Archive for the 'C&I Books' Category

Making Book S2: Public Library Blogs, 252 Examples

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on December 13th, 2013

Should your public library have a blog—or more blogs than it already has?

I can’t answer that question. I can say there’s a good chance your library could benefit from one or more blogs.

If anyone tells you that your library must have a blog, they’re wrong. Very few solutions apply to every public library, no matter how large or small.

On the other hand, hundreds of public libraries (serving as few as 400 people and as many as 2.3 million) already use blogs to good effect. I believe thousands of public libraries could serve their communities well by initiating blogs or adding new blogs.

Those are the first four paragraphs of Chapter 1 of Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples. Looking at it now, you could substitute “Facebook page” or “Twitter account” or “Pinterest” or… for “blog” and I’d probably sign my name to the statement.

I find it difficult to look back at this book, six years later, and figure out just why I did it—except that I thought some libraries might find it helpful to have “similar” examples and see how blogs had been doing, at least from an external view.

I did not set about finding all the public library blogs; if I was crazy enough to do this one again, I’d probably start with library websites and look for blogs directly. What I did was probably more sensible (but far less inclusive): I took two major lists (one from LISWiki, one from Blogging Libraries), yielding more than 530 links, including—naturally—quite a few duplicates between the two lists. The book explains how I whittled that list down to 209 blogs—then added other blogs from the 196 libraries represented to arrive at the final 252 blogs. (The basic criteria: The blog had to be English-language, beginning no later than December 2006, with at least one post in two of the three months March, April and May 2007, with enough internal evidence to demonstrate meeting those criteria. That last criterion was probably too narrow at the time and would certainly be too narrow in a reexamination.)

The book discusses various metrics—expressed as text descriptions or lists of standout blogs, not tables—and, for some three-quarters of its length, describes each blog and offers sample posts.

This was one book that I published both via Lulu and via CreateSpace, making it available on Amazon (and adding an ISBN). This naturally resulted in huge sales via Amazon may or may not have aided the pitiful sales—and those sales probably shouldn’t have been a surprise. As of December 12, 2013, Worldcat.org shows 22 libraries holding one or the other version.

The first quarter of the book appeared in the May 2009 Cites & Insights. A limited update appeared in the September 2009 issue. The Lulu cover is one of my favorites: A photo of the library at Ephesus (which my wife & I visited on a cruise).

Crawford, Walt. Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples. 2007 (pbk). CreateSpace edition: ISBN 9781434805591

This one looks better than I expected

Posted in C&I Books on November 13th, 2013

Lulu had a creators-only sale a little while back, letting us order our own publications for a hefty discount (creators only pay production costs anyway, but this was quite a bit lower).

I lucked out in one sense: Cites & Insights 13 (2013) — which is pretty spectacular, and a real bargain — was ready to go just in time to get the discount.

I also used the discount to buy a copy of The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four–which I hadn’t purchased yet. It’s big (425 pages, 8.5″ x 11″), essentially the same size (thickness) as C&I 13.

Both books arrived today.

I’m blown away by how well inCompleat came out. Of course I’d seen all the pages on the screen as I was working on them, albeit never a full-size version of the cover (a wraparound cover with a two mosaics of public library website images), but seeing the real thing is a revelation.

The tables are considerably easier to read than in the original Give Us a Dollar (larger type, considerably wider). The scatterplots and other graphs are much nicer than I expected. And the combination of text, tables and graphs works really well.

I’m trying to avoid flogging this, but I have to admit, if you want the detailed view of public library benefits and budgets provided for 2010, I think this big paperback is the way to go. ($4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets is better in some ways and more up to date, but it’s also a less detailed breakdown–and at this point, it’s beginning to look unlikely that Volume 2, libraries by state, will ever appear. The equivalent is included in inCompleat as pages 225-415.)

Just sayin': It came out better than I expected, and I think it’s a useful book.

And don’t forget: From now through Friday, November 15, coupon code CORNUCOPIA gets you 20% off.

