Showing posts from 2011

Click my link -- December 30, 2011

Fascinating list comparing the top sellers in ebook and in print from Amazon. This raises all sorts of interesting questions for libraries and reinforces what I said at the LJ ebook summit in October: your digital collection doesn't have to be a mirror of the print collection.

Great discussion about copyright. Very accessible discussion, and Patry's response to the comments are equally good.

From the Telegraph: Charles Dicken: Good on paper, great on screen

Just one of a multitude of preview 2012 lists.

NPR's bestseller list for week of December 29, 2011.

USA Today says George R.R. Martin is THE author of the year. (+1 for the obligatory Sean Bean pic)

"Swords and Sandal" novel. Enough, already, with the cute names for genre fiction. 

The Annooyed Librarian (no, not me!) comes across with some 2012 predictions. Agree? Disagree? The comments are good too.

Amazon's lending library currently has more than 66k ebooks. Still, the idea of only getting one book a…

Say what now?

So, while you were hanging stockings by the chimney with care, you may have missed the article in the New York Times setting out the "debate" between libraries and publishers regarding ebooks. We learned that  inconvenience and "friction" for patrons are good things, and if a library's borrowing circumstances don't create one of these things, they must be punished.

The article made it seem as if libraries have given up nothing in the quest to provide access to digital books, and that the publishing companies are the ones suffering under the heavy burden of selling their goods. After all, how is a company supposed to survive if they sell a book to a library at double (if not more) the cost of consumer price? Sometimes, that price is double (if not more) of the hardcover price. Publishers who allow libraries to purchase their books give up the sale of more books later. Right? I mean, isn't that what they're arguing? "'Selling one copy that co…

Click. My. Link: December 22, 2011

Simon & Schuster releases (sorta) expected ebook revenue for 2011

Are Tablets and E-readers responsible for a rebirth of reading?  (Had reading died?)

The Guardian judges the Best Legal Reads of 2011

Academic librarians get small pay bump in 2010-2011 (go librarians!)

Portland book lovers nurture neighborhood camaraderie with mini libraries  (I'm gonna need a bigger birdhouse....but so cute!)

Talking about Espresso Book Machines “Ultimately, we’re looking to change the way readers think of bookstores and libraries — that they have two sorts of inventory, one group of titles on the shelves, and a vast ‘virtual inventory’ available via the EBM and printable in five minutes,” said Turner."  Hmmmmm.  What do you think?

Tor/Forge published 30 (!) NYT Bestsellers in 2011.  (way to go!) 

Omnivoracious lists some books you may have overlooked in 2011

Happy Thursday!

The Mystery of the Light-Fingered Science Fiction Fans

I've been weeding the fiction paperbacks in my collection. Part of this includes looking for missing items so that I can get a better picture of what is actually on the shelf and what might need to be replaced. Yesterday, I generated a list of missing books for the Science Fiction and Fantasy paperbacks (a collection with 1,000 items). There were 131 books on my list, which included Claims Returned items as well as those In Transit--you'd be surprised how many items have been in transit for years, at which point they're effectively gone from the collection--as well as In Process and Missing items.

I found 30 of the missing books on the shelf where they were supposed to be, which was a relief because it means that I don't have to worry about reordering any of them, but also a cause for concern because there aren't that many books in the SF/F collection, and somehow the people pulling holds aren't finding them on the shelf. That left 101 books still missing. My p…

Click my Link: December 19th, 2011

Ebrary's report of offline & mobile access to ebooks is now available for viewing without registration. 

NPR lists the top 5 YA books of 2011.  I haven't read any, but they all look amazing. 

The Telegraph invokes my favorite subject heading to talk Christmas "cookery" books

The Telegraph also dissects the 2011 literary year.  

The Bull Spec blog starts its round up of audio SF/F for 2011

Happy Monday!

