Cites & Insights: Accepting Direct Support

Since we’re now about a week (or two) away from the first issue of Cites & Insights Volume 10, and since there have been no hints of sponsorship from any quarter, I’m doing something else–something I did in 2004 for a few months, before YBP began sponsoring C&I.

I’m inviting and accepting donations–with a PayPal Donate button on the C&I home page (and the FAQ page).

When I did this in 2004 (also doing Amazon Tip Jar, which I’m not this time), I had mixed feelings: While C&I was and is (I believe) a substantial service to the library community, we were both working full time at what were probably robust salaries in library terms, if not so much in Silicon Valley terms.

Times have changed. Our “semi-retired” earned income is a lot lower than it was in 2004. (We’re not hurting–being semi-retired is partly by choice–but it’s now true that the loss of sponsorship represents a significant percentage decrease in earned income.)

There are a couple of other differences from 2004:

  • Back then, I suggested an appropriate donation range for a year’s worth of C&I, without requiring any given amount. One donation was so low as to appear to be a deliberate insult, akin to leaving your waiter a quarter as a tip. (There are jackasses in every profession…) This time, I’m suggesting a range for single-issue donations or whole-volume donations ($7 to $8 for an issue you find particularly worthwhile, $25 to $50 for a full volume, either less or more happily accepted)–and since I won’t know why a donation is offered, I won’t be offended by a “low issue” donation, although I’d wonder why you’d bother.
  • Back then, I suggested that the percentage of readers who found it worthwhile to donate might influence the future existence of C&I. That’s uncomfortably close to a threat, and I’m explicitly not saying anything of the sort this time around. If nobody contributes at all, that won’t automatically cause C&I to go away. If you find C&I worthwhile, read it. If you find it worthwhile enough to contribute, and you can afford to do so without putting yourself in a bind, great. If not, no problem.
  • I’d like to think that C&I over the last five years has been better and more broadly useful and relevant to librarians than it was over the first five years. But I would think that, wouldn’t I?

Anyway, there it is. No pressure, no guilt, no threats. If you think Cites & Insights is worth paying a little for, and you’re easily able to do so, fine. If not, also fine. As you’ll see on the C&I home page, there’s also a “not planning to get rich” clause: If donations ever exceed the inflation-adjusted amount I was getting from a sponsor, half of the excess will be donated to appropriate causes.

Oh, and if you plan to contribute $0.25…why not just flame me in the comments instead, and save yourself the quarter?

PS: I’d still love to have a sponsor. If you know of someone who might be appropriate, let them know. If and when there’s a sponsor, the Donate button will disappear.

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