Archive for the 'Books and publishing' Category

Thanks, a reminder and a clarification

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on March 26th, 2014

Thanks

Somebody purchased a campus-license/site-license copy of The Big Deal and the Damage Done yesterday or this morning.

That’s the fifth such sale. I count each such sale as the equivalent of four copy sales. The book might yet reach 100 copy-equivalents before it goes out of print.

In any case, it’s appreciated and I trust the campus/consortium/whatever will find it useful.

Reminder

As noted in this post, The Big Deal and the Damage Done will go out of print on or about May 14, 2014.

Clarification

Since some of you dealing with ebooks may read “out of print” as “will disappear,” I should clarify–as I did in the earlier post:

Cites & Insights Books do not have DRM. Ever.

Once you’ve downloaded a Cites & Insights Book, it’s yours. To keep, sell, give away, lend, backup as often as you want, transfer to multiple PDF-reading devices, whatever.

Of course, you won’t be able to download a new copy from Lulu after it goes off sale, but the copy or copies you’ve purchased–including ones with explicit permission for multiple simultaneous downloads/reading–will not be affected in any way.

[Worth noting again that, in fact, Lulu no longer supports or allows DRM on the PDFs that it sells. But it was always an option and I never chose the option.]

Making Book S16: The Big Deal and the Damage Done

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 20th, 2014

First, I got irritated by both pundits and academic librarians asserting that circulation was dropping—and continuing to drop—in all academic libraries. Not some, not most, not ARL, but all. After getting enough counterexamples to demonstrate the falsity of that generalization (which in no way kept people from continuing to make it), I decided to look into it in more detail, since I’d figured out how to use Access databases (one of the forms in which NCES makes the biennial academic library surveys available) in Excel.

The result was a two-part article in the March 2013 Cites & Insights: “Academic Library Circulation: Surprise!” (comparing 2008 and 2010) and “Academic Library Circulation, Part 2: 2006-2010.” (The link is to the online-oriented one-column version, because the graphs and tables are easier to read in that version. I’d like to say those articles changed the discussion, or at least that people who were aware of the articles stopped claiming that circulation was falling everywhere. That’s not the case, more’s the pity. (Some people are unwilling to let the facts get in the way of a good story.)

Around the same time, I was seeing claims that the Big Deals in serials subscriptions had solved the serials crisis. I was also seeing lots of reports, formal and informal, about the extent to which monographic and other budgets were being destroyed because of continuing rises in serials costs. I should also mention this (from the acknowledgments):

Thanks to the Oregon and Washington Library Associations; without their invitation for me to do a preconference on open access for their joint 2013 conference, I might never have been inspired to do this study. Thanks also to Wayne Bivens-Tatum, whose January 18, 2013 Academic Librarian post “Politics, Economics, and Screwing the Humanities” also encouraged me to do some quantitative analysis.

The rest of the story, from the book’s introduction:

I believe that Big Deals did some good—but they also did some damage, damage that gets worse as the amount spent on serials (in Big Deals and otherwise) continues to ratchet up faster than inflation.

Damage is done to scholars and students in the humanities and social sciences, where books continue to be key, as money continues to be shifted to serials (most of it for STEM—science, technology, engineering and medicine) at least in many libraries.

Damage is done to libraries as serials take an ever-bigger chunk of the total budget, leaving less for not only books but also staff, preservation, computers, archives, programming and new initiatives.

I began looking at actual numbers while preparing a preconference on open access. One of the sillier arguments against open access (and especially against gold OA) is that there’s really no serials problem—that Big Deals solved it.

That’s only true if “solved” takes on a fairly unusual meaning. In 1996, before Big Deals had become common, taking U.S. academic libraries as a whole, serials took 17% of all spending. Books (including back runs of serials and other materials) took 10.4%.

In 2002, at which point Big Deals were well established, serials were up to 22.5% of all library spending—but books were up a little too, taking 11.9% of library spending.

In 2010, serials were up to 26.1% of all library spending—nearly as much as books and serials combined in 1996. Books? Down to 10.6%–frequently of reduced budgets.

Meanwhile, the remainder budget—that is, everything except current serials and other acquisitions—fell from 72.6% to 63.3% of library budgets overall. That’s a serious drop.

How much of serials spending is for electronic access? At a minimum, it’s grown from 15% in 1998 (the first time it’s broken out) to 70% in 2010, doubling its market share since 2004 (when it was 35%).

