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It seems like the bookshelf display are ordered by date time descending. I guess you can have artificial Sort Name and Sort Artist (in iTunes) to be tie breaker, but you would still need the books in your sort group to be of the correct date time stamp. so if I have a bunch of books by 3 different authors, I would use touch or something to change the date time stamp so books by author 1 would have one set of time, books by author 2 would have another set of time, and so would books by author 3. But now if I want to force the publish sequence of books within the same author, the artificial Sort Name with the same Sort Artist would help. In this case, for author 1, I would have Sort Name A001, A002, A003 .... etc, regardless of the actual book title, but the order in which I want it to appear.
The problem arises if you keep adding new books, you would have to force the date time stamp of the newly added books in a way that would fit your ordering scheme. Manual arrangement by edit function works though could be time consuming (since I want publish order by favorite authors), but every OS update reshuffled it.