Showing posts with label library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label library. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 3

Libraries Look To Indie Authors As The Future

I love libraries. One of my favorite memories involves a library. I was as a kid, it was summer and very hot. I biked over to the library on my no-gear bike and sank into one of its absurdly comfortable, enthusiastically orange, chairs. I listened to the whir of the air conditioner and gazed in appreciation at all the books. As I drank in the stillness, for a moment it felt like a sanctuary.

I can't imagine living in a city without a library. I can't imagine there not being any more libraries! But that could happen.

Not only is library use down, but a few publishers--most notably the 'Big 6' (Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Hachette)--are making it more difficult for libraries to buy books. The following is from a librarian from a "mid-sized library system in South Carolina" who wishes to remain anonymous. He writes:
Random House tripled the cost of all their books so, for me to buy a copy of a $7.99 backlist title now costs me $23.97. To buy a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey would cost you $9.99 - that same copy costs a library $47.85. Hachette, beginning October 1, will be increasing the price of their titles by an even greater margin from early accounts. Oh, and Hachette won't sell frontlist titles to libraries at all - we can only buy backlist (and very old backlist at that). Which drew the reply from Sullivan: “Now we must ask, with friends like these...?” I couldn't have said it better myself. (E-books in Libraries: They Still Don't Get It)
What are librarians doing about this? If Librarian X is any indication, they're getting angry and finding ways of procuring affordable, quality, material: they're turning to indies. Librarian X writes:
If you don't sell us your frontlist authors, what will happen in time is that other authors will show up who will take their place ... and the odds are that these others will be self-published or publish through a smaller publisher who doesn't view libraries as enemies. Speaking personally, I don't buy e-book titles from any of the Big 6 any longer. Why bother? I can buy titles from smaller publishers and authors for less than $10 through OverDrive and, in my studies of my circulation figures on those titles, they circulate just as well as the more expensive ones. Why should I care? With my purchasing decisions, I'm buying more titles and showing a return on investment far sooner. My boss is happy and I'm more than pleased to be doing my part to twist the knife even if only a little. (E-books in Libraries: They Still Don't Get It)
This could be a marvelous opportunity for indie authors. Joe Konrath, one of the first and most well-known indie authors, has put together a proposal. He writes:
Blake and I are willing to sell our entire ebook catalog to the Harris County Public Library, and to any other libraries that are interested, under these terms:

1. Ebooks are $3.99

2. No DRM.

3. The library only needs to buy one ebook of a title, and then they can make as many copies as they need for all of their patrons and all of their branches.

4. The library owns the rights to use that ebook forever.

5. The library can use it an any format they need; mobi, epub, pdf, lit, etc. And when new formats arise, they're’re free to convert it to the new format.

In short, the library buys one copy, and never has to buy it again. (Ebooks For Libraries)
.  .  .  .
I've ... gotten lots of emails from authors who want to offer libraries the same terms.

The problem is organization. We need someone to act as a liaison between publishers and libraries to run something like this on a big scale. And I believe that person should be paid. How big a job this will be, and how much of a cut they deserve, can be discussed in the comments section. But indie authors need to come together to offer libraries their books, and dealing with 9000 different library systems would be a full time job. (E-books in Libraries: They Still Don't Get It)
If you're interested in either selling your books to libraries or in helping to organize this gargantuan undertaking, head on over to Joe's comment section.

Of course you don't need to organize to sell your books to libraries, or even to bookstores! Just approach the library and find out what their procedures are.

Whatever you decide to do, best of luck! :)

Other articles you might like:
- 3 Ways To Create Incredible Characters
- Amazon's KDP Select: The Best Long-Term Strategy?
- Save The Cat! The Importance Of Sympathetic Heroes

Photo credit: Paul Lowry

Thursday, August 9

Smashwords Puts Books In Libraries!

Smashwords puts books in libraries

Library Direct, a service that allows libraries to acquire and loan out books available from Smashwords, has the ability to put your book in front of new readers.
We have already received purchase commitments from three library systems, each of which will acquire some variation of our top 10,000 best-selling titles.  The purchase commitments approach $100,000 in total.

