I’m a huge fan of Edelweiss. I’ve talked it up at a couple of library conferences, telling attendees that it’s a one-stop shop for learning all about the books coming out that they should have on their radars. I used it regularly not only for features here at Stacked, but it’s where I acquire some of my digital review copies of forthcoming titles.
Something I regularly hear, though, is that Edelweiss is not easy to use and for those who haven’t been playing with it for a while, it can be extremely difficult to navigate. It’s not intuitive. So I thought because it’s a tool I find so useful and valuable not only in blogging but in librarianship, I’d offer up a quick and dirty how-to to Edelweiss. This is geared toward US librarians, educators, and bloggers who aren’t otherwise familiar with the site and its interface, and I know for sure I’ll miss some key or valuable features. Things might vary depending on what country you’re in, which is why I note it’s geared toward those in the US (I think most things should be the same if you’re in Canada, but I can’t tell you for certain). This is meant to be a beginner’s guide, and it’s meant to help make some of those really frustrating elements of the site easier to work through.
What IS Edelweiss?
First, if you haven’t used it or have only heard of it in passing, you might not even know what Edelweiss is or where to find it.
Edelweiss is a one-stop shop for publishers to share their seasonal catalogs. It’s not comprehensive, as it’s opt-in by the publishers. But it offers the biggest place to peruse numerous catalogs; it saves you from having to track down each publisher’s website then navigate their websites to find their most recent catalog. Many publishers not only have the current season up, but they have loads of former seasons still available and many of them will share specialty catalogs as well. Scholastic, for example, will offer not only the Fall 2014 catalog, but they’ll also have a catalog of titles they spoke specifically about during one of their educator/librarian webinars, making it easy to see only the books that were talked about.
There are some publishers which offer really great comp titles in their entries that can be extremely useful for figuring out what a book might be about or who that book might appeal to.
Fill this out as best you can, with as much information as possible. Include all relevant URLs and be as specific as possible about what your role within an organization is. If you’re a blogger and a librarian, I’d put librarian down as your key role, followed by your blogging information under the “User Profile Information.”
You’ll get a confirmation email minutes after you agree to the terms, and then you can log in to the site. Now your screen looks different and you can see so much more.
Digital Review Copies
The biggest advantage for logging in at this point is probably digital ARC access. But just because you have access doesn’t mean that publishers are going to grant you copies. There are limits in distribution and choices aren’t always clear-cut. Sometimes, you’ll find you have access without having to ask for a book, and other times, you’ll see that there isn’t even a button to request a digital ARC. Still other times, you’ll request a title and wait for a couple of weeks before you find out whether your request was accepted or rejected.
When you’re perusing a catalog and logged in, oftentimes, you’ll see a button that there’s a digital copy available right in the catalog itself.
The final basic thing worth knowing about Edelweiss is their advanced search feature. It’s imperfect and misses a lot of things I know I catch when I read the individual entries, but it is a great starting point when you have a question or want to try to remember something you thought you saw.