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Topic: those shy books you have to coax out of hiding

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Subject: those shy books you have to coax out of hiding
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 4:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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Is there any rhyme or reason to how just-published or not-quite-yet-published books make their way into the system? Specifically, what's the best way to find them?

I'm asking because yesterday, I had a weird experience with a brand-new book, one whose publication date is April '09. I wanted to post it to my Bookshelf, but I didn't know whether it was in the PBS system yet.

These are the steps I took --> and their results:
(1) searched w/ both ISBNs --> nothing w/ either of those #s
(2) searched Title, Author --> nothing, nothing
(3) I was ready to concede--it wasn't in the system yet--but just to
be thorough, I tried to post it --> no such book, cannot post
(4) now that there was no hope of posting it, I got curious about
how the author's other books were listed--like maybe his name had
a middle initial--so I went to the Detail page for one of his books, clicked
on his name, brought up his Author page --> listed there, on the Author
page, in red letters because it wasn't available, was my April '09 book!
(5) clicked on the title of my book on Author page --> pulled up Detail page
for book, complete with cover image
(6) clicked on "Post This Book" --> book was posted to my Bookshelf
(7) tried again doing a search on ISBN --> this time, the Search found the book
(8) tried again with Author, Title --> Search could find book w/ either one

Is this totally predictable behavior? Or do you find it odd that the book would be in the system and yet I couldn't pull it up with its ISBN? I do find that odd. I'd been under the impression, including from postings I've seen here on the subject, that the ISBN is the gold standard on how to locate a book that's in the system, but acting shy, hiding away.

One thing I regret, is that I didn't repeat the search on ISBN, Author, & Title at the point where the Details page had been unearthed, but I hadn't yet posted the book. Because my sense of it was, that the book "came alive" in the system (i.e., became findable) when I clicked on its title on the Author page--before I posted it.


Last Edited on: 3/20/09 4:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 6:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
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Recently, I tried to find one that didn't come up. Someone told me to put it on my TBR. Lo and behold, there it was! I WL'd it from there. I don't understand it, I'm just glad it works!

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 7:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,600
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Yes, that's pretty typical behavior. I add a lot of not-yet-published books to my wishlist. I don't use the "post this book" though, I use the "add book to TBR" feature (that  was me, Brandi--I'm always glad when something I suggest actually works! LOL) The reason I don't use the 'post this book' is that I'm afraid I would forget to remove the book from my shelf and the next person who wishlisted it would be offered the book--which I'd obviously have to cancel. LOL

Usually adding to TBR works. You have to go to the TBR page, click the "Add the book to TBR" button, copy and paste the ISBN into there. If it accepts the book,, go the the TBR, find book, click on details, add to Wishlist and voila! Then I just delete it from TBR.

Usually when even that doesn't work, it's for a book that the publisher JUST announced, and maybe Amazon just put it up on their preorder list. (I get a lot of author alerts.) Usually within a few days of that it will be available in the system, though.


Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,135
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The behavior you're describing is typical of systems that use multiple databases that have to be synchronized. It's also common in applications that allow for a "full text search".

If the system works the way many database applications work, I would expect a delay between the database having a record added to it, and having that record show up in a regular search. Usually new records will be added to a main OLTP (online transaction processing) database and then replicated to a read-only database, which is where searching and reporting would be done. If the system's very busy, or a lot of data is being imported, then you get a backup in the replication queue, and it takes longer than usual for data that's added to the OLTP database to show up in the read-only database. Then once it gets to the read-only database, the search indexes have to be updated before you can find the data. If the full text index is updated every 15 minutes, then the average time between a record being added and it being searchable by author or title would be 7.5 minutes.

So, the moral of the story is, be patient. If you know the ISBN of your book try entering it without any dashes or spaces in the search box in the upper right corner of the screen. If you get no results, come back in about 15 minutes and try again. If that still doesn't work, you'll have to post the book in order to add the record to the database.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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Well, piffle it didn't work for me.  I mean trying to add a book to my TBR pile so I could list it on my shelf.  I got the message Sorry, this book has a valid ISBN number, but is not in our database.

I know how to add it, I just don't want to go through all that right now.  Being lazy since the sun is shining and I'm getting ready to go out for either a late lunch or early dinner.  The place opens at 4 and it's a benefit meal.

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I've had that response come up, too, Geri.  Very annoying.  I don't know how to add it.