The first delivery is on schedule to occur next week to Douglas County Libraries in Colorado, which will purchase an opening collection drawn from the top 10,000 best-selling titles at Smashwords.  Douglas Country, under the leadership of director Jamie LaRue, has been an outspoken proponent of what is becoming known as the "Douglas County Model."  The Douglas Country Model aims to replicate for ebooks the process by which libraries have traditionally acquired print books.  The library acquires the book once, owns the book, and manages the checkout systems where they limit the checkout to one copy at a time for each title they own.  Douglas Country monitors the number of "holds" on each book (the number of people waiting to check it out), and if the hold count exceeds a certain number of patrons, the library purchases additional copies.
 .  .  .  .
Like all new Smashwords distribution channels, authors and publishers have the option to opt out of Library Direct, if they choose, from the Smashwords Channel Manager.  Later today we'll notify all 45,000 Smashwords authors and publishers of this new channel.
To read more about Library Direct, go here: New Library Direct Enables Libraries to Acquire Large Opening Collections of Smashwords Ebooks.

Further reading:
- Twylah: Turn Your Tweets Into A Blog
- 50 Shades Of Alice In Wonderland: Another Indie Success Story
- Fifty Shades of Grey - Oh My!

Thursday, May 17

An Indie Writer Shares His Experience With KDP Select

I've written a few posts about publishing on Amazon and tried to say something intelligent, or at least intelligible, about KDP Select and whether paying the price of exclusivity with Amazon for the perks of being in its lending library are worth it.  (For those who don't know, in order to enroll your book in Amazon's KDP Select program one cannot publish that book anywhere else, not even ones own website.)

Fortunately Derek Haines has shared his experience with KDP Select. He writes:
If my conclusion about KDP Select was purely based on the number of borrowed books and having the ability to give my books away, of course I would be out. But there’s just one rather strange consequence that I’ve noticed since joining. My ebook sales keep increasing each month. For the life of me I can’t really put my finger on the reason though. Perhaps it’s all because of the free books, or maybe because I’ve changed deodorant. I really don’t know. But giving Amazon exclusivity has resulted in far, far more sales for me and more than make up for the few ebooks I used to sell on other retailers each month. As well as that it’s much easier to keep track of payments from just one source.
- The Vandal
 Thanks Derek! This is the kind of information indie authors love, it's good of you to share.

By the way, Derek's blog, The Vandal, is an excellent place to get tips about writing, blogging and the entire world of writing.

Related Articles:
- Amazon's Ranking Algorithm Has Changed: what this means for indie authors
- Self Publishing on Amazon: Kindle Direct Publishing

Tuesday, April 10

Artist Lori Nix, Small Worlds

I stumbled upon this picture yesterday and it took my breath away, so I wanted to share it. Follow one of the links, above, to see more of Lori Nix's amazing work.

Monday, September 12

The book is dead. Long live the book!

Bookstores are closing.

Even though I knew this was coming it's sad. I love paper books.

When I was a child, I spent most of my spare time at the library. There was an atmosphere there, a love of learning. I wanted to take all the books home with me. I wanted to create my own library. The books weren't just books, they were ... please don't laugh! ... my friends.

When I was a bit older, and able to peer over the counter, I discovered bookstores. They became my new love. My library, wonderful as it was, didn't believe in interlibrary loans. At the bookstore they had a boggling number of books and, if they didn't have it, they could order it. I was in love.

Yesterday, I read Joe Konrath's blog post: Over. I'm a big fan of Joe's writing. I think his books are great, but my favorite are his blog posts. Pick any one at random, give a read, and you'll see what I mean. Before I read Joe's post I knew that bookstores were going to close; with the growth of ebooks it was inevitable. After I read Joe's post, and the comments folks shared, I had an overwhelming sense of loss. It wasn't going to happen one day. It was happening now.

An image popped into my mind: popcorn. I'm old school, I still make my own popcorn over the stove with a big old pot and lots of canola oil. After the oil is brought up to temperature and the popcorn kernels are dumped into the pot one or two or three kernels will pop, but those are outliers, heralds of what is to come. Suddenly, just as I'm wondering if nothing is going to happen, a wave of popping begins. Then, just as suddenly, everything is quiet. The kernels have all popped, except for a few burnt, incredibly thick-skinned ones.

In terms of bookstores closing, we're at the start of the wave. And then, just like that, they'll be gone.

The good news is that books are healthier than ever. Sure, electronic books don't have that deliciously dusty scent that some library books had. Sure, there won't be as many used book stores that look like the last scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. There will be new traditions, new loves. We're at the moment that things are changing, and that, in itself, is kinda exciting.