Demand high for new Rowling book
Suburban libraries have long waiting lists
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Ever since best-selling "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling confirmed last month she wrote a crime novel called "The Cuckoo's Calling" under a pseudonym, suburban libraries have been unable to meet patrons' demand for the book.
"The holds jumped after this news came out," said Nicole Wilhelms, adult and teen services manager at the Downers Grove Public Library. "We went from no holds to over 20 holds within the first couple of days."
Interest in the book exploded at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire, too.
The library initially purchased one copy of "Cuckoo's Calling" this spring, long before the world knew author Robert Galbraith actually was Rowling.
More than 50 people now are on the waitlist for the book, adult services librarian Anne Baker Jones said. The library ordered 13 additional copies, but only three have arrived.
"We are having trouble getting more," Jones said.
"The Cuckoo's Calling" was published April 30 by Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Co. It was billed as Galbraith's debut novel.
Rowling wrote seven books about bespectacled boy wizard Harry Potter before ending the series in 2007. She followed with "The Casual Vacancy," a novel for adults that didn't sell as well as the "Potter" books.
"Cuckoo's Calling" seemed destined for poor sales, too, until Rowling was identified as the true author in the Sunday Times of London on July 13.
The book subsequently garnered headlines, landed on best-seller lists and earned additional printings. A sequel already is planned.
In a news release, publisher Reagan Arthur said the firm is "delighted by the response it has received from readers, reviewers and fellow writers."
For future printings, a revised author biography will read, "Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling."
Rowling isn't the first famous author to write under a fake name. Agatha Christie, Anne Rice and Stephen King, among others, tried flying under the radar with pseudonyms.
"I can certainly understand why a phenomenally popular author would wish to write under a different name when trying a new style," said Robert Doyle, the executive director of the Illinois Library Association.
Melissa Stoeger, a readers services librarian at the Deerfield Public Library, is eager to read "The Cuckoo's Calling." But like countless other book lovers, she'll have to be patient.
"By the time I heard the news and attempted to get the book, maybe half a day after it was leaked, there were already a dozen patrons on the waitlist," Stoeger said.
The Rowling revelation led to more interest at the Cook Memorial Public Library District's facilities in Libertyville and Vernon Hills, too.
The library had just one print copy until 20 more arrived this week, Kershner said. At its peak, the waitlist contained more than 90 names.
Fortunately for Rowling fans, the new books were quickly processed and distributed to people on the list.
"They're out there, and people are reading," Kershner said.
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