Liblogs, library blogs, sponsorship and sales

A while back, I posted about the possibility of sponsorship as a way for me to continue (and improve) research into library blogs and liblogs, how they’re used, when they succeed, how they’re changing.

The longer version of that discussion is here (on my personal website). I haven’t updated it, and probably won’t at this point. That discussion does not mention actual dollar amounts, and includes a “Complete sponsorship” possibility that is not available, at least not in 2009. (YBP will continue exclusive sponsorship of Cites & Insights, at least for this year.)

In the interests of transparency, I’ll add a few notes that do include dollar amounts. If you know of or work for somebody for whom sponsorship would make sense–a library school, a library vendor, a consortium, whatever–please pass this along. I’d be delighted to discuss the possibilities, via email (waltcrawford at or possibly at Midwinter (you can see my current schedule in a link on the right sidebar).

1. Library Blogs

The two books–public and academic library blogs–are both based on data from March through May 2007. I believe that set of data, and the work coming out of it, could serve as the basis for some worthwhile future investigation–not only how such blogs are changing but which ones seem to succeed, possibly aided by surveys or other contacts with some of the libraries. (Sponsorship by the right agency could also involved collaborative work…and if there are potential refereed articles arising, I don’t feel any particular need to be the one with my name on those articles, as long as I’m not actually writing them.)

But that course of investigation simply isn’t interesting enough to do on my own time with no expectation of income other than a few dozen book copies (and that’s what I’ve seen to date–neither book has sold close to 100 copies, and the Academic Library one hasn’t even hit 50). Yes, money is an issue…much more so than it used to be when I was fully employed.

I believe the only way this could work is as sponsored research, to the tune of around $15,000 a year. There’s the number. It might be negotiable.

On the other hand, I think the data will start to get a little cold if I haven’t gained an understanding by, say, April 2009 or so. I’d want to do a 2008 scan, and I’d also need to adjust other possibilities that use time. So, unless I see some likelihood of sponsorship by sometime this spring, I’ll set the library blog stuff aside, apart from anecdotal stuff I can do to add to C&I.

2. Liblogs

The situation is a little different here. The book is based on March through May 2007 and March through May 2008. It’s a much better book, I think, and it’s being received more warmly (not meeting the total cone of silence, until a couple of weeks ago, that the other books did). And, well, liblogs are (to me) a lot more interesting to look at and work with than most library blogs.

So there are two possible paths leading to an ongoing study, with or without the hypothetical Walt’s Big Book of Blogs:

  • Sponsorship–and here, $10,000 might be a plausible number. (It’s probably more work than the library blogs project, but it’s more interesting work.)
  • Sales–there aren’t a lot yet (still fewer than 50 copies), but it’s a good start for the first six weeks or so. I would say that the probability of my carrying this project forward another year, without sponsorship, would be roughly based on the combined sales of The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008 (print or download) and the bound volumes of C&I, as of the end of June 2009, using the following approximate formula: P = S/6, where P is the probability (in percentage), S is total sales. In other words, if the combined sales figure is 600 copies, it’s almost certain I’d carry it forward–and if it’s more than 300, it’s a better than even chance. (All of this, of course, dependent on sponsorship, and other things going on in my life, etc., etc.)

3. Walt at Random

I’m not going to hold my breath on sponsorship offers (and I don’t think I’d be willing to move this blog to The Library World’s Worst Blogging/Comment Platform, brought to you by Reed Elsevier, unless truly serious bucks were involved).

But I’m not opposed to the possibility of sponsorship, including a bannar ad. I believe we’d be talking about something on the order of $6,000 per year. If you’re wondering, over the last 366 days, Walt at Random had just over one million sessions and just over two million pageviews.

So there it is: Dollars and all.

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