

Taking that bit of time was totally worth it.  A few days ago, I received a large, heavy box from Quest Books.  It was filled with all fifteen books, no surprise invoice, and even dust jacket covers for the hardcovers.  Thrilling!

I feel like I filled some gaps in the collection with quality materials, which cost the library no more than a postage stamp.  Take a look below.  We didn't have any biographies of the Beatles, gasp!  (I'm no fan, but I recognize their importance.)  This doubled our materials on post-traumatic stress disorder.  And new materials on New Age are always welcome.


If you receive an offer from Quest Books, take it.

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