Archive for August, 2013

Weeding the bookstore: Details on C&I Books

Friday, August 30th, 2013

In a couple of recent posts I’ve talked about the likelihood that some Cites & Insights Books would go away if there wasn’t some sign of sales activity. This post (a version of which will appear in the October 2013 Cites & Insights) provides the details on what I’m planning. In most cases, I suspect the appropriate response will be “didn’t that disappear long ago?”–but if there are people or libraries who want to complete their collection, this post should be useful and, I hope, timely.

Why weed? After all, it’s a virtual bookstore–there’s no limit to how many books I can have available for sale. Because it’s clumsy to track a large number of editions, all the more so since Lulu started listing ebook and print editions entirely separately, rather than clustering them into a single page.

Books that will probably disappear when I turn 68 (mid-September 2013) or thereabouts

While this book didn’t appear until April 2013, it was always intended to be a limited run. I see that three people or libraries took advantage of my earlier notice and downloaded the free ebook. The hardcover is pretty nice–it’s relatively expensive because it has color printing and it’s a hardcover–but a luxury. Both will disappear in the second half of September 2013–unless I start seeing sales. If I do see sales (of the hardcover), they’ll stick around as long as there’s at least one sale a month. I regard this as unlikely.

Books that could disappear as early as October 1, 2013

None of these have any 2013 sales. If there are sales of either pair between now and September 30, 2013, I’ll keep that pair (paperback and ebook) around for as long as there’s at least one sale every two months. If not, they’re gone. (I think these are the “Are those moldy oldies still available?” category. The reason they’re both available is because But Still They Blog offers more detail on individual liblogs, albeit on a much smaller set of liblogs.)

Books that could disappear as early as November 1, 2013

I’ve been tracking both C&I readers together. There were July sales for all of these but the last two (yes, including Balanced Libraries), so I’ll start the “at least one sale every two months” with the September-October period.

I plan to leave the free PDF ebook version of Open Access and Libraries available until ALA Editions tells me that Open Access: What You Need to Know Now is out of print or until I replace it (if I do!) with an updated version, whichever comes first.

While The Compleat… is almost brand new, it’s entirely duplicative of the last part of The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, so unless there’s early indication of interest, I’ll just dump it. I think the print form is a better way to do state-to-state comparisons anyway.

No current plans to terminate

I’m keeping the C&I annuals around, at least for the moment–despite disappointing sales, they’re great ways to go back to earlier C&I issues (and they include annual indexes).

The Big Deal and the Damage Done (available as $9.99 PDF ebook, $16.50 paperback or $40.00 PDF campus license edition) will continue to be available until an updated publication is ready or as long as it continues to sell, whichever comes last. The updated publication, including 2012 data, will probably be shorter and will definitely be published by a professional publisher–either more expensive for some libraries or “free” for others (as in, you’ve already paid for it). It should appear in the late spring/early summer of 2014. More details when that time approaches.

These books just came out, and I’ll keep them available as long as there’s some interest, which typically means I won’t even think about deleting them for 18 months to two years:


Thanks again–and a status report

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
I just sent this to those who contributed to the $4 to $1 campaign. It’s a good summary of where things stand and my suggestions for those who would find this stuff useful, so I’m just repeating it here:
Thanks again for your contribution to $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (and related books).

As you no doubt know by now, the campaign failed, and your contribution has been returned.

I can think of several possible reasons for the failure (books to help libraries improve budgets aren’t as sexy as hot new devices or as intriguing as other possibilities, I don’t have a wide enough social network, I didn’t pound pound pound on it enough…whatever), but see little point in attempting to analyze the failure. It could have been worse–the final figure was just over $500, or just over 20% of the goal.

Since you have some interest in this project, here’s some suggestions for what you can do now:

1. $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, Volume 1, Libraries by Size is now available. It’s a 213-page 6″ x  9″ book. The link here will take you to the paperback (which is priced at $24.95, since it will–eventually–be available on Amazon, but it’s discounted 20% at Lulu, making the price $19.95). It even has an ISBN: 978-1-304-35588-1. It’s also available as a $9.99 PDF ebook or a site license edition PDF ebook for $39.99, the latter explicitly allowing multiple simultaneous usage and downloads within a library school (including distance students), single-state library consortium, state library association, college, university or other similar situation. I think the book came out very well. You can read more about it at Walt at Random, and the draft version of Chapter 3 is still available as most of the September 2013 Cites & Insights. (That link brings up the single-column PDF version; the chapter begins on Page 7.)