That Book Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Weeding Fiction Paperbacks

A while ago, I started a project to relieve some of the pressure on the mass market paperback shelves by identifying potential candidates for weeding. I found some surprising results, primarily having to do with what books were actually on the shelves. Here is a description of my work with the Fiction paperbacks--those items not classified Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Urban Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Nonfiction, or Western. This catch-all section includes thrillers, literary fiction, classics, Men's Adventure, "chick lit," books featuring African-American characters that aren't cataloged in either the Romance or Urban Fiction sections, and so on. Some of the big names are Dan Brown, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Fern Michaels, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, and Danielle Steel. Almost all of the Tall Premium editions that we own can be found there, making my life difficult.

I ran a report on the entire paperback collection to generate the statistics I would need (se…

Click my link: December 12, 2011

Philip Pullman thinks you shouldn't close libraries. We agree.

How long (or how much) does it take for you to judge a book? I usually use a 10% test. If I can't get into it after reading 10%, I give up. 

Great interview with Amy Tan about her first digital offering Rules for Virgins, which you can find over here at Byliner

The LA Times talks Stephen King on TV.

Who doesn't love a good flow chart? The one that started it all, The SF/Fantasy book finder flowchart. (Linked to the interactive version, but find the original here.) How about a horror or gothic novel?

Happy Monday!

Click My Link: December 8, 2011

Ebooks On Fire: Controversies Surrounding Ebooks and Libraries:

"Ubiquitous web and print ads tell individuals and libraries to “buy” ebooks. But long-term preservation and retention rights to stable content are not the norm, because many resellers and vendors don’t possess those rights from the publisher or author. Instead of true ownership, most ebook “purchases” are more like leases, and leases with few residual rights at that."

Over at Letters to a Young Librarian, a discussion of popular reading materials in the academic collection.

A Q&A with Holly Hibner (of Awful Library Books fame) about weeding and managing library collections.

You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover: How Designers are Helping to Keep the Old Format Alive

Amazon just created a $6 million fund to support Kindle Direct Publishing.

ETA: Investigating ebook publishers for price-fixing: US edition!

Click My Link: December 5, 2011

Amazon tax deals exempting them from collecting state taxes may be illegal

Holiday themed books: not just for kids!

Upheaval at the NYPL

Best Coffee Table books (or picture books for adults!) of the season.

22 Gift books for ardent readers.

Publishers warm to ebooks -- on their own terms.

Zoo City, Boneshaker, Unholy Night, and How to live safely in a science fictional universe to be adapted into movies.

ETA: Publishers "fancying up" paper books to compete with ebooks.

Happy Monday!

Click My Link: December 1, 2011

Recent articles of interest:

Baker & Taylor acquires CollectionHQ

Circulation: Measure of Library Performance or Just Another Number? Mary Kelly calls for "a comprehensive discussion of library performance standards and some metrics to match!"

OverDrive recently introduced a "Test Drive" program, which supposedly helps libraries lend ereaders in a publisher-friendly way. 
We recently had a Twitter discussion about the difficulty of categorizing the new book Mrs. Nixon. This article talks about Mrs. Nixon and others in the context of genrefusion
A non-librarian compares borrowing library ebooks to buying Kindle books at Inside Higher Ed.
Literary Seductions (Will ebooks change how we choose who to date?)

In case you need a laugh and missed it yesterday.

Whoever you're with, know what you have.

So, lately, the "ebook revolution" and librarians have reminded me of the Farm Bureau Insurance commercials making the rounds. I don't think they are regional commercials, but in case they are, here is an example:

Librarians are knocking on wood when it comes to their electronic resources. The Penguin saga is just one more example that we need a course correction in how we're approaching this issue. The problem isn't Penguin. They are a for-profit company and are acting in their own best interest. The problem isn't Overdrive. They are also a for-profit company and also acting in their own best interest. The problem is we have jumped into this marketplace without knowledge and we keep expecting other companies to take care of us. We expect Overdrive (and Penguin, and Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan, and...) to be on our side, to make sure we are protected, when that is our job. It is our job to spend the money entrusted to us by our taxpayers. It is our jo…

Hey, I was wondering.....