Curiously enough, those simple numbers understate the real damages—because the damage is in the details, and a number of very large academic libraries managed to do a reasonable job of maintaining decent budgets across the board, somewhat masking what was happening elsewhere.

The book goes into some detail. It’s sold reasonably well (more than 50 copies, fewer than 100). It’s still available, as a $16.50 paperback, a $9.99 PDF ebook (no DRM), or a special $40.00 PDF ebook with an explicit campus/site/consortium license for multiple simultaneous download or use.

The book will continue to be available until shortly before a newer & better version (not self-published) appears; at or after that point, there may also be a complementary self-published book exploring some other quantitative aspects of academic libraries in the current millennium.

Crawford, Walt. The Big Deal and the Damage Done. 2013

And that’s it…

For now. Other than the complementary book mentioned above, I have no plans for future self-published books. Doesn’t mean they won’t happen, just that I have no current plans.

Making Book S15: The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar…

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 17th, 2014

I’ll keep it short this time—and I’m leaving out The Compleat Give Us a Dollar…, v. 1 and v.2,, um, compleatly. Those two—which combine all the commentary, graphs and tables that were in Give Us a Dollar… and its complements and extensions, are certainly available, but only as ebooks (vol. 1: libraries by size; vol. 2: libraries by state) or site-license ebook (vol. 1 only). They’re not available as print books because they have lots of multicolor graphs and would be very expensive as print books. Well, not as expensive as the traditional books I’m seeing that analyze library expenditures—not by a long shot—but that’s a different story. So far, nobody’s purchased either book at all, so they don’t really exist as books yet.

The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four: Public Library Funding and Benefits in 2010 removes the multicolor graphs from the other two books and combines them into a single volume—increasing page size to 8.5″ x 11″ and making the graphs and tables correspondingly bigger (also using a larger set of fonts for the text and tables).

It’s a handsome big book—425 pages, 8.5″ x 11″. It’s not available as an ebook (buy the two Compleat… volumes instead). The cover is, you guessed it, big top and bottom wraparound strips consisting of a mosaic of larger images from library websites. Actually, the two strips are the original strips from which $4 to $1‘s two strips were trimmed and reduced in size. It is, if I may say so, snazzy. The type is big and easy to read. The charts and graphs are big and easy to read.

And so far, I’m the only one who has read them. Sort of a shame, that. It will continue to be available for some time to come at a mere $26.99.

Crawford, Walt. The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four: Public Library Funding and Benefits in 2010. 2013.

You know, I was just about to sign off with “And that’s it for now…”—but it’s not. I missed one, possibly because I’m working (or will be soon) on an update, and that one may be—depending on how you measure it—the second most successful Cites & Insights Book I’ve done. We’ll get to that.

Making Book S14: Your Library Is…

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 15th, 2014

I was looking at public library websites for a research project and encountered a variety of interesting and frequently inspiring mottoes and slogans.

At some point, it struck me that these were varied and worthwhile—clearly to the libraries that put them on their websites and quite possibly to librarians and libraries elsewhere.

It’s one thing to provide inspirational messages from one person’s viewpoint. But these are what libraries choose to say about themselves.

Methodology

I used the IMLS public library dataset for 2011 (not the outlet dataset but the set of main libraries and library systems), retrieved in order to prepare $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets. It included URLs for several hundred libraries (although the URLs didn’t always work). I copied key columns of that dataset to a spreadsheet with another column for the sayings I found.

Going through the libraries with URLs, I found that about one out of every five libraries had a motto or slogan that wasn’t an epigraph (a quotation from somebody else),”Welcome,” a saying referring to the website itself or the like. The variety and content were rich enough to persuade me to go through the rest—more than 9,000 libraries, checked for fun during breaks in more serious projects over a couple of months in the summer of 2013.

To search for the rest of the libraries, I prepared a composite key composed of the library name and the state abbreviation. For most of the process, I used Bing, since it seemed to provide cleaner results with less overhead than Google. It didn’t take long to recognize the patterns of pseudowebsites—the many auto-generated webpages that have nothing to do with the actual libraries.

I didn’t actually keep track of how many libraries I was unable to find websites for. In a few hundred cases, I located the website indirectly from a library’s Facebook page—and in a few cases, I took a motto or slogan from that page. My best guess is that I missed somewhere between 500 and 1,000 libraries, mostly small, either because they simply don’t have websites or because I couldn’t reach them.

When I found a motto or slogan, I either copied it directly (if that was feasible) or retyped it into the Excel cell. For slogans appearing entirely in capital letters, I used sentence case instead; in all other cases, I attempted to retain the capitalization used in the original. Quotation marks and ellipses were retained. A variety of ornaments used between words were normalized to middle dots (•).