2. If you’re buying $4 to $1 for a library school or a library or as a consultant, and especially if you’re buying it in print, I’d also suggest The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four, a $26.99 433-page 8.5″ x 11″ paperback that provides the most complete discussion I know of regarding 2010 public library benefits and budgets ($4 to $1 uses 2011 data and changes from 2009; it uses fewer measures and simplified benchmarks). It combines tables, graphs and discussion–and it’s inCompleat only because it lacks multicolor line graphs for some measures. The Lulu book page includes a preview that should give you a good sense of what the book is like.

3. Your Library Is… : A Collection of Public Library Sayings just came out yesterday (the working title was A Library Is…). It came out much better than I expected. The link takes you to the 163-page 6 x 9″ $16.99 paperback; an $8.99 PDF ebook is also available–but I recommend the print book, given that this is the kind of book you want to read a few pages of, bookmark, then come back to every day or two. The book includes 1,137 unique mottoes and slogans as well as 88 mottoes and slogans shared by 205 public libraries. Some sayings are humorous; some are profound; some may be inspiring. By the way, you can also get a special deluxe PDF ebook (what makes it deluxe? it wraps the front and back book cover images at the front and back of the ebook) for free–by contributing at least $50 to Cites & Insights and requesting a copy when I thank you for your contribution. (Or, for that matter, you can contribute at least $100 and, on request, I’ll send you an autographed paperback copy–but that will take a few weeks!) The Lulu book pages (either link) include a preview that should give you a good sense of what the book is like.

4. What about Volume 2, Libraries by State? I believe it would be a fascinating set of comparisons, but it’s not directly useful for individual library purposes. I’ve prepared the matrix and set of measures to be included (dropping two of the measures from Libraries by Size to save space), and I plan to prepare the draft version of the first two states and introductory material, to appear in the October 2013 Cites & Insights, probably out next week. Volume 2 will appear if there are enough sales of Volume 1–at least 50 and possibly 100 before I prepare the rest of the book and publish it.

5. One last thing. The final offer for the $2,500 goal, which would have returned $2,400 to me, was that I’d make the PDF version of Volume 1 entirely free. I’ll restate that offer in terms of sales: When (or if) sales of Volume 1 total $2,400 in net revenue (which would only take about 80 site-license copies or about 300 individual copies), I’ll reset the PDF price to $0. The same goes for Your Library Is…: If it ever reaches $2,400 in net sales, I’ll make it free. (“Sales” through donations to C&I will count as $8 each toward that goal.)

That’s more than enough! This letter will also appear as a post at Walt at Random. As you’ve probably already guessed, your email addresses are blind copies, since some of you preferred anonymity.

Thanks again,
Walt Crawford

Your Library Is… : A Collection of Public Library Sayings

Monday, August 26th, 2013

It begins with Generations of Readers.

It ends with Dynamic Gateways for Lifelong Learning.

In between, you’ll find humor, sage advice (“Reading is good. Thinking is better.”), philosophy and more. And a moose. In all, 1,137 unique mottoes and slogans, plus another 88 mottoes and slogans shared by 205 public libraries.

I’m delighted to announce that the less serious side of the $4 to $1 project is now complete and available for sale:


The 163-page 6″ x 9″ paperback (vi+157 p.) is $16.99.

The non-DRM PDF ebook (also vi+157 p. of 6″ x 9″ images and it does include bookmarks for subheadings and each state) is $8.99.

I think you’ll find it interesting. I believe you’ll find it amusing. You might even find it inspiring at times–I know I did.

It’s a book best read a few pages at a time–maybe one state (although some states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and–especially–New York should probably be split over two sittings).

Since the crowdfunding project failed, I am offering the book for sale.

