Archive for the ‘C&I Books’ Category

Announcing C&I Volume 14, the paperback version (with bonuses!)

Friday, November 28th, 2014

ci14fc300The paperback annual Cites & Insights 14 (2014) is now available for purchase at

The 344-page 8.5×11″ trade paperback (printed on 60# white paper) includes all eleven issues of Cites & Insights 14 and a table of contents. It also includes three exclusive bonuses:

  • An index (actually two indexes, one for articles quoted in the volume, the other for names, topics and the like.
  • A wraparound color cover.
  • To complete the Journals and “Journals” series, an essay that will also appear as the first 20+ pages of the January 2015 Cites & Insights (to be published some time in December 2014).

While Volume 14 includes several essays related to ebooks (and print books, libraries, textbooks), magazines, futurism (in general and as applied to libraries) and more, the obvious focus of much of the year was open access–specifically, a series on access and ethics and a major series of all original research on Journals and “Journals,” looking at the nature of gold OA journals in 2011-2014 through actual examination of the websites of more than ten thousand journals and “journals” (the latter being things called journals that have never actually published any articles).

The paperback sells for $45 (as do all C&I Annuals), and helps to support C&I.

Cites & Insights 14:6 (June 2014) available

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Cites & Insights 14:6 (June 2014) is now available for downloading at

The print-oriented two-column version is 16 pages long. You may also view or download a 32-page one-column 6×9″ ereader-oriented version at

This issue includes three sections:

The Front: Beyond the Damage (pp. 1-4)

Libraries that subscribe to Library Technology Reports should, some time in the next few days or weeks, receive “Big-Deal Serial Purchasing: Tracking the Damage”–and academic libraries that don’t subscribe to LTR may want to purchase this edition from ALA Editions. It brings last year’s The Big Deal and the Damage Done forward to cover 2002-2012 and offers a tighter and more sophisticated view of the situation. (Spoiler alert: Things got worse from 2010 to 2012)

Simultaneously, I’m publishing Beyond the Damage: Circulation, Coverage and Staffing, a book looking at some other aspects of academic libraries and how they changed between 2002 and 2012. It’s available in two forms, each $45: a 130-page paperback with color graphs–or a site-licensed PDF ebook with precisely the same content. Easiest way to find it: go to and search “Crawford beyond damage” (no quotes needed)–that currently yields just the two versions.

Media: Mystery Collection, part 7 (pp. 4-12)

For the first time, most of these movies are in color–which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better, as this is also (I believe) the first time I’ve given up on movies before they’re finished in five out of 24 cases. There are some gems, but also some real dross here.

The Back (pp. 12-16)

Little snarky essays on a variety of things, not all of them entirely humorous.

Next time…

As previously announced, the next issue (which might be the July issue, the July/August issue, or the Summer 2014 issue) should appear some time in June and will be a single- essay issue delving into the realities behind the Beall list–including not only original research but a control group!

After that…well, there’s still time to become a supporter or sponsor of Cites & Insights.

Triple digits!

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Thanks to somebody (or some college) in Canada, The Big Deal and the Damage Done has now reached triple-digit sales (counting each of, well, five site-licensed ebook versions as four sales).

I do appreciate these last-minute sales. Current plans are to remove the book (in both versions) from sale on May 21, 2014–next Wednesday. That could change by a day or so either way. (That’s a week later than the originally announced cutoff.)

The new book, Beyond the Damage: Circulation, Coverage and Staffing, which complements the Library Technology Reports issue that replaces The Big Deal…, will become available about a week later–in two versions, a full-color paperback and a site-licensed ebook, the two having the same price.

A gentle reminder: If you care about Cites & Insights and think it’s worth keeping, please help. The support/sponsorship drive has so far garnered all of three supporters. Or maybe you’re sending the appropriate message…


Thanks, a reminder and a clarification

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014


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.


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


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.]

Last chance for public libraries*

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

*Well, not public libraries themselves. I believe they have a bright future and that there will be more public libraries in, say, 2020 in the U.S. than there are now, or at least no more than 2% fewer. That deliberately provocative headline is, well, deliberately provocative.

Last chance for my books attempting to help public libraries help themselves

That’s what I mean…but that’s on the long side for a post title.

The short form

Barring at least some sales between now and April 2, 2014, the following books and ebooks will go out of print:

The longer form

I prepared Give Us a Dollar… in the belief that it might be helpful to some of America’s public libraries. I knew I wouldn’t make a ton of money from it, but thought I might at least make something close to, say, San Francisco minimum wage (call it $10 an hour). I also thought the lessons learned from doing that version would help in doing a better version when 2011 data came out.

The book certainly didn’t sell enough copies to return minimum wage; I’ve probably made around $700 so far, and I guarantee it took a lot more than 70 hours to prepare the research and write the book. Sales have yet to reach three digits…and there haven’t been any sales (at least of the Lulu version) in the last seven months or so. (The last recorded Lulu sale was in July 2013.)

I prepared the Compleat and Incompleat versions to remedy a major problem with the book: all tables, virtually no commentary and no graphs. I priced them as low as possible. Total revenue to date from those versions can be summed up easily: $0.

I also prepared $4 to $1…, which I believe to be a much improved approach. I only did libraries by size initially because it kept the size (and therefore price) down…and because it didn’t make sense to do Libraries by State unless at least a few dozen and preferably a few hundred libraries, consultants and others wanted the book enough to pay a whole $9.99 to $19.96 for it.

