Archive for the 'C&I Books' Category

The Compleat Give Us a Dollar…ready now

Posted in $4, Books and publishing, C&I Books on August 1st, 2013

The most in-depth discussion of public library benefits and budgets in FY2010 you’re likely to find (or at least that I’m aware of) is now available in a form that combines tables, graphs and comments.

The Compleat Give Us a Dollar vol. 1, Libraries by Size combines all of the text from Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) except Chapter 20 with several hundred graphs to accompany the tables–and all of the commentary provided in Cites & Insights and in Graphing Public Library Benefits.

The ebook is 361 8.5″ x 11″ PDF pages (actually 353 pages + viii front matter)–8.5″ x 11″ so the graphs would work, ebook-only because it requires color to work properly. It’s the usual $9.99–but there’s also an explicit site-license version allowing multiple simultaneous download/reading for $39.99, ideal for library schools (including distance students), single-state consortia, state libraries, whatever.

The Compleat Give Us a Dollar vol. 2, Libraries by State, combines Chapter 20 from Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), the commentary from Cites & Insights and, for 49 states, new scatterplots showing circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita. (The District of Columbia and Hawaii each have a single public library system, and a one-point graph seems silly.)

The ebook is 195 8.5″ x 11″ PDF pages (actually 191 pages + iv front matter)–8.5″ x 11″ so the graphs are as large as possible and for consistency with volume 1, ebook-only because, well, see below. It’s also $9.99–and the explicit site-license version is only $34.99.

Both ebooks were created as PDFs directly from Word, including all bookmarks–so you can navigate to any chapter or subsection of a chapter directly from Reader’s sidebar.

For those desiring the ease of flipping back and forth of a print book, or who want a print book for other reasons, I’ve combined the two volumes and removed the multicolor occurrence-by-spending-category graphs to create The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, announced yesterday. It’s a big book–433 8.5″ x 11″ pages (actually 425 pages + viii front matter). It will set you back $26.99.

You can use the coupon code FAST5–once per account–to save 5% on your order, if you haven’t already used it for some other purpose.

Two ebooks out of print

With publication of the new books, Graphing Public Library Benefits is now redundant (and had total sales that, when rounded to the nearest five, come out to zero) and has been deleted.

Additionally, the ebook version of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) has been retired from Lulu, but you can still buy the paperback or hardcover versions–and an ebook version is still available for the Kindle.

One final note: If the crowdsourcing for $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets continues as it is going now, then any chance of Volume 2 (libraries by state) actually emerging in the future will be conditioned on additional sales of these books.

The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four

Posted in C&I Books on July 31st, 2013

Do you find the myriad tables with no graphs and essentially no commentary in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four a little overwhelming?

Have you read my plans to provide The Compleat Give Us a Dollar…, Volume 1: Libraries by Size, and Volume 2: Libraries by State, combining tables, graphs (including new graphs for states) and commentary–but only in 8.5×11 PDF ebooks–and thought that it might be less convenient for quick comparisons?

Have I got a deal for you…

The two ebook volumes of TCGUAD should be available tomorrow, August 1, or Friday, August 2 (they’re ready, but there’s other stuff to do).

Meanwhile, it’s here:

The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four

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It’s 433 8.5″ x 11″ pages. It’s a big book. It combines all of the text from the original book, essentially all of the comments from the two Cites & Insights essays, all of the scatterplots (and other b&w graphs) from Graphing Public Library Benefits, and what I believe to be the most meaningful graph for libraries by state, a scatterplot plotting circulation per capita against spending per capita, along with the correlation coefficient for those two measures.

I’m sure there are a few egregious errors from the fast process of combining four different sources, then stripping out some graphs and trying to remove the associated notes properly. But all the real text and tables should be just fine.

The price is a low, low $26.99. Did I mention that it’s a big book?

Oh, and that the two-volume Compleat… won’t be available in print? (And would be brutally expensive if it was.)

I believe library schools will find this worthwhile. As should some library consultants, some state libraries and some libraries. You won’t find this level of detail in $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets or anywhere else I can think of.

If you don’t recognize the subheading above as being a link, here’s the link–and again in text form:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/the-incompleat-give-us-a-dollar-and-well-give-you-back-four/14013327

Two ebooks about to disappear

Posted in C&I Books on July 25th, 2013

If you want the ebook (PDF, no DRM, full first-sale rights) version of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, buy it now: It will disappear on or about August 1, 2013. The paperback and hardback versions will still be available for some time to come.