You can also get a special deluxe PDF edition (with front and back covers added) by contributing at least $50 to Cites & Insights and requesting a copy. (For that matter, contribute at least $100 to Cites & Insights and I’ll ask whether you want an autographed paperback copy–but that will take a few weeks.)

This book was fun to do (given that I spread out the “research” over more than three months, looking at 20 libraries at a time, typically 4 or 5 times a day). I think you’ll enjoy the results.

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets–Now available

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets (volume 1: Libraries by Size) is now published and available for purchase in one of three ways:

  • The paperback book is 213 6″ x9″ pages (viii+205). Regular price is $24.95; it’s currently discounted (on Lulu only) to $19.96. There’s even an ISBN for you traditionalists: 978-1-304-35588-1. The book may be available via Amazon (and possibly elsewhere) at some point; I’d much prefer that you buy it directly from Lulu! (Even at the discounted price, I get considerably more revenue.) Here’s the cover:


  • The regular PDF ebook sells for $9.99. No DRM. Exactly the same interior content as the paperback (except that there’s no ISBN on the copyright page, and this version doesn’t have an ISBN)–and the line graphs (which are fully legible b&w in the paperback) are in color.
  • The site license edition PDF ebook sells for $39.99. It differs from the regular ebook in that it has a paragraph on the copyright page explicitly allowing any single-state organization to mount it on a server that allows simultaneous multiple downloads, including use by distance learners in any state. If you want to use the book for a library school course, for a single-state consortium, for a state library association, whatever–this is your ethical, legal course.

It may be a day or three before the Cites & Insights Books footer on this page is updated to include $4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets, but it’s available now. (To some extent, whether Volume 2, Libraries by State, is ever published will depend on sales of Volume 1.)

 By the way…

If you actually buy the paperback version, you’ll see that the composite images on the top and bottom of the cover run all the way around the cover–and the remainder of the back cover is made up of another composite image. All elements in these composites are taken from public library websites and Facebook pages, from all 50 states. There’s actually an order to most (not quite all) of the images in the top & bottom strips…and the same order, but in reverse, to the remainder of the back cover.

The first person to tell me what that order is will receive a free ebook of my choosing as a PDF.



Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Just for the record: I’ve deleted a number of recent posts about Lulu discounts and milestones–or lack thereof–on the failed $4 to $1 crowdsourcing project. This is in part because one or two of the latter seem to have become honeypots for annoying spamments, the ones that get by my filters, show up as comments and have to be dealt with.


I don’t believe any substantive posts have been deleted.

Mystery Collection Disc 38

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

The Boxer (orig. Un uomo dalla pelle dura or “A man with a thick skin”), 1972, color. Franco Prosperi (dir.), Robert Blake, Catherine Spaak, Ernest Borgnine, Gabriele Ferzetti, Orazio Orlando. 1:13.

Let’s see if I can get the plot straight. Teddy “Cherokee” Wilcox (Robert Blake), a boxer after a stint in prison and in Vietnam, decides his manager’s holding out on him, takes the manager’s entire wad ($800) and goes somewhere else—where, as he’s being ignored by a diner waiter and making a scene, an old buddy runs into him, says he’s in the money (he’s an assistant newspaper editor/sportswriter) and takes him home.

After a while, Wilcox says he needs to make some money, so the buddy introduces him to a manager/trainer who’s not in it for the money, supposedly. We then get to The Fight, in which the manager’s called with a threat that if he doesn’t throw the fight, he’ll be killed—and the manager tries to throw it by dosing Wilcox with something that partly blinds him. But he catches on, rinses out his eyes, and wins the fight, and of course says he’s gonna kill that manager… Who then calls him, says he needs to talk, Wilcox goes over…and winds up on the floor next to the dead manager. Running out (as the cops arrive), he collides with the beautiful estranged daughter of the manager.

That’s just the start. Police Captain Perkins (Ernest Borgnine) grows increasingly exasperated as the daughter perjures herself by identifying a cop in the lineup, the buddy perjures himself with a phony alibi for Wilcox, and the body count keeps growing—the ex-manager, two TV station (I guess) guys trying to work with the fight video and audio, maybe some others? Oh, and a little random footage of a pseudo-hippie at the fight can be lip-read by a deaf professor making the whole scene a little clearer: Big Money’s involved and the hippie “balances the books.” All of which is sort of resolved in the last few minutes with another two or three murders, the police miraculously saving the day and a fadeout with promise of romance between the daughter and Wilcox.