The Big Deal: More widely available–and a discount

Posted in C&I Books on November 12th, 2013

Two quick notes on The Big Deal and the Damage Done:

  1. Thanks! to the (German?) institution that purchased a site-license/campus-license edition.
  2. For those who want the paperback but don’t want to deal with Lulu, or prefer to deal with Amazon for whatever reason: You can now buy The Big Deal and the Damage Done at Amazon.com. It currently sells for $21.54 at Amazon; if you’re a Prime member or otherwise get free shipping, the total cost of the book and shipping may be lower than through Lulu.

The paperback should become available through other sources as well, but so far it doesn’t show up at B&N. (Yes, the “publisher” in this case really is lulu.com, since I accepted the free Lulu ISBN to get it into distribution channels–that ISBN makes Lulu the publisher of record.)

Also (which I just noticed while preparing this, and which will be in a separate post in a few minutes), this and all of my books at Lulu are eligible for a 20% off discount (one order per account, any number of items in that order), good from now through Friday, November 15: Use the coupon code CORNUCOPIA at checkout.

 

The Big Deal and the Damage Done: Quick note

Posted in C&I Books on November 8th, 2013

When I checked Lulu sales this morning (I usually check once a day or so), I was delighted to see that somebody purchased two paperback copies of The Big Deal and the Damage Done some time this morning.

Thanks! (Given the way Lulu reports sales, it appears to be one person or institution buying two copies, not two different people or institutions…)

I’ve been reading the book the last couple of days, as I start to set up for the 2012 project (that is, a 12-year study including 2012 data, once that data is posted by NCES). I’m still proud of the project; it was done quickly but, I believe, well, and should be must reading for library school students and worthwhile for many academic libraries.

As previously noted, I will not be self-publishing a 2012 update. A shorter and probably simpler version covering 2000 through 2012 (and normalizing dollar amounts to 2012 dollars rather than 2002 dollars) will be published by a “real publisher” as part of a subscription series, also available separately. (I get paid once, no royalties–but I get paid a reasonable, if not huge, amount.) There may or may not be a self-published extension, looking at other aspects of possible damage or going into more detail; that will depend on what I see in the 2012 data and on discussions with the publisher.

In any case, the current Big Deal and the Damage Done will continue to be available as a $9.99 PDF ebook (no DRM, explicit full first-sale rights, color graphs) and a $16.50 trade paperback (the graphs all use line portions as well as colors, so they’re entirely readable in black-and-white) right up to the point where the newer related item is published. (And possibly beyond, if there are continuing sales and the other publisher agrees–but it’s unlikely.)

A little nudge

But The Big Deal and the Damage Done is also available in a special $40 campus license version–identical to the $9.99 PDF, except that the cover has an extra line and the copyright page explicitly grants permission to make the book available for simultaneous multiuser download or reading from a campus (or library or association) server.

The regular PDF is a case where a library buys the ebook, not just leasing it: It explicitly carries first-sale rights. The campus version goes way beyond: it means you’re ethically as well as legally able to make the book available to every student in a library school (on campus or distance), to every librarian in a multicampus system, to…whatever seems reasonable. With my explicit approval, right there on the copyright page.

So far, three of those special editions have been sold. I count each one as four copies in counting overall sales–and the book’s about eleven copies away from catching up with Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four. (Neither one is nearing three-digit sales yet…)

If I saw 40-50 campus-license sales (suggesting roughly one per library school) and that was the end of it, I’d be delighted.

On the other hand, if nobody cares about the site-license/campus-license version, it will go away.

PS: Not that I want to encourage anybody to wait, but Lulu might be having some partial-week sales, typically 20% off with a coupon code. If I remember and if I see them, I’ll post about them as they happen. The 20% comes out of Lulu’s portion, so the only effect on me is to increase book sales.

Right now, the only book sale I know if is the “FAST5″ coupon, good for 5% off, but it can only be used once per account–so, for example, buying a complete set of all eight annual volumes of Cites & Insights might be a good use for it. [Go to lulu.com. Search for Cites Insights. When I do that, the eight annuals come up first. Why eight? I never produced volumes 1-5 via Lulu, although I've been tempted to do so.]

