Archive for the ‘C&I Books’ Category

Making Book S5: But Still They Blog

Friday, December 20th, 2013

As of November 2009, The Liblog Landscape had sold a grand total of 57 copies. Providing the first half of the book free in Cites & Insights probably didn’t help sell any more.

Ever the slow learner, I tried doing it better—looking at a slightly smaller universe of liblogs in more detail and as more of a narrative. The new book looked at blogs from 2007 through 2009 and included chapters on stopping and pausing and why people blog. In many ways, it’s a better book than the earlier one.

Unfortunately, it sold even fewer copies. By September (the book appeared in December 2009) it had sold fewer than 20 copies. As with the earlier book, it’s no longer available.

Much of the book, excluding blog profiles, appeared as the September/October 2010 Cites & Insights, a massive 60-page issue. Through 2012, it appears that the issue was downloaded more than 2,000 times—relatively low for long-term downloads of an issue, but still more than 100 times as many readers as were willing to pay for the book. (In October-November 2013, the issue’s been downloaded or viewed 64 times.)

Crawford, Walt. But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009. 2010 (pbk.)

Making Book S4. The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Remember when blogging was hot?

Remember when a blog by a library person could average more than six comments per post, not including spam?

(Remember when spam didn’t represent 95%–or, in my case, 99%–of the comments in a blog?)

There were a number of “Top XX blogs” pieces in various places in 2004-2006, and the idea of “top” blogs was so entrenched that, when I wrote “Investigating the Biblioblogosphere” in September 2005, looking at 60 liblogs with broad reach, it was referred to using phrases like “Walt Crawford’s Top 50 Blogs,” even though I tried to make it clear that the list was never intended as a “Top 60.” The piece was also very well-read: Some 25,000 downloads and views through the end of 2012.

I devoted almost all of the August 2006 Cites & Insights
to a much broader view of liblogs (I stopped using the pseudo-Germanic term because I thought the first and last parts were both misleading), “Looking at Liblogs: The Great Middle.” This time, I looked at more than 550 liblogs, then eliminated the most widely subscribed 90 and least widely subscribed 183 (based on Bloglines subscriptions), leaving 281 that I thought of as “the great middle.” Some further refinement reduced the list to 213 liblogs; I did detailed metrics and individual descriptions for each of those. It’s important to note that the list deliberately excluded what were probably the best-known liblogs.

That essay has also been very well read: in fact, the issue in which it appeared is the most heavily downloaded for the period from 11/1/13 through yesterday, with nearly 2,000 essay views and downloads during that time. It’s also had more than 25,000 total downloads and pageviews, probably significantly more (since I lack figures for January 2013 through October 2013).

Given the early and continuing readership and interest, I thought it might be worth doing a fairly comprehensive look at liblogs over a period of time. The result was too long for C&I, so it became a self-published book (both Amazon/CreateSpace and Lulu, so one edition has an ISBN), The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look. It was clear that there were more than 1,000 liblogs in 2008. I added more blogs to those in the first two studies, looking at a couple of lists, most notably including Meredith Farkas’ “Favorite blogs” survey.

My criteria for inclusion in the book were that a blog had to be:

  • In English (or at least predominantly in English)
  • Not clearly defined as an official library blog
  • Somehow related to libraries or librarianship (or by a librarian)
  • Reachable—on the web and not password-protected
  • Established before 2008: At least one post before January 2008
  • Visible: adding up Bloglines subscriptions and Technorati “authority” (remember Technorati?) to get at least 10.
  • Not defunct: At least one post after August 31, 2007 (not consistently applied).

That yielded a universe of 607 liblogs. The book includes detailed metrics (and lists of extreme cases for most metrics) and, for each blog, a very brief profile including metrics, identification and start date.

The book didn’t do terribly and didn’t do well. Worldcat.org shows 14 libraries holding the book. It’s a 284-page 6″ x 9″ paperback.

Crawford, Walt. The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look. 2008 (pbk.) CreateSpace edition: ISBN 978-1440473845.

Making Book S3. Academic Library Blogs: 231 Examples

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Public Library Blogs book was such a roaring success, I couldn’t help but be inspired to do a similar book covering academic library blogs.

Nah, that’s ridiculous.

On the other hand, I’ve always sensed that I have a much larger readership among academic librarians than among public librarians—which may make sense, given that I always worked for or on behalf of academic libraries, even though my heart may have always been with public libraries. So either I thought this one might do a little better or I was just deluded.

In any case, the methodology was similar to the other book and I included pretty much the same metrics—again, with most of the book consisting of individual profiles. I also made a few comparisons between academic library blogs and public library blogs. E.g.:

  • Academic library blogs had even fewer comments than public library blogs
  • Academic library blogs had more frequent posts than public library blogs, but slightly shorter posts.

The project was interesting. The 279-page 6″ x 9″ paperback reached a few libraries. (Worldcat.org shows 22 libraries holding this book as of December 15, 2013.) The first few chapters appeared in the May 2009 Cites & Insights, with a limited update that November.

Crawford, Walt. Academic Library Blogs: 231 Examples. 2008 (pbk.).

Making Book S2: Public Library Blogs, 252 Examples

Friday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Friday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Saturday, 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

Tuesday, 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.