Libraries caught short by demand for teenage trilogy

Some Otago people are facing a wait of up to 18 weeks to get their hands on a library copy of post-apocalyptic teen novel The Hunger Games, prompting some librarians to consider buying more.

There are a total of 62 copies of the book throughout Otago's 30 public libraries but as of yesterday there were 188 people waiting for those copies, which are issued for a three-week period.

The other two books in the trilogy - Catching Fire and Mockingjay - are also proving popular with a total of 74 and 69 people waiting for 38 and 36 books respectively.

Dunedin Public Library collections specialist Glenda Rogers said there was a policy that would normally see a new copy bought when there were five people waiting.

Most librarians the Otago Daily Times spoke to yesterday indicated they had or were considering buying more copies but some said that would only happen to a certain point because they could not afford to have large numbers of books after the demand died down.

Mrs Rogers said for those who could not face the wait list, the Dunedin libraries had several copies that remained in the library and could be read there.

The book, by Suzanne Collins, of the United States, is told from the perspective of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take part in an annual survival event - a fight to the death between 12 girls and 12 boys, set in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem.

Mrs Rogers said demand for the books was similar to that for popular books such as the Harry Potter series and Lee Child's books.

Clutha district children and young adults librarian Vicki Woodrow said it was not just young people reading the books, but adults as well.

She had ordered another three sets of the trilogy, almost doubling the Clutha district's number of the books, but said the library faced a two-week delivery delay.

APNZ reported a similar trend throughout the country. More than 3200 people are in a queue - some will wait up to three months - for 355 copies of The Hunger Games in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland alone.

In response to the growing waiting lists, book retailer Paper Plus has announced a special week-long 30% discount on the titles, providing customers show their public library card.

"Since the movie was released, the popularity of the books has dramatically increased and we have seen tens of thousands of these books walk out the door," Paper Plus group marketing manager Lyle Hastings said.

"We are committed to providing our customers with the highly desirable trilogy and strongly believe that no reader should wait months for their next The Hunger Games fix."

Whitcoulls book manager Joan Mackenzie told APNZ the book had been selling steadily since it came out four years ago but interest in all three books had spiked with the release of the film.

"It's right up there as one of the phenomena of recent years.

"It's thousands and thousands we've sold.

"For most of this calendar year, it's been enormous," she said.



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