Exclusions

Along the way, I added some categories of things that seemed not to make sense to include in this collection. Among those (noting that I’m not entirely consistent about these!):

  • Epigraphs (quotations from other people), as already noted.
  • “Welcome” or “Welcome to your library” without anything else.
  • “Your library resources anytime, anywhere” and other similar sayings that appear to be part of the default Plinkit template or that refer to the website rather than to the library itself.
  • “Serving xxx” where”xxx” is the name of the community, communities, county or counties served.
  • “Check us out” or”check it out” or similar sayings, although some variations are included.
  • Statements of the library’s age without anything else.
  • Statements of a library’s award-winning or number-of-stars status.
  • Library mission statements and vision statements (although a few of these probably crept in).

I did pick up mottoes contained within a library’s logo, if it was possible to read the text as the logo appeared on the website.

I do not claim perfection or consistency. A few of the sayings in the book should probably have been excluded. A few sayings that weren’t picked up probably should have been. This collection should be fun and maybe inspiring; it’s not a research project as such.

So far, with a single word change, this is all from the introduction. Originally, I planned to produce this book as a perk for donors to the $4 to $1 project—but that crowdfunding project failed. Meanwhile, I really liked the book, so I put it out as a paperback and ebook.

The book

The book includes 1,137 mottoes and slogans that appear to be unique, and 88 mottoes and slogans shared by more than one library (a total of 205 libraries).

Except for the introduction, it’s all either sayings or credit, arranged alphabetically by state and by city within state. I include the library’s name as given in the IMLS data (except for capitalization) and the 2011 legal service area.

The cover has one big color strip running around the bottom 40% or so—it’s actually two mosaic strips (or is it three?) butted up against one another. All the images are from libraries with sayings in the book.

I think the 157-page paperback is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve assembled and believe many librarians would find it inspiring. So far, people or libraries have purchased eight paperback copies and one PDF ebook. It will continue to be available for quite some time—and it’s a great little book.

Crawford, Walt [int. & comp.]. Your Library Is… A Collection of Library Sayings. 2013.

Making Book S13: $4 to $1…

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 13th, 2014

Full title: $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets: Volume 1: Libraries by Size

This followup to Give Us a Dollar… did three things:

  • It used newer data (2011 rather than 2010
  • It included changes (from 2009 to 2011)
  • It combined graphs, commentary and tables in what I believe is a good, interesting, worthwhile mix, instead of being pretty much all tables.

But that also meant that, in order to work at all, it had to simplify somewhat—breaking libraries down into 10 size groups rather than 18, breaking most other measures into five or six rather than 8 to 10 brackets, using fewer metrics.

Even with all those simplifications, the more complete and integrated approach meant splitting the results into two parts—with Libraries by State a separate (and probably larger) book than the 205-page Volume 1.

The cover uses library website image mosaic strips similar to the special Oregon/Washington Give Us a Dollar, except that the back cover fills in the space between the bottom and top strip with even more images. I think it’s a great cover. Too bad almost nobody’s seen it.

To give this more readable, more approachable, more sophisticated book the widest possible audience, I took an ISBN (which means the publisher is technically Lulu) and, since it’s now free, opened the paperback up to global channels. You should be able to order it through Ingram, for example.

I planned to do Volume 2 a little later, based on early sales of Volume 1, since I figured Volume 2 would have a smaller audience.

But here’s what’s happened—at least so far:

  • Two paperback copies and one PDF ebook have been purchased from Lulu (not including my own paperback copy).
  • One paperback copy has been purchased from Amazon.
  • The most recent Lulu purchase was August 29, 2013. The only Amazon purchase was October 31, 2013.
  • There have been no purchases for more than two months.

It’s fair to say that Volume 2 is unlikely to appear any time soon. I was hoping to reach hundreds of libraries this time around, and I really do believe it’s a useful book. Four? That goes beyond disappointing. But, of course, it could take off again any day now.

The Lulu and distribution price of the paperback book were both $25, but I offered a 20% discount for the Lulu paperback. In early October, I said I’d drop the discount unless at least one copy was sold in October. It was—but now that I look at it, it wasn’t a Lulu copy. I have now dropped the discount.

[Total number of site licenses sold: Zero.]

Crawford, Walt. $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets: Volume 1: Libraries by Size. 2013.