Again, I did this because I believed that my analysis could be of value to public libraries (and their Friends groups) and that at least some significant fraction of public libraries would find the work worthwhile.

I was (apparently) wrong.

Three copies of $4 to $1 were purchased in August 2013.

One copy was purchased in October 2013.

And that’s it.

Four copies over seven months sends me a very strong message: Public libraries really don’t give a hoot about the work I was doing; essentially none of them even find it worth risking $10.

I was apparently wrong to believe this work had any value. That’s OK; I’ve been wrong before.

(I still believe Your Library Is... is a wonderful little book, a bargain at $16.99 paperback or $8.99 ebook, but it’s selling like…well, it’s sold 11 copies, one as recently as January, so I’m leaving it alone for now. I found it inspiring to prepare. I think you’d find it inspiring to thumb through and read little by little. Although I could be wrong there as well.)

It’s too bad in a way, but I’m willing to assume it’s entirely my fault: That I simply had and have no idea what public libraries would actually want enough to pay anything for, and that what little feedback I got from the first year’s work wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile.

What I’m not willing to do: Leave my bookstore cluttered with items that are apparently unwanted.

The lesson I take from this is that, although I love public libraries, I apparently have little or nothing to offer them. I would note that I’d been approached about the possibility of doing custom data analysis for some public libraries at some point in the future, at a reasonable rate, and had in fact offered to do so at a rate far below what any sensible consultant would charge. That approach has, so far, not led to any such work, but it’s only been 1.5 years.

On the other hand, if these books are of no value to public libraries, it’s hard for me to justify offering cut-rate services to those same public libraries. So, at about the same time the books disappear from my bookstore, the offer to do such analysis at a bargain rate will also disappear. I have no reason to believe this will pose a problem for anybody.

No, I haven’t turned against public libraries. I regard America’s public library non-system as vital to the nation and its communities, I use and love my local public library, I want to see public libraries get even better (in an evolutionary rather than disruptive way–I’m mostly a print book borrower), and I may even write about them in the future. Just not on spec in the hope that they’ll pay even the most modest sums for the results. I’m a slow learner, but I’m not incapable of realizing my errors.

A deadline and an apology of sorts

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

First, the deadline:

If you (or your library or consortium) haven’t yet purchased a copy of The Big Deal and the Damage Done–either the $16.50 paperback, the $9.99 PDF ebook or the $40 campus/site/consortium-“licensed” ebook (the $40 version includes explicit permission on the copyright page for simultaneous usage/downloading from a single server, campus or consortium), you should do so soon.

On or about May 14, 2014, all three versions will go out of print: they will become wholly unavailable. (Since neither PDF version has any DRM attached, this will not have any effect on any purchased versions.)

[Why? Because shortly after that a more up-to-date, but briefer, sequel will be published as a Library Technology Reports issue, distributed to subscribers and available for individual purchase from ALA.  While I believe the original book continues to have separate value, I’m choosing to shut it down at that point. Some time later, probably in June, there will be a complementary self-published book looking at other aspects of academic library book purchasing and circulation: note that’s complementary, not complimentary–the self-published book won’t be free.]

As an aside, the trio of public library books appear to be dead in the water. Only Your Library Is… has sold any copies since November 2012, and that hasn’t sold any copies since January 2013. I’m a little sad about that, but have pretty much given up. (So far: 11 copies of that wonderful little book, and fewer than half a dozen of either of the others. Such is life.)

Then there’s the apology. A Cites & Insights reader let me know that, in some cases where I’ve said [Emphasis added] at the end of quoted material, there doesn’t actually seem to be any emphasized material in the quote. This reader thought this was an artifact of the single-column version and the way I converted it from the two-column.

Turns out it’s true of the two-column version as well, and is apparently an artifact of how Word 2010 creates a PDF using “Save/Send to PDF.” It’s maintaining italics and, I think, boldface in some circumstances, but seems to be losing it in some.

I can fix this in one of two ways, and currently plan to do it in the second–but if there’s significant reader desire, I can do it in the first and maybe retroactively for this year’s issues:

1. I can Print using Adobe PDF as a printer, rather than using Word’s function. That may also result in a smaller PDF. Unfortunately, because I haven’t spent the $$$ to upgrade to the most recent Acrobat, that works as a printer, not an Acrobat-in-Word function, with the result that you don’t get bookmarks for essays and headings within essays.

2. I’ll probably replace my 5-year-old computer some time this year, maybe, perhaps, depending partly on support for C&I…and if/when I do, I’ll probably also upgrade to Office360/Office 2013. I’m guessing it has much better built-in PDF support and will probably handle the boldface properly.

Of course, it’s possible that nobody actually uses the PDF bookmarks, in which case solution #1 is an easy fix…

I’ll open comments on this post. If you have an opinion on this matter, please do comment or send me email at the usual (waltcrawford at gmail dot com).

Another sidenote: Either it’s Charles W. Bailey, Jr.’s mention–thanks, Charles–or word gets around when I’m dealing with certain topics. The March C&I, with an essay that means a lot to me but possibly not to you, had only about 450-500 downloads in its first month. The April issue, with the Beall lead essay, has more than 740…in its first four days!

Making Book S16: The Big Deal and the Damage Done

Monday, 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…

Friday, 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…

Wednesday, 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.


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 (•).


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…

Monday, 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.