What is a Backlist?

Did you know that many of the most well-known novels—even your favorites—are considered backlist titles? Everything from the Harry Potter series to Catcher in the Rye and The Handmaid’s Tale are backlist titles in the publishing industry.

A backlist is a publisher’s list of older books that are still in print, but have been on sale for more than a year. The backlist is the opposite of the frontlist, which is a publisher’s list of newly published book titles. Books often become a part of the backlist because there is limited shelf space in stores, which is usually designated for frontlist titles that a publisher is marketing extensively. Because the period in which a book title goes from frontlist to backlist is so short, most of a publisher’s title catalog consists of backlist books.

Photo by Robyn Budlender on Unsplash

All hope is not lost for a book when it becomes a backlist title. In fact, publishers rely on backlist titles to bring in steady revenue because, though the books may be older, they are still generating sales.

Publishers can focus their marketing on selling frontlist books while accumulating revenue from the trusty backlist titles. However, publishers also market backlist titles to generate more excitement and sales. Because backlist titles are available as e-books, their unit sales increase, which translates into more revenue for publishers.

Backlist titles also play an increasingly significant role in the revival of independent bookstores. Unlike major bookstore chains (who carry few backlist titles) and Amazon (which allows third-party sellers to make revenue off backlist titles), some independent bookstores buy in bulk from the publisher and sell a store full of backlist titles. This creates revenue for both parties and creates a direct connection with customers.

Titles such as Milk and Honey and Wonder, which have been best-sellers for at least three years, are still outselling some frontlist titles. This trend shows how valuable backlist titles are to the market. The availability of backlist titles improves the publishing market because the frontlist titles have to compete with them. Between e-books, Amazon, and independent bookstores, backlist titles have found a place in the market and will continue to compete with frontlist titles for best-seller status.

Next time you pick up one of your favorite books, remember it’s not just important to you, but also to the entire publishing industry. And when you want an older book, check out your local independent bookstore or buy from the publisher—you’ll be helping more than just yourself when picking up a backlist title!

The Center for the Book

There are many crucial programs and administrations that are vital to our nation and its literacy growth that we may not even know existed. A prime example of this is the Center for the Book. I had never heard of this administration until I dove into research for Library Lovers’ Month and discovered the significance of the Center for the Book. If you are like me, you probably have no idea what the Center for the Book is or what it does, but no worries! Let’s the face the unknown and uncover what the Center for the Book truly is.

The Center for the Book is an administration that is under the Library of Congress. It promotes reading, literacy, literature, and literacy growth. It was established by public law in 1977 by Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin, the Librarian of Congress, and there are affiliate centers established in all fifty states. The Center for the Book’s goal is to be carried out internationally, so in order to complete this goal, more than eighty programs have been deemed as partners to promote the Center for the Book in the United States and globally.

There are also various ways the Center for the Book promotes reading and literacy. The Center for the Book has created various programs, such as events, contests, lectures, and festivals as motivation for others to read and write and be more involved in literature. The Georgia Literary Festival is held in various cities across the state of Georgia, such as Blue Ridge and Augusta. These festivals celebrate the local authors and hold various activities for guests to participate in.

The contests that the Center for the Book administer usually have cash prizes, which is pure genius on their part. Nothing gathers people quite like money! It’s also genius because cash prizes draw in students, especially college students. When college students hear the word “cash,” they’ll likely listen to whatever is being promoted, and the students are more willing to participate in order to win the cash prize (especially if it’s a contest that is free to partake in) because, let’s face it, almost all college students are broke. That’s why it’s genius to hold contests with prizes because people are more likely to participate in them, which promotes reading and writing at the same time, so it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.

It’s surprising that a lot of people, including myself, don’t know what the Center for the Book is or that it even existed! If it weren’t for the Center for the Book, our libraries wouldn’t be like they are today. I shudder at the thought of what they would be if it weren’t for the Center for the Book and the programs they have established and partnered with to help promote literacy growth throughout the nation and overseas. This month for Library Lovers’ Month, let’s show some love for the administrations that helped shape our beloved libraries!

Happy International Mother Language Day!

“Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only day worth celebrating this February! Today we’re celebrating International Mother Language Day.

International Mother Language Day, or IMLD, is a day in which people celebrate the nearly 7,000 languages that are spoken around the world. Since the proclamation in 1999 by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), every year on February 21st, people have observed and preserved different languages and cultures, while also promoting peace and multilingualism.

Photo by Aszadur Rahman Chowdhury via Flickr

While International Mother Language Day is a day for celebration, its significance bears a sobering reminder of the struggles and sacrifices people in history have made for justice. IMLD is a way to commemorate the tragic events of the Bengali Language Movement in 1952. The Language Movement was an uprising in which many people lost their lives, fighting for the recognition of their mother language, Bengali, as an official language in the then-Dominion of Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). Each year, Bangladeshis remember them with a ceremony at the Martyr Monument at the University of Dhaka.

Other countries also observe International Mother Language Day in recognition of the events in Bangladesh and to convey the importance of preserving all languages. This day reminds us that language is not meant to be divisive; instead, we should acknowledge what makes us unique. We can attain unity and compassion for others by taking the opportunity to explore languages we didn’t know existed and garner new appreciation for them.

Today, it is important not just to commemorate, but also to participate! Every year the United Nations chooses a theme for IMLD. This year’s theme is how linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development. By acknowledging and using the thousands of mother languages, we can help sustain languages and ensure education for millions of people. So, what can you do this IMLD? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Browse social media to see what people are posting in their mother languages.
  2. Learn about a language and culture you know nothing about.
  3. Learn new words from a different language.
  4. Support organizations and campaigns that work to preserve languages.