Making Book S12: Graphing Public Library Benefits

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 10th, 2014

As noted earlier, I eventually grew unhappy with Give Us a Dollar… because it was so table-heavy. I remedied this to some extent with supplements in Cites & Insights, but those were mostly text.

So I produced Graphing Public Library Benefits: An Experimental Supplement to Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13): Public Library Funding and Benefits.

Whew. Quite a title. Here’s what I said in the introduction:

This book is an attempt to do two things: Provide graphs to supplement some of the tables in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) and illustrate some of the choices and issues involved in making visual sense of datasets, specifically the datasets used for that book. It’s an 8.5×11″ PDF (or, if at least two people tell me they’ll buy it, a very expensive print book) because I wanted to make the graphs as wide as possible—and because, in most cases, I felt that multicolor graphs would be readable where graphs using that many different line types simply wouldn’t. (If there’s a print version, the added cost will be entirely production: I’ll make the same amount per copy, give or take a dime or so. But production costs for books with color are much higher than for black-and-white books.)

If you don’t have the other book, you should get it. It’s almost entirely tables and provides a richly detailed picture of nearly all of America’s public libraries and how they measure up on the quantifiable metrics reported to the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences for fiscal year 2010. You may also want to get Cites & Insights for November 2012 and Fall 2012; those issues provide textual commentary (and in the latter case, an additional set of tables) lacking in the book.

In the first chapter, I considered ways you could graph the information in the book—including several alternatives in a couple of cases.

The rest of the book was almost entirely graphs; in all, 222 pages (8.5″ x 11″ PDF), most pages with two graphs, some with three. If I’m counting correctly, 597 graphs in all. (If I’d done Chapter 20 in the book, state-by-state, there would have been hundreds more and the book would have been at least 100 pages longer.)

I almost left this one out as “the book nobody saw,” but that’s not quite right: In fact, after I reduced the PDF ebook price to $4, there were two sales. And since the book is explicitly labeled CC BY-NC, it’s possible that lots of other people have copies. Not likely, but possible.

(How expensive would the book have been in print form? The production cost would have been something like $48.90, so I would have charged around $59.)

The multicolor graphs had ten different colored lines; there’s no way to provide enough different line patterns to make ten lines readable in black and white.

Still…it’s an interesting project with a lot of neat graphs, and if anybody contributing to Cites & Insights at the sponsor level would rather have this than something else, I might be willing. It’s a fairly big PDF (8.5MB), but then it’s a big, slow-loading Word document (basically the same size).

Crawford, Walt. Graphing Public Library Benefits: An Experimental Supplement to Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13): Public Library Funding and Benefits. 2013.

Making Book S11: Give Us a Dollar…Oregon/Washington Edition

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 8th, 2014

To my great pleasure, I was invited to give three speeches during the 2013 Oregon & Washington Library Association(s) Annual Conference (the two states hold combined conferences in some years, separate ones in some years—I’ve spoken at two other WaLA conferences but never at OrLA). The three speeches—actually one workshop and two speeches—were related to Open Access: What You Need to Know Now (the workshop), The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing and Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four. As part of the agreement, I prepared a special edition of Give Us a Dollar… focusing on Oregon and Washington libraries and, unlike the original book, combining commentary, graphs and tables.

The special edition appeared as a free PDF (after all, the associations were paying an honorarium and expenses) and a hardcover 70-page color book: Color because some of the graphs needed color for easy reading (although you could make sense of them in b&w), hardcover because the production cost was already going to be so high. I assumed that a handful of libraries might find the hardcover worth having, but that most libraries and librarians would pick up the PDF—which, after all, could be printed out fairly cheaply on a color printer, and if you did it reduced about 7% to 5.5″ x 8.5″, it would fit four pages to a sheet.

I think it’s a neat little book. Doing something similar for later data for any other state or group of states would be feasible; so far, that hasn’t happened.

For the cover design (PDF and hardcover), I tried something that I think worked very well; I’ve since used the same technique for three other books (coming later). To wit, I made a mosaic wraparound strip for the top of the cover and another one for the bottom of the cover (wraparound only for the hardcover, since the PDF only has one cover page), each strip made up of images taken from library websites (or in some cases Facebook pages), deliberately using images from a range of library sizes.

As usual, I enjoyed the conference a lot. Vancouver (the Washington State one, across the river from Portland) was nice; I was able to do some fairly long walks, including one to Fort Vancouver; the people were interesting; the talks went reasonably well.

There were seventeen downloads of the free PDF ebook. I apparently own the only copy of the hardcover book. Such is life.

