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How do you alphabetize book titles?

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Quick Answer

To alphabetize a series of books, arrange the books in order from A to Z using the first letters of the first word of each title. The words "a," "an," and "the" are typically ignored.

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Full Answer

Separate each book by the first letter in the first word of each title, ignoring "a," "an" and "the." Use a separate stack for each letter of the alphabet. Beginning with the "A" stack, look at the second letter in the title for each letter of the alphabet. If you only have one book with that letter, then that is the next book in the order. If you have multiple books with that letter, then look at the third letter in the title, and so on.

For example, if you have to alphabetize a stack of books titled "America," "Amusement" and "Adventures," since the first letter of each title is "A," look at the next letter in the title. The next letter found is "D," in "Adventures of Life," so that's the next book shelved. Next, "America" and "Amusement" both have "M," so look at the third letter in each title. "E" comes before "U", so the correct order is "America" then "Amusement." Move on to the books whose titles begin with "B," and move through the alphabet.

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