If you want Graphing Public Library Benefits (only available as an absurdly cheap PDF no DRM full first-sale rights ebook), buy it now: It will disappear on or about August 1, 2013. And will be gone, period.

Both will be (partially) replaced by Crawford’s Folly Volume 1 The Compleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, Vol 1, Libraries by Size. That will only be available as an 8.5″ x 11″ PDF ebook, more than 300 353 pages long (the current ebook is 6″ x 9″ but I couldn’t make the existing graphs work in the narrower column), in two versions: single-user and site-”license” (still a sale, but with explicit permission for multiuser simultaneous access and downloading from a server for some reasonably-controlled group of people up to and including all libraries within a state). It’s a remarkable book in several ways, and provides a detailed view of the benefits of America’s public libraries in 2010 that’s unlikely to be equaled in the future.

The (partially) refers to Chapter 20, Libraries by State, and I anticipate that another 8.5″ x 11″ PDF ebook combining Chapter 20, the second half of the comments published in C&I, and one scatterplot for each of 49 states will emerge some time later in August. It will be Vol. 2, Libraries by State, and will similarly be available in single-user and multiuser editions. Volume 2 will be 191 pages long.

I’m guessing each volume will go for $9.99 single-user, $30 site license.

Update 7/29/13: Note the change from “more than 300″ to “353″ pages for volume 1, the addition of page count for volume 2. Both of these will appear around August 1-2…and there will also be a combined print-only version that omits all the multicolor line graphs so that it’s printable. (It includes all the scatterplots–around 250 in all–and the commentary.) That book is 425 8.5 x 11″ pages. Since it lacks some of the material in The Compleat…, the obvious title is The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four. The print version will be much easier to use to make comparisons among states and sizes of libraries. It will probably sell for something like $24.95, give or take.

Cites & Insights 13:9 (September 2013) available–special issue

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on July 16th, 2013

Cites & Insights 13:9 (September 2013) is now available for downloading at the Cites & Insights homepage.

The early, special issue is 10 pages long. If you’re reading online or doing anything other than printing it out, you’re much better off downloading the single-column online edition, which is 24 pages long, as most of the special issue is a rough draft of a book chapter that includes graphs and tables, which had to be compressed (reducing the type size in the tables quite a bit!) to fit into the narrower columns of the print version.

The issue consists of a single essay (albeit one that includes a draft book chapter as an example):

Libraries
$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets–Help Needed  pp. 1-10

I’ve started the followup to Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), and I’m trying to crowdfund inexpensive or free versions of the book (and presell copies) through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

This issue describes the project: Two books (one with libraries by size, one with libraries by state) combining tables, graphs and commentary to offer reasonably detailed pictures of countable public library benefits for FY2011 and how they’ve changed from 2009 to 2011, and A Library Is..., a collection of public library slogans and mottoes.

In addition to describing the project, why I’m trying crowdfunding, what happens if the campaign does (or doesn’t) succeed and how this relates to existing books, I provide a rough-draft sample of what the book will include–Chapter 3, covering libraries with fewer than 1,000 potential patrons [more than one-ninth of America's public libraries and systems].

The campaign runs through mid-August. This is the September 2013 C&I: There won’t be another one for at least six weeks and probably more.

$4 to $1: An FAQ of Sorts

Posted in C&I Books on July 10th, 2013

In case you hadn’t heard, I’m running an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to underwrite a three-book project:

  • $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (2013-14): Libraries by Size
  • $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (2013-14): Libraries by State
  • A Library Is…: A Collection of Public Library Mottoes and Slogans

The project is discussed in more detail here; some additional information about the campaign is here.

They say you need to keep telling people more and more about crowdfunding campaigns…especially ones that aren’t taking off with the velocity of, say, the LibraryBox Kickstarter campaign.

So, for now, here’s an FAQ of sorts about the project, where it stands and related issues.

How’s it going?

You can check by going to the campaign itself. As of this writing, not so well. That could change, of course.

What happens if it fails?

  • The Libraries by Size book will probably happen, maybe, but will also probably be a little more expensive.
  • The Libraries by State book, which is of more interest as a look at the diversity of America’s libraries than it is as a tool, might not happen at all. If it does, it will be significantly more expensive.
  • A Library Is… will almost certainly happen. I’d either offer it as a perk for significant contributions to Cites & Insights, offer it on its own as an ebook (and maybe a paperback), or both. (Hey, I’ve gone through some 5,000 libraries, with around 4,200 left to go–all serving fewer than 10,000 people. It’s turning out to be as interesting as I thought.)