Crawford, Walt. Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four: Oregon and Washington Library Benefits and Spending. 2013.

Making Book S10. Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 6th, 2014

As is frequently the case, the preface tells the story of how this book came to be—but this time it’s an extended discussion. Portions:

In the fall of 2011, I studied the presence of public libraries on Facebook and Twitter as background for an ALA Editions book (Successful Social Networking in Public Libraries…). As research progressed, I wound up looking at (or for) the websites of every public library in 38 states (5,958 in all) and gained a new appreciation for the diversity and community connections of America’s public libraries.

During that study, I became skeptical of the many stories I’d read that assume public libraries are shutting down all over America. When my attempts to get actual numbers (how many libraries had actually closed and remained closed, neither reopening, being replaced by comparable libraries or at least reopening as volunteer-run reading rooms?) were unsuccessful, I decided to answer the question for myself. With help and advice from Will Kurt and others, I concluded that only about 32 public libraries (not branches but library systems and independent libraries) have closed during the 12 years from 1998 through 2009 and remained closed, with nearly all of those 32 libraries serving tiny groups of people. (That study is documented in two issues of Cites & Insights, my free ejournal at citesandinsights.info: April 2012, citesandinsights.info/civ12i3.pdf, and May 2012, citesandinsights.info/civ12i4.pdf. An update covering FY2010 closures appears in the October 2012 issue, citesandinsights.info/civ12i9.pdf.)

The study of closing libraries reminded me of speeches I’d done many years ago at state library conferences discussing the health and diversity of libraries. In preparation for some of those speeches I would download current library spreadsheets from the state library and do some analysis of funding and circulation. I consistently found that better-funded libraries did more—and quite a bit more, sometimes showing more cost-effectiveness than less well-funded libraries. I wondered what I’d find with a slightly more sophisticated analysis of the whole nation’s libraries. This book is the result.

Thanks to IMLS and the state libraries, it’s easy to get comparable figures for all the public libraries in the U.S., albeit with some delay.

This book was based on the 2010 data (the “(2012-13)” in the title is because if it sold well, I planned to do future annual editions). It consisted primarily of tables—lots of tables—with some text.

I actually did a preliminary edition (based on 2009 data); it sold six copies (4 paperback, 2 ebook). The full edition—about 50% longer, with newer data and more careful analysis—sold 74 copies through Lulu (4 hardcover, 32 paperback, 38 PDF ebook) and 7 copies through Kindle Direct/Amazon (all Kindle ebook).

Looking at the book later, I concluded that it needed more text and maybe graphs. I provided some text in Cites & Insights (November 2012 and Fall 2012 issues), and later tried to provide supporting graphs in a way people would find worthwhile. But that’s another story.

Admittedly, this book actually sold better than any Lulu book except Balanced Libraries, although I was hoping for a few hundred sales. Hope springs eternal…but, again, that’s another story.

The book’s still available. (The hotlink below is for the paperback; for other versions, go to lulu.com and search “give us a dollar”)

Crawford, Walt. Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-2013) 2012.

Making Book S9: Library 2.0: A Cites & Insights Reader

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on January 3rd, 2014

Here’s what I said about this book on the back cover:

This book is the first in a series of Cites & Insights Readers, combining major essays on a single topic from Cites & Insights for easier reading and permanence.

Well, I said more than that, but that’s the key.

This was the first—and so far only—book branded as “A Cites & Insights Reader,” although Open Access and Libraries was really the first such compilation.

The genesis of this idea was severalfold:

  • Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0,” the essay that made up the Midwinter 2006 issue of Cites & Insights (I was going to call it “the massive essay,” but it was only a 32-page issue; one recent single-essay issue was nearly twice that long), was by far the most downloaded and read essay in the history of Cites & Insights. Through 2012, the HTML version had been viewed more than 21,000 times and the PDF downloaded nearly 34,000 times. (The next-highest essay is about half that number; the next-highest issue, not the same thing, about 16,600 downloads.)
  • According to Google Scholar, it’s my second most cited piece of writing—a long way behind Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality but considerably ahead of MARC for Library Use. (104 citations as of this writing.)
  • I’d done five followup essays—one later in 2006, one each in 2008 and 2009, and a two-parter in 2011—that I thought made valuable additions to the story.
  • I thought the Reader concept might be a nice way to add value to the publication—and a tiny amount of revenue as well (I said at the time that all Readers would be priced to return $4 to me).

I also replaced the Midwinter 2006 issue with a placeholder PDF that noted the book’s existence—but also gave the URL for the saved copy of the issue.

