November 03, 2010
I’ve been working for Mid-Continent for over a decade, and over the years, I’ve seen the information guides change. First, it was the For Dummies series, followed closely by The Complete Idiot’s Guide. While both were popular, they were shortly trumped by the Everything Guide, a series that seemed to catch on in every section of non-fiction – except for the computer information. Dummies and Idiots have a firm hold on that area, but the Demystified series seems to be making their play to gain control there.
Now, two more series are making their play to control the general information books in nonfiction – and also, seem to be dividing the areas nicely. I’m talking about the Rough Guides and KNACK.
Rough Guides are found primarily in the travel section (a place that only Everything previously dared venture) and are a good complement to other travel guides provided by Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, and Frommer’s. Another good thing about Rough is that the books get straight to the point of the information they are providing. Rough Guides also show up in the seven hundreds. I’ve found them mainly in the film section covering topics such as Westerns, Chick Flicks, and American Independent Films.
KNACK has only shown up recently, and while it’s not spread too much of the non-fiction, it’s keeping primarily in the cooking section. I don’t count on it staying that way for much longer, as KNACK guides have shown up on subjects like rock climbing, American Sign Language, and Parenting a Preschooler.
I wouldn’t count on the Dummies series going away anytime soon – but since KNACK is making it’s play for cookbooks, Rough for Entertainment, and Demystified is out to claim Mathematics and Sciences (and doing an excellent job, last time I checked). It might not be to long before the Everything Guide becomes a rarity – rather like the often overlooked K.I.S.S. Guides – but this is the world of books. The world of books is always changing.
Red Bridge Branch