What happens if it succeeds?

  • That’s pretty much spelled out in the various goal levels. Even at the minimal $2,500, completion of all three books is guaranteed–and quite a few of them would be “presold,” since they’re offered as perks for any contribution of $12 or higher.
  • The books would be less expensive than otherwise, maybe even free in some cases.
  • I’d be thankful and happy and resolved to do the best possible job.

Does this project replace Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)?

No. That book–and the related Graphing Public Library Benefits  and commentary in Cites & Insights–offer a more detailed picture of a single year, 2010, but split across several resources.

The new project offers less detail (for libraries by size) but a richer and more integrated view, and looks at both measures for 2011 and changes from 2009 to 2011.

What might happen to Give Us a Dollar…: I’m toying with the idea of combining the three resources (essentially cutting-and-pasting between various Word files, with minimal new editing) into either a single huge ebook combining tables, graphs and commentary, or two huge ebooks (one by size, one by states). If I do that, the new item would only be available in two forms: ebook(s) and campus/state-licensed ebook(s), where I explicitly say the ebook(s) can be loaded onto a server for a campus (including distance students), single-state consortium or state, with no controls on simultaneous usage. I’d take the Lulu ebook version of the current book out of print; the print version and the Amazon/Createspace ebook version would continue to be available. Modified 7/11/13: I’d forgotten that the Graphing book didn’t include Chapter 20, so the only feasible version would be one humongous ebook, probably around 570 pages. It’s not feasible to offer a print version because the spending-segment graphs require color to make sense–and a 570-page color Lulu book would cost around $118 per copy to produce (since printing costs would be $0.20 per page rather than $0.02 per page, and you can’t have part-color).

What About The Big Deal and the Damage Done?

No direct effect, although the (very mild so far) success of that book’s “campus license edition” will guide me in future ventures.

I’m 99% certain there is not going to be an unglue.it campaign for this book, for several reasons (including stalled requests, as far as I can tell); I believe the campus license edition fills the need that the unglue.it campaign might have filled without requiring me to try to come up with yet another high-profile campaign and new perks.

Will there be a next edition of that book including 2012 data?

Probably and probably not. There will probably be something–in mid-2014, if all goes well–but it may not be a self-published book. The current book should continue to be valuable.

Hope this helps. If you think it’s a worthwhile project, please publicize it, support it or both!

$4 to $1: Why not just use a publisher?

Posted in $4, C&I Books on July 8th, 2013

Last week, I introduced an IndieGoGo campaign to assure the completion of–and presell copies of–$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (2013-14).

Here’s the post (and maybe Independence Day wasn’t the ideal day to post this).

Here’s the campaign itself.

After an initial mini-burst of publicity (on my usual social networks), I realized that I hadn’t directly posted to Facebook’s ALA-TT group, of whom very few probably get my own status updates.

So I did, on Saturday, July 6, and got a few comments. Including this one from Jules Shore (following comments from Henry Mensch who noted that this wasn’t as sexy as LibraryBox but also that it was important stuff that can be useful in advocacy work, which is a primary goal):

Maybe we need a better explanation. I don’t like to compare your project to LibraryBox, but that example has already been presented, so…
1) I’ve heard of Kickstarter, but LibraryBox was the first time I donated. I’ve never heard of IndieGoGo. I didn’t recognize it as an equivalent.
2) I thought the point of producing a reference work, as I interpret this project to be, is you get a publisher to publish and make money from the sales. I imagine every Public Library system in the nation would want a copy of this report, so sales are almost guaranteed.

Why are you funding this project via IndieGoGo, instead of going the regular publisher route?

I offered a quick response this morning (July 8, 2013), but maybe I should say a little more.

Why IndieGoGo rather than Kickstarter?

Fewer projects, less emphasis on GOTTA HAVE THAT VIDEO PLUG, no approval process: slightly lower fees (4% rather than 5%: not a biggie).

The point of producing a reference work

I must admit that I’d never heard the theory that the point of producing a reference work is “you get a publisher to publish.”

I thought the point of producing any work (and I think of $4 to $1 as being more advocacy and current awareness) was to create something that others would find worthwhile.

But let’s get to the broader question: Why not just use a traditional publisher, especially since “I imagine every Public Library system in the nation would want a copy of this report, so sales are almost guaranteed”?

