I was talking about my self-publishing experiences with a few people at Midwinter, and particularly the surprisingly poor sales for Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples, which I believe to be an extremely useful resource for any library considering a new blog (or extending existing ones). I think it’s up to 55 copies now, but that’s still pretty pathetic.
One or two people suggested that hip blog-creating types wouldn’t be caught dead buying a dead tree book about blogs–that they’d consider it anachronistic and, well, just wrong. And that this might even be true for Balanced Libraries (which is still short of the 200-copy mark): That potential readers don’t want old-fashioned print books.
I find this a little hard to fathom, to be entirely honest. Public Library Blogs and the new Academic Library Blogs: 231 Examples are done as books because I believe they’re most useful that way–that being able to browse through the book rather than trying to get a sense of 200+ blogs is worth the price, quite apart from whatever added value I’ve provided with metrics and well-chosen sample posts. (The sample posts actually make the books worth reading cover-to-cover, in my not-at-all-humble opinion; that surprised me.)
But, hey, maybe there are hundreds (dozens?) of potential buyers out there who think my material is worthwhile but are fundamentally opposed to print books, particularly on digital matters. Improbable, but possible.
You want ebooks? You got ebooks.
As of now, you can acquire Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change, Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples, and Academic Library Blogs: 231 Examples as downloadable PDFs. Only from Lulu.com.
They’re even cheaper: $20 each, and no shipping/handling charges (as far as I know).
If you think they should be free–well, show me the grant or institutional funding that keeps me working on this stuff, and we can talk about it. The work’s done on my own time and with my own resources. If you feel I should be doing it for the greater glory or whatever, sorry, but that’s just nonsense.
I’m acting in good faith here. As far as I know, Lulu doesn’t add any sort of DRM to the PDF. If some “content should be free, creators should be independently wealthy” jackass buys one copy and posts it for everybody else to copy…well, lawsuits are expensive, so I’d probably just remove the download options and chalk one up to my overly optimistic view of human decency. I don’t believe that will happen–and, more to the point, I don’t believe that any would-be readers would be so sleazy as to take an illegal download over the real thing just to save $20.
I suspect you won’t get the great cover photos–which is a shame. I know that URLs within the PDF won’t be live and may not cut-and-paste properly: Since I was designing print publications, I felt perfectly free to add a space to a long URL so it would split between lines better. Oh, and there probably aren’t any bookmarks (chapters, etc.) in the PDF; again, I was designing for print, and bookmarks (etc.) make for a slower-to-generate and larger PDF.
You should probably go directly to Cites & Insights Books (my storefront) rather than the individual book links above. I know that the links for buying downloads are there on the storefront; I imagine they’ll eventually show up on the book pages, but don’t know when.
Full volumes of Cites & Insights will not be available from Lulu as PDF downloads. After all, other than the extras in each volume, you can already download all the issues for free. And PDFs aren’t available through CreateSpace; this is strictly a Lulu offer.
A clarification: My comments about surprisingly low sales have to do with Public Library Blogs. Academic Library Blogs only became fully available yesterday (that is, January 17, 2008); no comments about sales or lack thereof make any sense for at least three months.
Otherwise..well, my comments in the comment stream may form part of an eventual post or article. They may not. And, you know, I’ve called C&I Books an experiment–and they call them “experiments” because they can fail…