Archive for the ‘C&I Books’ Category

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.

 

The strongest correlation between circulation and spending

Tuesday, 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

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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.

Liblogging books now out of print

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

As promised in Cites & Insights 13:10 (October 2013), since there have been no sales for either book in all of 2013, The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009 and But Still They Blog have now been deleted. These books are no longer available.

Cites & Insights Annuals: A new page

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Since early 2008, I’ve been producing annual paperback volumes of Cites & Insights through Lulu. I went back and prepared a volume for 2006, so there are now seven such volumes, volumes 6 through 12 for 2006 through 2012.

To some extent, I do these volumes because I want to have each volume readily available, and determined that it costs just about the same to produce a volume through Lulu, even if nobody else purchases it, as it does to print all the issues and get it Velobound at the nearest Fedex Kinko’s–and the results are far superior. In 2001 and 2002, I was able to get taped-spine bindings, but they stopped offering those. I continue to toy with the idea of preparing Lulu versions of Volumes 1-5, although there are feasibility problems.

The bound volumes have several nice features:

  • They include volume indexes (only available in the printed volumes) and, except for 2006-2008, overall tables of contents.
  • A couple other items are uniquely available in the printed volumes–an introduction in one year, the phantom Cites on a Plane issue [only available online for 14 days] in another.
  • Most volumes have wraparound covers consisting of large versions of my wife’s travel photographs with type overlaid. (One volume has front and back photos; one, the year C&I almost disappeared, has a front photo and an admittedly nearly unreadable spine.) Heck, if you don’t want the book, for $23 to $27 you get an 11″ x 18″ (or thereabouts–the width varies) full-color photo you could rip off the body of the book and frame. Or not. (I happen to think the pictures are terrific, perhaps especially 2006, 2009 and 2012.)

For a while, I was regarding these volumes as an actual C&I support mechanism, pricing them at $50.

Now, they’re priced comparably to other C&I books–designed so that each sale yields around $8 net revenue. Prices range from $22.99 (for Volume 11, the slenderest of the lot) to $26.99 (for Volume 9, the fattest).

I’ve never pushed these volumes, but they’re actually pretty nice. A few copies have sold, maybe a dozen in all (not a dozen per volume!).

They also cluttered up the C&I Books footer here, on the Cites & Insights home page and on my personal website.

I’ve fixed that–and offered some highlights from each volume.

There’s now a single link on the C&I Books footer that takes you to Cites & Insights Annuals.

That page has, for each volume, the number of pages (including indexes and front matter), price, link to the book’s page at Lulu, and a bullet list of a few highlights from the volume (mostly longer essays).

Oh, and one more thing: A 300-pixel-high copy of the entire wraparound cover (again, except for 2007 and 2011). These small versions can only hint at the actual spectacular covers (which are 3,300 pixels high–although the 300-pixel versions include a tiny bit at the top and bottom that’s trimmed off the actual covers).

Take a look. You might find one or two of them worthwhile–or, for a library serving a library school or with a focus on the semi-gray literature, maybe the whole set. If there’s specific demand and promise to purchase, I’d consider doing hardcover versions (which would inherently cost $10 more), preparing volumes 1-5 (if that turns out to be feasible) and maybe fixing the spine of Volume 11 (which is currently just a little hard to read).

 

 

Self-publishing Reality Check 3

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

It’s been a week since the last post in this series. (Actually, it’s been 8 days: Somehow, the previous post was updated rather than having a new post.)

There has been at least one sale at my Lulu bookstore—but it was Anna Julia Young–Autobiography, one of my wife’s projects. And if you’re interested in Livermore or East Bay local history, you might find it interesting. As for my books: not so much.

Since the existence of $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets vol. 2: Libraries by State depends in part on sales of volume 1 and of Your Library Is…, and since the possibility of doing Mostly Numbers or any future project that could conceivably be sold to a traditional publisher as a self-pub to do it faster and make it cheaper depends on it being plausible to do self-pub books, it seems reasonable to track what’s new out there.

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

2

1

8/29-9/3
9/3-9/10
9/10-9/18
Total

2

1

(The second date is “through around 2 p.m.” and the first date on the next row starts right after that.)

These are, to be sure, still early days. I’ll keep saying that for a while… although it’s getting harder.

Next update no earlier than 8/26, a month after the three new books were published, and I may try to make it every other week, as it’s starting to get pretty discouraging to admit how things are going on a weekly basis.