In catching up on patron requests this week, I realized how often some of the same questions come up over and over again. The process of filling out a request is pretty easy, but you do have to log in with your card number, fill out a form, etc, so it isn't without some effort. I wish there was a way to tell a wide range of people that some requests are unable to be filled before they go through the trouble of making the request.
That said, here are some things I am frequently asked by patrons:
Why do you have some of a series but not all?
Probably the question I am asked most often. The library collection is a not a static thing. Things go missing, get damaged, and get stolen all the time. So, the odds are good that we used to have book 2 of the series, but we don't anymore. I try to discourage people from discarding a series book if the other books in the series are circulating well, or if the author is still writing the series. Yes, most J.R. Ward fans agree that Lover Enshrin…

Weeding Window, Deaccession Drama

In an earlier post, I suggested that perhaps writing about my intention to weed some parts of the library's collection would force me into action, and I am pleased to report that it has finally done so! The good news is that I was able to weed some items that were no longer being used by my library's service population, making room for new books that I've been ordering in the normal course of collection development. The bad news is that it took me more than two hours to find fewer than 50 books that I thought might be weedable and remove some of them from the collection. Considering that I only got through a few shelves (of the hundreds that await my careful attention in the 800-830 range), this is somewhat depressing.

My goal was to evaluate and discard a manageable chunk of books. The steps were as follows:

1. Using my most recent export of statistics for the 12,000 books in that part of the collection, I created a subset of books with zero circulations in the past 10+ y…

Inca Gold

The Library Journal/School Library Journal virtual show Ebooks: the New Normal is this Wednesday. I hope lots of people plan to attend so we can continue the discussion and learn new things from each other. For once, I got my slides done early, but I still haven't quite figured out what I'm going to say about those slides...time is running out.

I'm sure, at some point during the day, that HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan will come up. I didn't mention them in my presentation, so here are my (ever-evolving) thoughts...

If the point of a for-profit company is to make a profit, holding your goods out of the marketplace is a dubious strategy. However, ultimately, that is their decision. I think libraries should stop wasting time begging companies to give them the opportunity to buy their products. Yes, it would be nice to be able to buy digital books from these companies, but my job is ultimately to fill the shelves, physical and virtual. That means spend…

Click my link: Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Kindle-Overdrive beta testing news spread across the web yesterday like wildfire.  You can read about it here or here or here

The Harris poll on E-reader use

More ebook stats?  Yes, please. 

Just ahead of Banned Books Week, which starts on Saturday,  B&N profiles a few "Classics Some People Still Love to Hate"

The National Book Festival is this weekend and if you can't make it, C-Span has got you covered.

ALA & AAP cage match to discuss ebooks.  Probably not in anactual cage..... 


So, when I started making notes for the LJ presentation next month, of course I wrote down WAY more than I have time to use in 10 minutes. I think (I hope?) I used the best stuff for the slides, but no reason why we can't discuss the same things here too, right? Of course there isn't.

I was thinking about permanence and the digital collection and how we shouldn't think of buying into this format (whatever format we might be using) as an endpoint. Who knows what might happen in the future, right? But this isn't an idea that is unique to downloadable audio/ebooks! How many cassettes (audio AND video) did we have to replace with the next format? Before cassettes, many libraries had records. There was probably some crazy library out there that circulated 8-tracks (oh please, fess up, I'm dying to know who you are!). Publishing companies would love for libraries to believe we're buying this digital format and it will last forever, but we all know that isn't like…

Collection Dilemmas: Poetry

I was denewing books in the 800s recently, which gives me the opportunity to see how books on the "New" shelf have circulated in the 10-12 months between when they're processed and when they're put in the general collection. These books are featured in a very public area and theoretically have a greater chance of being noticed by patrons and checked out. I've been aware for a while now that books of poetry, while dear to my heart, don't enjoy much popularity at my library, even though they are featured on displays (as for National Poetry Month) and given the same time as other books in the New section.

