Archive for September 18th, 2013

Self-publishing Reality Check 3

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

It’s been a week since the last post in this series. (Actually, it’s been 8 days: Somehow, the previous post was updated rather than having a new post.)

There has been at least one sale at my Lulu bookstore—but it was Anna Julia Young–Autobiography, one of my wife’s projects. And if you’re interested in Livermore or East Bay local history, you might find it interesting. As for my books: not so much.

Since the existence of $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets vol. 2: Libraries by State depends in part on sales of volume 1 and of Your Library Is…, and since the possibility of doing Mostly Numbers or any future project that could conceivably be sold to a traditional publisher as a self-pub to do it faster and make it cheaper depends on it being plausible to do self-pub books, it seems reasonable to track what’s new out there.

I’m using abbreviations (and hiss boo a table boo hiss) so I can track this over time—and have simplified the table for width reasons:

  • $4v1/p, e, s: $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, volume 1, paperback, ebook and site license versions respectively
  • YLI/p, e: Your Library Is…, paperback and ebook versions respectively
  • iC: The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar… (paperback only)
  • C$1: The Compleat Give Us a Dollar… volume 1, both editions
  • C$2: The Compleat Give Us a Dollar… volume 2, both editions
Dates $4v1/p $4v1/e $4v1/s YLI/p YLI/e iC C$1 C$2/s
To 8/29






(The second date is “through around 2 p.m.” and the first date on the next row starts right after that.)

These are, to be sure, still early days. I’ll keep saying that for a while… although it’s getting harder.

Next update no earlier than 8/26, a month after the three new books were published, and I may try to make it every other week, as it’s starting to get pretty discouraging to admit how things are going on a weekly basis.

Dear Fed: Why do you hate us (and other savers) so much?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

This is a serious post. Probably the most serious I’ll post all year.

My wife and I did what we were told we should do. We saved our money. We lived less considerably below our means so that we could save our money.

Now we’re retired (somewhat earlier than planned, through no fault of our own, but never mind…)

And now the Fed is essentially saying “Screw you. We hate savers. You are required to invest and borrow. Saving is for idiots.”

Which is to say: We can’t get decent rates on CDs or other guaranteed savings–because the Fed plans to keep interest rates at essentially zero for what sounds like pretty much forever.

Would we be happy to get interest rates equal to inflation? Not really–but I don’t even believe we can count on doing that at this point.

We don’t much like risk. We spent less money–a lot less money–so we wouldn’t have to cope with risk.

That apparently offends the Fed.

As far as I can tell, the methodology being used by the Fed basically enriches Wall Street, as it forces more people to invest regardless. It’s doing a pretty good job for bankers, too. Basically, those who were already getting richer are getting even richer.

I don’t believe it’s bringing lots of people back to work. Companies that can borrow at no interest seem to keep enriching their owners, managers and shareholders, and hiring the absolute minimum number of workers they can. (If zero-interest loans were only for small businesses, which create most new jobs, that would be different.)

But for us and, I believe, a few millions or tens of millions of other people, it looks like direct punishment for not being massively in debt and for not being gamblers: Making sure that we can’t earn decent return on savings.

And I think it stinks.

I forgot to add this crucial point:

If we could get decent rates on savings, we’d spend more.

As it is, fear of long-term major issues and knowledge that we’re getting crap on our savings–and that it’s likely to get worse, not better–is keeping our optional spending lower than it should be.

The most complete story, 2010: Compleat Give Us…, an FAQ

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

What is it?

All of the tables from Chapters 1-19 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, plus all of the graphs in Chapters 1-19 of Graphing Public Library Benefits and all of the commentary from the November 2012 Cites & Insights, all integrated into a very complete look at public library benefits and funding, by size of library, in FY2010. It’s all combined into a 361-page 8.5″ x 11″ PDF ebook (no DRM) for a mere $9.99.

Who should find this worthwhile?

Libraries serving library schools, for one.

Some larger public libraries.

State library associations.

Some library consultants.

Librarians who want a fairly detailed understanding of the situation.

How is it available?

The standard PDF ebook costs $9.99 from Lulu.

A site-licensed version (with explicit permission to mount it on a server with multiple simultaneous access/download/reading) is $39.99 from Lulu.

It is not available in print, because many of the graphs are 10-color graphs that would require color printing throughout; as a result, a paperback version would have to be priced at more than $85 (more than $75 even if I didn’t want a modest return). That seems ridiculous. (If you don’t care about the 10-color graphs and do want a print version, you should buy The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar for $26.99 paperback. It leaves out those graphs, but it does include Libraries by State, Chapter 20.)

Will the book get cheaper over time?

No, but it will disappear when there are no sales.

Will it be replaced with a newer version?

No. The “newer version” already exists ($4 to $1…), but it doesn’t replace this because it discusses fewer measures and breaks libraries down into fewer groups in order to attain a reasonable length.