IUUI 3: Followup

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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