 

Self-Publishing Reality Check 8

Posted in C&I Books on November 6th, 2013

It’s been a fortnight since my last post in this series.

I’m delighted to say that there have been some sales—although all but one of them are for The Big Deal and the Damage Done, rather than any of the books I’m tracking here.

For the record:

  • One paperback copy of Your Library Is…
  • Four (!) paperback copies of The Big Deal and the Damage Done
  • One campus license ebook version of The Big Deal and the Damage Done (which I count as four sales-equivalents)

For what it’s worth, including campus licenses as four each, The Big Deal and the Damage Done is about to catch up with Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four in total sales. Note that neither one has yet reached three digits…

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

3

2

8/29-9/11
9/11-9/25

1

9/25-10/9
10/9-10/23

1

10/23-11/6

1

4

1

11/6-11/21

1

Total

3

1

9

1

Quick update on deadlines and books

Posted in C&I Books on October 26th, 2013

I had said that, if no copies of $4 to $1 were sold (after October 1) by October 26, I’d drop the current discount on the paperback version.

I’m delighted to say that a copy was sold this week. (I’d be even more delighted if several copies were sold, or if there was finally a site-license sale, but one copy is better than none.)

So the discount will stick around for another month, at least.

I should also note that five copies of Your Library Is… were purchased this week. Since all the sales showed up after I posted something that was not really an ad, but a second descriptive post, at PUBLIB, I’m guessing there’s a direct relationship. And I’m hoping that some of those who buy it find it interesting and worth mentioning, since word of mouth/word of text is definitely the best way to get this into more hands.

[October so far has seen three more sales of The Big Deal and the Damage Done, but no site licenses. That book wasn't endangered in any case, and a newer (but briefer and more expensive and not self-published) version won't be out until next summer.]

Still absolutely no sales of The Compleat Give Us a Dollar (either volume) or The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar… which may very well disappear pretty soon.

Rather than individual links for these, since most have multiple versions each with a different URL, I’ll just say: go to lulu.com and search for the title or Walt Crawford.

Self-publishing reality check: A slight correction

Posted in C&I Books on October 22nd, 2013

Turns out I’d missed 33% of sales of Your Library Is… and $4 to $1…

To wit, as of September 19, 2013 (and as of October 21, 2013, for that matter), each of the two books has sold three paperback copies (and no ebook copies), not two.

That’s 50% more sales!

By the way, The Compleat Give Us a Dollar… and The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar… have maintained their sales levels: Zero in each case.

 

The strongest correlation between circulation and spending

Posted in C&I Books, Libraries on October 15th, 2013

There’s a lot of interesting data in $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Volume 1, Libraries by Size (currently around $16 paperback and $8 ebook or $32 site license, if you buy it by Friday, October 18, 2013)–data that can help you understand the picture of public libraries across the country as well as how your own library measures up.

One key figure is the correlation between circulation per capita and spending per capita: Libraries that spend more do more.

The correlation is strong (that is, the Pearson’s Coefficient is at least 0.50) for all size categories of public libraries and for the nation as a whole (0.59).

Where is it strongest?

Among 828 libraries serving 40,000 to 99,999 people (legal service area population, not registered borrowers).

As you’ll see on page 150 of the book, that correlation is 072–a very strong correlation.

[Which libraries have the lowest correlation? In fact, only one size category falls below 0.61: The very smallest libraries, those serving fewer than 1,000 potential patrons, with 0.51 correlation. That's not surprising--with such small patron groups and correspondingly small budgets, you'd expect a wide range of results.]

$4 to $1: Two Timely Announcements

Posted in $4, Books and publishing, C&I Books on October 10th, 2013

At least in my mind, $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets is a much better overall discussion of public library benefits and budgets in FY2011 (and how they changed from 2009), and a much better tool for libraries to help tell their own stories, than was Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (still available, but you’re better off getting either The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar… in paperback or The Compleat Give Us a Dollar… volume 1 as a $9.99 ebook or $39.99 site-license ebook).