That proved to be interesting as a measure of how important “Library 2.0″ was in 2011 and beyond.

To wit:

  • In 2012, there were 667 attempts to view the HTML version of the article and 1,844 downloads of the PDF version (both stubs).
  • But the saved PDF was only downloaded 36 times in 2012.
  • In the last three months of 2013 (all that I have), the issue stub was downloaded 371 times; the saved PDF, 39 times.

This tells me that most of the time, people didn’t care enough to even key in (or copy-and-paste) a brief new URL. When I hear how many thousands and tens of thousands of times ejournal articles are downloaded, I do sometimes wonder what percentage of those are idle curiosity. For this issue, apparently, the answer is at least 98% of the time in 2012 and around 90% of the time in 2013.

How’s it done? So far, five paperback and 14 ebook versions.

Crawford, Walt. Library 2.0: A Cites & Insights Reader. 2011.

Making Book S8: The Liblog Landscape, 2007-2010

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on December 30th, 2013

I should have known better.

After the stunning sales of the previous Liblog Landscape books, I should have just let it be.

Instead, I did a comprehensive study: every English-language liblog that was discoverable on the web in mid-2010. Thirteen hundred and four of them. Plus another thirteen hundred and twentyseven “things” that I looked at, but didn’t qualify in the end, including 306 that had disappeared entirely or now required passwords to read, 118 that had been renamed (and are actually part of the 1,304), a dozen begun later than May 31, 2010, and things that either aren’t blogs at all or are blogs that appeared in liblog blogrolls but weren’t liblogs.

On the other hand, while amassing information on an absurdly broad range of liblogs, I didn’t get too crazy: I didn’t write profiles for individual blogs. I didn’t attempt to break down blogs by blogger affiliation. And, gulp, I did determine a lot of stuff about each liblog (with the percentage of blogs for which I got the information in parentheses):

  • Country in which the blogger resided when the blog was checked (for 93% of the blogs)
  • Blog software used, if one of seven possibilities (96%)
  • Google Page Rank—I don’t seem to have a way to get this any more, but could back then (81%)
  • Year and month of the first post I could locate (100%)
  • Longevity of the blog in months through May 31, 2010. (100%)
  • Currency: how current the most recent post was as of May 31, 2010 (99+%)
  • Total posts through May 31, 2010 where it was plausible to get that figure (91%)
  • Count, length, and comments for each of four three-month periods (March-May 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)—I wasn’t stupid enough to try to capture all the posts, but did some pretty large samples. Blogs with countable posts—which, of course, also requires that the blog existed during that period—range from 52% (2007: 36% were younger) to 67% (2009). For those blogs with countable posts, ones for which length could be calculated ranged from 87% (736 blogs in 2010) to 92% (746 blogs in 2008). Blogs with posts that had countable comments ranged from 72% in 2010 to 81% in 2007.

I also divided blogs into three types—book and other reviews, technology, and everything else—and four groups based on Google Page Rank and level of posting during March-May 2010. There were 115 review blogs, 405 mostly-technology blogs and 784 others. Groups included 443 “core blogs,” 207 “less active visible blogs,” 364 “also alive” blogs and 290 “mostly defunct” blogs.

The 237-page book didn’t profile any liblogs (I was going to do that piecemeal as copies were sold, but gave up after sales were too slow to justify the effort), but had loads of tables and graphs on various aspects of measured performance and characteristics, with lists of the standout blogs in each area.

I dunno. It might have made a good thesis. Looking at the book now—my own copy is, I believe, one of eleven total copies—makes me tired just thinking about the hundreds of hours of work that went into this. The library field collectively didn’t even yawn, and maybe that was appropriate. I honestly believed that these books were worthwhile for library schools, and if I’d sold 45 copies of this one, I’d have been delighted. That didn’t happen.

Here’s what I find doing a quick revenue report from Lulu since 2008, looking only at the Liblog books and ignoring a handful of copies of one of them that might have sold via CreateSpace:

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: 54 copies

But Still They Blog: 24 copies

The Liblog Landscape 2007-2010: 11 copies

Chapters 2 and 3 appeared in Cites & Insights. Had there been visible sales, more chapters would have appeared there.

I have to admit: the research projects I’ve done since then have been considerably more substantial, if sometimes not as much fun.

After this series, I stopped doing self-published books for a while…or at least writing self-published books. That was a sensible move.

Crawford, Walt. The Liblog Landscape 2007-2010 (pbk.)


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