  • Speed. Since this is intended to be useful for advocacy and as a reasonably current overview, I looked for timeliness. It will appear the day after I finish editing–I’ve set mid-October as a deadline for the whole project, but I’d hope to have the first part (Libraries by Size) out in early September and maybe earlier. Based on past experience, I think it highly unlikely that I’d be able to get this out through a traditional library publisher within six months of completion–actually, I’d be surprised if I even had a contract by mid-September.
  • Price. I’d especially like smaller public libraries–which typically don’t have their own marketing staffs or statistical experts–use this, and for those libraries, $45-$65 is a real barrier. (That seems to be the general range of prices for books from library publishers these days, although some go for a lot more.) The IndieGoGo model, if it succeeds, will mean no more than $9.99 for ebook versions (and maybe less), and a modest price (probably well under $20) for paperback versions–and even a modest price for ebook versions explicitly permitting multiple access over a campus, library or statewide server. It’s not that library publisher prices are too high (given the small market and the costs of professional everything, I don’t think they necessarily are), it’s that I can do it a lot less expensively.
  • Realistic sales projections. There are roughly 9,200 public library systems (including single-branch libraries) in the U.S. Most of them are very small. (How small? For FY2011, 46% served fewer than 6,000 people, 66% served fewer than 14,000, 76% served fewer than 23,000–and 23% served fewer than 2,000.) Most of them won’t buy this book; most of them will probably never hear about it. I would be delighted to reach 10% of America’s public libraries. I believe all 40-odd library schools should have copies of these books, but my believing that doesn’t make it so. To be honest: I don’t believe either of the traditional library publishers I normally work with would touch this project–I suspect it wouldn’t meet their break-even criteria.

So what’s the point?

Going the Indiegogo route may be peculiar, especially since ideally most sales should go to libraries (or Friends groups) rather than individual librarians.

It’s an experiment. I think the project’s worthwhile–a considerable improvement over a previous version, which sold just enough copies to make a new version intriguing but nowhere near enough to make it worthwhile for a traditional publisher.

The publicity problem

I’m personally disinclined to go into a daily drumbeat of publicity for this project; that may be a fatal error.

I’m confused enough as to PUBLIB guidelines so that I have not posted anything about this (trying to avoid what can be viewed as a commercial plug), although I think others could do so. Maybe. (If/when I do a special C&I issue promoting this, I’ll announce that on PUBLIB as usual.)

I’m not regularly part of any Friends list, so haven’t really gone there.

I’m not an entrepreneur by nature, which is a problem.

I think this is worthwhile. Only others can decide that for sure.

 

And, hey, I think A Library Is… will be an intriguing and possibly inspirational little collection (not that little: I’m just past the halfway point and up to 900 mottoes and slogans, although I may trim that somewhat)–and I currently have no plans to offer that book on its own.

Take a look. If you think it’s worthwhile, I’d appreciate your help–both in signing up and in publicizing the project. The quick URL to the project is http://igg.me/at/4to1/x/3751677

 

 

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets–help make it work

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

I’ve just opened an IndieGoGo campaign to assure the completion of my (renamed) project on public library benefits and budgets: $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (2013-14).

You’ll find the campaign here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/4-to-1-public-library-benefits-and-budgets/x/3751677/

My basic goal is $2,500. At that level, all three books will be completed–and many of them prepurchased as perks.

The three books?

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (2013-14): Libraries by Size

Based on Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13), but that title just got too cumbersome when I realized the need to split the project into two books.

As recounted in earlier posts–specifically this one–this book will have fewer and simpler tables, more graphs and a lot more commentary. Additionally, where the previous book covered a single year, this will compare two years: 2011 and 2009.

I’m guessing the new book will wind up between 150 and 200 pages, maybe a little shorter.

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (2013-14): Libraries by State

While the first chapter of this book will be identical to the book just discussed, the remainder will be state chapters, probably with slightly fewer metrics. I’m aiming for 200 pages or less.

A Library Is…

A book of public library slogans and mottoes gathered from public library websites. I’m just under halfway through doing the scan, with around 800 slogans and mottoes to date. This book may be inspirational. It will never be sold separately–it will only be available as a perk for this or other crowdfunding projects or as a thank-you for larger donations to Cites & Insights.

The Indiegogo campaign is a “Fixed Funding” campaign: If people pledge a total of $2,499 within the 45 days, nobody pays anything and I don’t get anything. (In other words, it’s like Kickstarter.)

I’m sure I’ll be pushing this in various ways at times, but I’ll try not to overdo it. No, there’s no campaign video at this point: I’m just not telegenic.