Lots of plot, but not much of a picture. It’s just plain dull. Some of it almost seemed random; some seemed slow and pointless. I guess Borgnine would take any paying job, and the same must have been true for Blake at the time. (I just learned from IMDB that Blake started out in the Our Gang comedies. Now it all makes sense…) R-rated, I guess for all the killings (there’s less than a minute missing so it can’t be sex that was trimmed from the American release). The print’s OK, and on that basis I can maybe come up with a generous $0.75.

Cat O’ Nine Tails (orig. Il gatto a nove code), 1971, color. Dario Argento (dir. & story), James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak. 1:55 (1:52).

It’s Italian—with two known Hollywood actors and one of Europe’s best actresses for this sort of thing, Ms. Spaak. It has lots’o’plot mostly involving a genetics research company and some sort of idea that we could solve violence by testing all children for the “XYY” deviation that’s linked to murderous rage and “separating them” (a euphemism for eugenics? separate them for life? to Italy’s version of Australia?). The “cat o’ nine tails” refers to nine threads in the mystery, I guess.

And it’s all a bit much. Karl Malden is one lead as a blind former journalist (the sleeve says police detective) living with his sub-teen niece; James Franciscus another, a journalist who gets involved in whatever this story really is. Spaak is the mysterious daughter (well, not really…) of the head of the research firm who’s always showing lots of leg and a fair amount of breast, who pretty much demands sex of Franciscus (always happy to oblige) and who continues to be mysterious to the end, even after Franciscus puts 2 and 2 together and gets 7. Four murders (two of them shown in loving detail as people are garroted slowly), child kidnapping, industrial espionage (maybe), gay bars…and lots more. Oh yes: also car racing and a humorously incompetent thief they call The Loser.

I never did quite know what to make of this. Maybe it makes more sense in Italian. But it’s stylish in its own way. I’ll give it a slightly-better-than-mediocre $1.25.

The Woman Hunter, 1972, color (made for TV). Bernard L. Kowalski (dir.) Barbara Eden, Robert Vaughn, Stuart Whitman. 1:14 [1:10]

Ah, there’s nothing like a plot twist—unless it’s one, three minutes before the end of a movie, that makes you go “Give me a break!” Which is the case with this movie. You have Barbara Eden as the wealthy woman who’s apparently accidentally killed someone with her runaway car, now recovered from the hospital and on her way to Acapulco (I guess) to relax. Robert Vaughn as her husband, a go-getting developer who wants to develop a resort—with her money, natch. And Stuart Whitman as an apparent stalker who, well, stalks her throughout and seems likely to be the jewel thief who murdered somebody else at a party (before the titles). (Larry Storch is in the movie for the first five minutes, telling really awful jokes at a party as a woman’s being killed outside. The best I can say for Storch is that he was not in the rest of the movie.)

And then there’s the twist. And, you know, it doesn’t work. Sorry. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth; it just undermined what was otherwise a mediocre little star vehicle, appropriate as a TV movie. (There’s also a magic tape recorder—a pocket unit that, somehow, when you push the Play button goes back to play from the start of the last recording session all by itself. Isn’t that convenient?) At best, for a good cast and scenic filming—well, and for Barbara Eden really doing a pretty good job—I could maybe cough up $1.00.

Escape from Sobibor, 1987, color (made for TV). Jack Gold (dir.), Alan Arkin, Joanna Pacula, Rutger Hauwer, Hartmut Becker, Jack Shepherd. 2:23 (1:59)

While I’m not quite sure this counts as a mystery, it’s quite a movie—apparently based on the true story of the one and only time workers in a Nazi death camp managed a mass escape. Alan Arkin is the key man fomenting an escape for perhaps 10 or 20 people—and rethinking that after seeing two people escape, 13 others try and 26 in all shot because of the attempt. Rutger Hauer arrives halfway through the film as leader of a captured Russian outfit—and between the two of them, they conclude that the only way for anybody to escape is for everybody to escape.