Most of the poetry collections I denewed the other day had circulated, but sometimes as little as one time. Is one circulation a victory? If a book costs a certain amount (after a library discount), and then we add the cost of paying people to process and shelve it, does one circulation make its purchase worthwhile? At what point does the balance swing in favor…

Statistics 2: Extreme Close-Up

As a follow-up to my post about statistics last week, I thought I would take a closer look at one of my nonfiction sections to demonstrate the kind of information that a report can yield. The Dewey range from 800 through 829 was my first assignment at this library; it covers American and English literature (poetry, essays, speeches, criticism, how-to, humor, drama). It's a grab-bag of exciting treasures, including Chaucer, guides to writing your first screenplay, the collected poems of Maya Angelou, collections of erotica, Dave Barry, Shakespeare, works about (but not by) Jane Austen, and Beowulf. At my library, this part of the collection includes nearly 12,000 items, and they are all under my jurisdiction. I was originally assigned collection development of this section because of my Master's degree in English literature, which at least provided me with some background in the area. Over the years, I've gotten familiar with the collection and what's popular. And, I co…

Reporting from the Front Lines

As usual, I need to weed my parts of the nonfiction collection. I could weed based on condition, which would allow me to clear a little space by pulling books off the shelf that clearly shouldn't be there because they're falling apart, or hideously ugly, or both. But what I really need is to make enough space on the shelves for the new books I've been buying over the past (cough) undisclosed period of time since I last really weeded, which means that I have to get serious. For that, I want a report.

I suspect that I care about statistics more than a lot of my colleagues. We do use statistics regularly during the course of our jobs; as reference librarians, we keep a daily record of our interactions with patrons, rather than recording stats once a month or once a year and extrapolating. Even so, I don't think many of my co-workers run reports as regularly as I do or are as familiar with the reporting software. Does this make me a stat-crazed librarian? I'm no…

Ask me anything: a few staff questions about ebooks

Here are a few staff questions sent to me via email about all things ebooks. I thought it might be interesting enough to share, although it also might be a little too insider baseball for outside our system interest. I'll know by your clicks which is correct.

Are there lots of publishers that don't publish ebook or eaudio format?

I'm not sure if there are publishers who don't publish in electronic format, but there are publishers who don't sell that format to libraries. Of the "big six" publishers (link to names and descriptions here) Macmillan and Simon & Schuster (and their imprints) are not available to libraries through Overdrive. We stopped buying Harpercollins titles when they went to the 26 circ self destruction model. Just today, I came across a book that is $26.00 in print and $78.00 (!!!) in ebook. So, just because a publisher is "willing" to sell to libraries doesn't always mean that is a good thing.

Does the cost diffe…

Tools of the (development) Trade

Good Morning, Reflectors!

I've had one or two people ask how we hear about books (and by extension, dvds, cds, etc) to add to the collection. There are a variety of ways. Here are a few:

Vendor catalogs:

Baker & Taylor Forecast: Comes out every month and covers fiction and non-fiction titles. Sometimes audio and large print as well. Divided into HC, trade pb and mass market, and then divided by category/genre. The ads are just as important as the actual listings. Every once in awhile, you might find an interesting author interview or article as well. Carries titles usually a month or so in advance of publication. Absolutely wonderful for keeping up with mass market series. Not so hot on smaller press or self published items.

Ingram Advance: I wish I could provide a link, but the majority of things linkable from their site are so old they aren't worth the trouble. BUT, they are very good at listing (and stocking) small press and/or self published titles. Wh…

Click my link: August 8th, 2011

An autopsy of ZOMBIE lit. I think I am the only one who hates them.

Kurt Vonnegut library giving away copies of Slaughterhouse Five to students in Missouri where it was recently banned.

The UK Future of the Libraries report.

Click my Link: Monday, August 1st, 2011

NPR profiles Archer Mayor and Brattleboro, Vermont.

Washington Post checks the week's political bestsellers

Want to learn about new releases? Here are 5 tools that might help. I signed up to test Wowbrary.

Macmillan pub introduces us to The Daily Reader. So far, I can access the blog from my library.....

American Bar Association on 30 books that every lawyer should read. Some were expected (One L by Turow) and others were not (Cleopatra: a life by Schiff)

PW spins a tale of 12 strange author deaths. I'm picking Aeschylus as my favorite. What about you?

Happy Monday!