If the campaign succeeds, all three books will appear. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure what will happen.

[My continued thanks to Laura Crossett for suggesting Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four; the new title is far more humdrum, but I needed something shorter, and "Buckfour" or $4, my own internal name, just weren't doing it. That books will remain available.]

Survey on public library projects: Last call

Posted in C&I Books on June 21st, 2013

If you’re at all interested in either a new and improved version of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four or “A Library Is…,” please take the quick survey.

Next Monday or Tuesday (that is, June 24 or 25, 2013), I need to take action or inaction–either creating an IndieGoGo crowdfunding attempt or deciding that it’s not worth pursuing.

Thanks for your time–the survey really shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

More information on “A library is…

I’ve written enough about a possible second version of Give Us a Dollar… that it seems pointless to rehash it. Basically: Two parts (overview and libraries by size in part one, state-by-state in part two), combining commentary, graphs and text, fewer metrics, including changes from 2010 to 2011.

IUUI 4 followup

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on June 10th, 2013

So what about Mostly Just Numbers: Coping with Everyday Statistics, discussed in this post?

Since that post, there’s been only one additional email or comment–and it’s a comment on the post from someone whose opinion I respect. I’ll quote it here in full:

I was pretty down with this until I got to the page count. Also, I expect “Excel” will drive off a lot of people. But 200 pages about statistics is a hard sell.

The “Excel” part, which only appears in chapter titles in the Librarian’s Extension portion, is more-or-less essential–that whole section is about how to use the tools you’re most likely to be familiar with to derive useful information from the very large datasets on public and academic libraries produced by IMLS and NCES. Those datasets aren’t in Excel form: They’re Access databases (or flat files that I find impenetrable).

I’m assuming that a lot more library folk are comfortable with Excel than are comfortable with Access. I’m guessing (I haven’t tested) that a lot of what I suggest doing would be much more cumbersome in Access. (I don’t have Access: I’d have to see whether LibreOffice Database could handle it.) The only real option here is to use LibreOffice/OpenOffice, and I’d guess–perhaps incorrectly–that librarian familiarity with Excel exceeds familiarity with the LibreOffice spreadsheet by a quite substantial factor.

It’s the first and third sentence that gave me pause–because I’m pretty sure Laura’s not alone there. Let me put on my Gramps on the Rocking Chair persona for a moment here:

Back in the day–when I wrote my first 10 published books, basically 1984 to 1992–the typical professional library book, as I understood it, was around 100,000 words, which translated to 300+ pages at 6″ x 9″. That’s a length I was reasonably comfortable with–as were, presumably, those reading or at least buying the books.

I don’t think that’s the case any more for nonfiction books that aren’t Big Scholarly Tomes. More recent books have generally included length limits in the contracts, ranging from 75,000-80,000 words down to 30,000 words. If I’m writing a book now, I’m likely to aim for around 50,000-60,000 words (or word-equivalents for heavily tabular or graphic books). Times change–but I still think of books much shorter than around 200 pages as being not quite books. That’s my problem.

OK, gramps, off the lawn. Back to my aging-but-not-quite-over-the-hill persona.

What I read into that comment is that I should aim for around 150 pages for the combined book, less than that for either portion. (What I actually said was “<200 pages” for the combined book, “<150 pages for general part, <100 pages for librarian supplement” if I split them out.)

Doing the whole thing in 150 pages would be difficult–not just because I’m a wordy bastard. The book seems to me to require a fair number of examples–graphs and screenshots. Specifically, calling out problems with statistics and graphs is really hard to do without showing some typical problems (or simulations of those problems). Each graph is at least 1/3 and probably 1/2 of a 6×9 page to be effective at all. The second part will need tables and partial screenshots to work at all, I think.

Can I do that in, say, 100 pages of actual text? Probably so–for the first part. For the whole thing? I’m not sure. If it’s too terse, it won’t be usable. If it’s too verbose, it won’t be used. If it’s either one, it won’t be as interesting as it could be.

Where things stand now

There’s another key element in the second paragraph above:

Since that post, there’s been only one additional email or comment

So I can project potential sales of seven. Or seventy. “Or 700″–but projecting 100 times as many sales as there have been expressions of interest is, shall we say, way out of line with my experience on recent self-pub books. At best, 15:1 or 20:1 seems plausible.

Much as I think this book/these books could be useful to others, they’re not exploring new ground for me (unlike Give Us a Dollar… and The Big Deal… and, in fact, most of the self-pub books I’ve done). That is, I won’t know a lot more at the end of the project than I will at the beginning.