I’m not sure it’s a great movie, but it’s close. I’m also not sure what more to say about it. I’m a little surprised it’s a TV movie; the production values seem movie-worthy, the acting’s good, and it’s just under two hours, long for a TV movie. (Apparently the original was even longer!) Good print, and I’m giving it a full $2.00

$4 to $1 and related: Progress report

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Here’s where things stand:

$4 to $1: Public Library Benefits and Budgets: Volume 1, Libraries by Size

  • The text is complete.
  • If the crowdsourcing campaign had succeeded, I would send out the PDFs (as links) to donors today.
  • Source material for the cover has been gathered.
  • The cover should be ready this week or next, at which point the three versions (single-user PDF, site license PDF, paperback) will be published and publicized here.

If you’re wondering: If you’ve seen the cover for the Oregon/Washington edition of Give Us a Dollar..., you have a pretty good idea how the cover for $4 to $1–and a new, proper cover for The inCompleat Give Us a Dollar…–will look.

Your Library Is…

  • 120 libraries left to go in the scan (out of 9,200+). I should finish that tomorrow or Thursday.
  • Turning that scan into a book will either be fast and easy (if my current assumptions are correct) or fairly slow (if they’re not). In the former case, the book should be ready next week–sans cover. In the latter case…
  • Best guess: First or second week of September for completion including cover.
  • I continue to believe this will be a great not-so-little source of inspiration for libraries and librarians: not my affirmations (that’s not going to happen!) but a range of interesting sayings, slogans and mottoes by hundreds of public libraries. Some people (especially those who dislike any form of sentimentality or warmth regarding public libraries) will absolutely hate it, but then they probably won’t buy it anyway.

$4 to $1 Volume 2: Libraries by State

  • I plan to prepare the table templates, then prepare the first two or three states in draft form.
  • That draft, along with lots of publicity and some excerpts from the two above, will appear in the October Cites & Insights, possibly along with some other material.
  • Then we’ll see how things progress. If the first volume sells well, the second volume will probably appear. (Let’s say two copies per state…) If not, probably not.

Cites & Insights

  • I don’t anticipate any big issues for the rest of 2013. I do anticipate that there will be at least two and probably three more issues, all of them reasonably slender. But things can and do change…

Existing Books

  • Some existing C&I books will either be discontinued or placed on a “sales watch”–to be discontinued if there aren’t at least nominal sales.
  • Notably, the Oregon/Washington special volume will almost certainly disappear by mid-September.







Monday, August 19th, 2013

Maybe that’s all I need to say. The $4 to $1 campaign failed. Big time.

Thanks to the 18 folks who supported it. (I thanked each one by email when the pledge came in. I may do another email round later.)

I might do a post mortem later on. I might not. It’s a Monday sort of Monday.

On a completely different topic:

What the *B(#^ is it about infographics that causes people to take “facts” seriously even when there are no sources given and the “facts” are wildly improbable? There’s an “awful facts about reading” infographic making the rounds that has no sources, includes wildly improbable “facts” that are refuted by, well, every other survey that’s been done–and turn out to be based on a ten-year-old statement from some group I’ve never heard of that, itself, doesn’t really provide sources. But hey, it’s an infographic: It Must Be Taken Seriously. Arggh…

Or does this mean that I should scrap $4 to $1 and turn it into a series of, what, 400 infographics, so that it’s taken seriously?

Go read this.

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Dorothea Salo has a new article out in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication.

You should read it, especially if:

  • You care about open access
  • You care about scholarly communication in academic institutions
  • You would like to see a healthy future for scholarly communication and for scholars, including independent scholars
  • [This bullet removed as, well, a spoiler for those who don’t read thoughtfully.]

The title: “How to Scuttle a Scholarly Communication Initiative.”

The remarkable thing about this article is that it appears to have been used as a blueprint by any number of institutions before it was published.

One consequence of Salo’s article: My planned article-in-installments, “How not to be the expert,” a series of autobiographical musings, may be postponed indefinitely. Once you’ve seen a master at work, it’s easy to recognize one’s own limitations. But that’s me. For you: Go read it. Now.



The Compleat Give Us a Dollar…ready now

Thursday, 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.