The most complete story, 2010: Compleat Give Us…, an FAQ

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

What is it?

All of the tables from Chapters 1-19 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, plus all of the graphs in Chapters 1-19 of Graphing Public Library Benefits and all of the commentary from the November 2012 Cites & Insights, all integrated into a very complete look at public library benefits and funding, by size of library, in FY2010. It’s all combined into a 361-page 8.5″ x 11″ PDF ebook (no DRM) for a mere $9.99.

Who should find this worthwhile?

Libraries serving library schools, for one.

Some larger public libraries.

State library associations.

Some library consultants.

Librarians who want a fairly detailed understanding of the situation.

How is it available?

The standard PDF ebook costs $9.99 from Lulu.

A site-licensed version (with explicit permission to mount it on a server with multiple simultaneous access/download/reading) is $39.99 from Lulu.

It is not available in print, because many of the graphs are 10-color graphs that would require color printing throughout; as a result, a paperback version would have to be priced at more than $85 (more than $75 even if I didn’t want a modest return). That seems ridiculous. (If you don’t care about the 10-color graphs and do want a print version, you should buy The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar for $26.99 paperback. It leaves out those graphs, but it does include Libraries by State, Chapter 20.)

Will the book get cheaper over time?

No, but it will disappear when there are no sales.

Will it be replaced with a newer version?

No. The “newer version” already exists ($4 to $1…), but it doesn’t replace this because it discusses fewer measures and breaks libraries down into fewer groups in order to attain a reasonable length.

What public libraries say about themselves: Your Library Is…, an FAQ

Monday, September 16th, 2013

li432What a library says about itself may say much about the aspirations and community sense of the library. This book collects those sayings, as sources of revelation and inspiration–about public libraries and for public libraries and the communities they serve.

What is it?

A collection of public library sayings–mottoes and slogans on the home pages of public library websites from around the U.S.

Your Library Is… A Collection of Public Library Sayings is a 157 page (plus vi pages) 6″ x 9″ paperback consisting of a four-page introduction and the slogans and mottoes, arranged by state and by library (system) within state.

I checked the websites of as many of the 9,200+ U.S. public library websites (in the IMLS FY2011 database) as I could find. After omitting some categories of sayings, I wound up with 1,137 apparently-unique mottoes and slogans and another 88 mottoes and slogans shared by a total of 205 libraries.

Who should find this worthwhile?

Nobody needs this book.

Who might want it?

Librarians (and non-librarians) who may find the range of mottoes and slogans inspirational and revealing.

Libraries that don’t have sayings (most don’t, and that’s fine) and might be considering using one…or, for that matter, libraries that do have sayings but don’t show them on their homepages.

Libraries serving library schools, again for inspiration and revelation.

How is it available?

The paperback version costs $16.99 plus shipping from Lulu. As with (nearly) all Cites & Insights Books, it’s nicely designed and printed on 60lb. cream stock, classic “library quality paper.”

The ebook version–a PDF with no DRM and 6″ x 9″ pages that should display beautifully on most ereaders and tablets–costs $8.99. No shipping. It is identical to the body of the paperback.

You can also acquire a deluxe version of the PDF ebook (adding the book covers as first and last pages) by donating $50 or more to Cites & Insights and requesting the book when I thank you for your donation.

Will the book get cheaper over time?

No. I’ve already priced the ebook lower than most C&I books.

It will disappear over time if there aren’t enough sales to keep it active.

Will it be replaced by a newer version?

Highly unlikely. It was fun to scan the 9,000+ websites and record the sayings once. I doubt that they’ll change or grow all that rapidly, and it would be a lot less fun to do it again.

Can I get a sample?

The first saying is “Generations of Readers.” The last is “Dynamic Gateways for Lifelong Learning”

A considerably longer sample is available on pages 6-15 of the (online version of the) October 2013 Cites & Insights.

Tell me a little more…

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

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

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

Methodology

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

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

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

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

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

Exclusions

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

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

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

I do not claim perfection or consistency. A few of the sayings here 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.

One other category of exclusion

The text above comes from the introduction. Thinking about it, there’s another category of exclusion that may include hundreds of libraries: Cases where the library page appears as part of the city or county website, especially as a portion of a master page, and a city or county slogan or motto appears (and not a separate library one).