Given that, potential sales of 70 copies makes no sense at all. Potential sales of 105 copies (15:1) isn’t much better. Potential sales of 140 copies? (20:1) Marginal in terms of effort and impact, at best.

My sensible side says there’s just not enough interest to make this worth doing.

My other side keeps wondering whether I could do a good enough job that it would get the word-of-mouth marketing that self-pub books really require (unless you’re ready to spend serious dough).

I think where things stand is that I might try writing the first two chapters and see whether they point to something I’d be proud of and believed would both be short enough to appeal to people and useful enough to satisfy them and me.

In other words, this one’s still way up in the air.

IUUI 3: Followup

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on June 7th, 2013

Another in a series of followup posts, this time on “Important, useful, used, interesting: Part 3,” which discussed Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) and its possible future.

There’s no followup for IUUI 2, because the post was self-contained. To wit, C&I will continue to have Media sections containing what used to be “Offtopic Perspectives,” namely brief reviews of old movies in multidisc sets, and “The Back,” sometimes-snarky items.

And it behooves me to repeat that, today through Friday, June 7, 2013, you can buy the hardbound copy of Give Us a Dollar… for around $23.19, or the paperback for around $15.99, or the PDF ebook for around $8–or any or all other C&I books for 20% off–by using the coupon code GLOW, all capital letters, at checkout.

As of today, Give Us a Dollar... is stuck at 81 total sales. That includes five in May 2013 (one Kindle ebook, four various Lulu editions) and eight others in January-April 2013. I can only depend on other people for ongoing recommendations for the book’s usefulness; perhaps the lack of such apparent publicity or feedback indicates that it’s not particularly useful.

Where Things Stand

If there is a next edition–which couldn’t happen until mid-Fall, given IMLS timing–it would probably have two parts:

  • A book combining tables, graphs and discussion that focuses on public libraries overall and by borrower population size, using somewhat fewer size increments than the current edition and probably somewhat fewer levels for each measure, adding consideration of changes from 2010 to 2011, including some front matter about metrics as the bones of a library’s story that need to be fleshed out with the real stories of how it improves its community, and designed to be both a useful tool for public libraries and a useful picture of public libraries in the U.S.
  • A secondary book using similar measures but doing state-by-state views. (The second book might not happen.)

I’m still toying with the idea of a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to assure funding for this project–and, at a certain level, make the PDF edition(s) free. (I should note that the special Oregon/Washington version, still free as a PDF and possibly worthwhile as an example of what I could do for other states/regions, has been picked up 16 times to date. There were a lot more than 16 people at the session I did; that might also say something about the worth of the project. But still…)

I’ve done about 1/6th of the work toward what could be a great premium for such a campaign, if the campaign makes sense at all–an idea I’d mentioned earlier (in conjunction with a now-abandoned plan for future external measures of library social network activity), to wit:

A Library Is… (working title, subject to change), a collection of the slogans actually used by (some) public libraries. (So far, I’m finding that about 20% of the libraries checked have such slogans, once you exclude “Serving X since [date]” and “Welcome to your library” and the like. That percentage may go down–I’m starting out by checking the easy ones, libraries with web addresses in the IMLS 2010 report. I’ve checked about 1,650 libraries so far, yielding a little over 300 slogans/mottoes. I’ll probably check 3,000 or so before deciding whether to do the book.)

The book would be entirely derivative and serve only for inspiration and perhaps amusement. It would be an exclusive edition (probably PDF and paperback), available only as a premium, and not offered for sale separately. Premium levels could include PDF, paperback, signed paperback, and possibly–if I include library pictures–color paperback, signed color paperback, or even signed hardcover.

Other premiums would include the predictable–free PDF of the new edition, autographed paperback of the new edition (one or both volumes), and some of the high-dollar premiums I toyed with earlier.

Will I do the campaign? Not certain. The dropoff of interest in the book this year and the lack of any evidence of word-of-mouth marketing (or of its having any effect) is a little discouraging. My inability to reach the people who I believe this could be most useful for–heads of small libraries, Friends groups in general–is an ongoing factor. My uncertainty as to whether this really is a useful tool for librarians/Friends, and whether it’s really an innovative way of looking at public libraries, doesn’t help.

THWI continues to be a reasonable decision (“To h… with it”–or, as Sarah G. noted on Friendfeed recently,”Sometimes victory lies in deciding the battle is not worth being fought.”)

Feedback (and sales!) continue to be welcome.

 


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