So far, apparently, nobody’s found it worth spending $9.99 (or $39.99 for a systemwide/statewide license) for the non-DRM PDF ebook to find out and use it–and only two people or libraries have purchased the $25 paperback, currently discounted to $19.96 at Lulu.

So, two timely announcements:

Now available at Amazon and elsewhere

If you just can’t cope with Lulu, you can now buy $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets from Amazon–currently discounted to $21.72. (I get less revenue from this than from the Lulu sale, but that’s OK–at this point, I really want to see the book get some use!)

“and elsewhere”? It should be available at other online bookstores. So far, I don’t find it at Barnes & Noble, but…

It’s exactly the same book, ISBN 978-1-304-35588-1. (“Exactly the same” might or might not be correct–it’s possible that the copies produced for other sellers don’t use the wonderful 60lb. cream book stock that Lulu uses, but I think they do. Given the sales to date, I’m not going to spend $21.72 to find out!)

Discount ends soon unless there are sales

The current discount on the paperback book on Lulu will be retained until the book has been out for two months–it was first announced as available on August 23, 2013.

If there aren’t any sales between now and October 23, 2013, I’ll drop the discount: the price will go back to $25.00

At that point, it’s quite possible that the ebook price will be increased by $5.

[If and when there are Lulu sales, and I notice them, I'll announce them, and those are unrelated to my promise that the prices of these books aren't going down: They're temporary Lulu-wide sales events that don't reduce my income.]

I must admit, at this point $159.99 is beginning to sound like the appropriate price point for a somewhat specialized library research report in PDF form; I’ve seen that used elsewhere, by an outfit that must be selling enough copies to stay in business…but let’s not go there just yet.

IndieGoGo and non-sales: An oddity

Posted in $4, C&I Books on October 4th, 2013

This could be a letter to 16 of the 18 people who would have donated money for the three-book project (Your Library Is…, $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Volume 1 and $4 to $1 Volume 2) if another 70 or so had joined them in the IndieGoGo campaign.

Specifically, those whose contribution (which was returned to them) would have yielded sets of the PDF ebooks as perks.

But I’d rather make it an open letter because I don’t want to point at individuals.

Why 16 of the 18? Because I know that one of them–a close friend–did buy Your Library Is…, and one pledged a very small amount that would not have earned a free paperback. I believe one other contributor may have purchased both books, but have no way to be sure.

Here’s the oddity: 17 people contributed at least $30, for which they would have received the three ebooks.

Only two copies of each book have been sold to date–and all four sales have been paperback copies.

I was hoping, of course, that the 17 “contributions” (I’m not sure what to call contributions that don’t actually yield contributions) would lead to at least 170 sales of each book. That wouldn’t be wonderful, but it would be decent.

I sort of assumed there would be at least 17 copies sold of at least one of the two books. So much for assumptions.

I guess the question is why people contributed if they really didn’t want the books?

  • They wanted other people and libraries to get $4 to $1 for free–an admirable motive!–but they really weren’t interested in the book itself, and weren’t much interested in Your Library Is… either.
  • They were primarily interested in Volume 2, and only bought into the project to see that happens. That explanation strains credulity.
  • Some other explanation that hasn’t occurred to me.

It’s certainly not that people decided to get Your Library Is… by donating to Cites & Insights instead: To date (since well before the publication of the books), that hasn’t happened at all.

These are people who thought they were contributing at least $30. The two ebooks combined cost $18.99.

It’s an oddity.

About site license versions

I’ve promised that site license versions of $4 to $1 Volume 1, The Compleat Give Us a Dollar vol. 1 and The Big Deal and the Damage Done  will continue until at least November 1.

I’ll refine that promise.

If there are no site license sales by November 1, 2013, site license versions will cease to be available on or around November 2, 2013.

I established these special versions to make it easy for library schools and other institutions or groups of institutions to make the ebooks widely available at absurdly low cost. But if there’s no interest, they’ll simply go away.


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