International Mother Language Day is a day shaped by brave martyrs who came before us, and now it is a celebration of how our differences can unite us. I encourage you all to spend this February 21st dedicating a little time to exploring and appreciating new languages!

For more information about IMLD, visit the United Nations’ website. To keep up with IMLD celebrations, follow #IMLD on Twitter and Instagram.

National Freedom Day

National Freedom Day is official held on February 1st, but we decided to highlight the importance of African Americans and their contribution to the day. President Harry S. Truman signed the legislation into law on June 30, 1948 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery on the 1st of February 1865. This law was subsequently ratified by the required three-fourths of the states. Georgia was the 27th of the then 38 states to ratify clearing the required supermajority mark on December 6, 1865.

That is not the only Georgia connection to this historic event. This commemoration came about largely due to the efforts of Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr., a former slave born in a log cabin near Dalton, Georgia. From these humble beginnings, he rose to become an Army officer, an educator, and a successful banker. Commissioned as a Major by President William McKinley in 1898, Wright was the first African American Army paymaster and was the highest ranking African American officer during the Spanish American War. Wright was also the first president of what is now Savannah State University.

National Freedom Day preceded Black History Month, initiated in 1926 but not officially recognized until the 1976 Bicentennial. Black History Month itself was a result of the efforts of Harvard educated historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who established the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in 1915. He selected February for this tribute as it contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Appropriately, “African Americans in Times of War” is the ASALH African American History Month theme during the 2018 World War I Centennial year.

This is, of course, the theme every February for the U.S. Army as it pays tribute to black Soldiers and their service and sacrifice from the Revolution to the present day. For example, Crispus Attucks, a black stevedore, is believed to be the first American killed during the Boston Massacre in the early days of the impending Revolution, and over 5,000 black Soldiers would fight during this Nation’s first war. This number included the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, which participated in the nighttime assault with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets to capture the key Redoubt 10 at the decisive battle of Yorktown.

Significant African American contributions continued in every subsequent war. Two battalions participated in the critical Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. In the Civil War, roughly 186,000 served in uniform, including the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, immortalized in the movie Glory. Many subsequently joined the famed “Buffalo Soldiers” (9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments) to fight in the Indian Campaigns and then again in the Spanish American War in 1898. Few people realize that at the famous Battle of San Juan Hill, the 10th Cavalry and the 24th Infantry played the leading roles and were first to the top–not Teddy Roosevelt and the “Rough Riders.” One young lieutenant in the 10th would become famous in another war, General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.

World War I saw the 369th Infantry become the first all-black combat formation to arrive in France. Labelled the “Hellfighters” by the Germans, the unit spent 191 days in the line and suffered 33% combat casualties but never had a man captured or lost a foot of ground. World War II had its own famous all-black units including the 78th Tank Battalion (today the 64th Armor Regiment) and, of course, the Tuskegee Airmen. Less well known are the heroic actions of the black field artillery units who fought beside the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, earning a Presidential Unit Citation in the process.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order initiating full integration of the Armed Forces, and, in October of 1951, the last all black combat unit, the 24th Infantry Regiment, was disbanded. Of note, these actions preceded major civil rights legislation by over a decade.

Today, the percentage of African Americans in the U.S. Army (22%) is almost twice their percentage of the service eligible US population (13%) and, their achievements are manifest. Among their ranks are a number of full four-star general officers including GEN Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, as well as several who served as Secretary of the Army. Most tellingly, eighty nine have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. Few groups have better demonstrated by their actions the Army Values, especially Loyalty, Selfless Service, Honor, and Personal Courage, while overcoming extreme adversity. Perhaps the determination of these American Citizens is best captured in the 9th and 10th Cavalry regimental mottos: “We Can, We Will”… “Ready and Forward.”

Happy International Book Giving Day Blog

Books are the gateway to understanding the world around us. Whether that be through a history book or Harry Potter, there is something that can be learned from these stories. In our formative years, it is essential for us to have these stories to learn, fantasize, and grow. However, many children do not have the same access or encouragement to read as others do. This sparked the creation of International Book Giving Day.

International Book Giving Day originated in the United Kingdom and has spread across the world. On this day, people are encouraged to share the power of reading. Participants do this through sharing their favorite books and stories by giving them to someone else.

Interested in giving a book or two? We have a few ways that you can participate locally in International Book Giving Day.


  1. Donating books to a Free Little Library
    1. Ever see a little birdhouse full of books? These are Free Little Libraries! They are places where you can take a book and, in turn, give a book back to keep it stockpiled. There are many of these set up in public spaces that you can find in towns and cities across the globe. Looking for one in Dahlonega? Go to the Conner Memorial Garden across from Shenanigan’s and exchange a book or two!
  2. Book Collection/Recycling Programs
    1. There are also many programs that are both local and international that you can donate to. These programs donate books to people that may not have access to libraries or other places where you can get books. Programs that the organizers suggest are Room to Read, The Book Bus, and First Book.
  3. Donate to someone you know
    1. Want to do something more personal? Then you can just go to your closest friend or family member and give them the opportunity to read something new. This will help to learn something new about the world around them and get them excited about reading.

International Book Giving Day is on February 14th, or Valentines Day! Share your love of books by sharing one of your favorites. Use some of our tips above on how you can share your favorite novels. Got any more ways that you think people could share reading to the next generation? Comment your strategy in the comments or tell us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!