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Old 01-02-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
fidvo
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HarryT's explanation above is absolutely correct, but let me go into a little more detail.

When you click on Author, the books are sorted by author, but for each author, the previous order of the books is preserved. So, for instance, if you have the following books:

Smith, John: Just Some Book 2, the Sequel (published 1923)
Johnson, Bob: This Is My Book (published 1920)
Smith, John: Just Some Book (published 1919)

If you sort by author, the books will end up like this:

Johnson, Bob: This Is My Book (published 1920)
Smith, John: Just Some Book 2, the Sequel (published 1923)
Smith, John: Just Some Book (published 1919)

Note that for John Smith, the books are in the wrong order by publication date, because they were in the wrong order by publication date before you sorted them.

How to fix this is to first sort by publication date:

Smith, John: Just Some Book (published 1919)
Johnson, Bob: This Is My Book (published 1920)
Smith, John: Just Some Book 2, the Sequel (published 1923)

This puts all the books in publication date order, so that when you sort by author:

Johnson, Bob: This Is My Book (published 1920)
Smith, John: Just Some Book (published 1919)
Smith, John: Just Some Book 2, the Sequel (published 1923)

this puts Bob Johnson before John Smith, but otherwise leaves the order of John Smith's alone, i.e. it preserves the publication date because that's how they were sorted before.

This works for three, four, or any number of sort order levels. Sort by the most specific criterion, then by the next most specific, and so on up to the most general. It's counterintuitive, but once you get used to it, it's really no big deal.
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