Tuesday Midday Links: Post Holiday Weekend Hangover
I have a post holiday weekend hangover. I had lots of house projects to do but basically sat around and read most of the weekend. I read a really terrible erotic romance (and I use the terms “erotic romance”) loosely. A review will be forthcoming. I also went to my favorite used bookstore which is about 30 minutes away from my house but where I can buy old Harlequin Presents books for $.10 each. I spent the weekend reading about immature young women who are punished with kisses after they tell the long suffering men in their lives that they hate them. Ah, candy. What did you read / do this weekend?
In light of my post holiday hangover, I think the first link should be to this site which is now collecting facebook screencaps of people who don’t know that the Onion is NOT REAL.
Galley Cat writes up four tips for struggling indie booksellers including the use of QR codes. QR codes are these square black and white images which can be recognized, like a UPC code, and then do something. In this case, the QR code could be snapped by your phone and then initiate the purchase of a book. Sounds pretty cool. The last one is to remind customers that agency pricing means no shopping around. (I think it also means buy at the retailer that makes it easiest for you to read and purchase).
There are a couple of new publishers sprouting up. One is called Unbound and is getting a lot of mainstream press because of the authors that have signed on.
Unbound is a new way of bringing authors and readers together. We believe both deserve a greater say in which books get published. Starting now, Unbound will make that happen. No middlemen or marketers. Just authors, readers and great ideas.
Unbound is like Kickstarter wherein the authors ask for pledges from readers at varying levels. (This was first tried by Cory Doctorow with great success). Unfortunately, the main copy on the Unbound site is a bit misleading. Unbound is actually a publisher and the authors are only getting 50% “net profit” (this information is found in the “company” link at the bottom of the page), not 100% of the amount being pledged or even 50%. Samhain, for example, doesn’t pay an advance but does pay 40% off the cover.
So in essence, the reader is being asked to fund the advance and once the appropriate level of pledging is hit, the publishing house will use that money to publish the book. I’m not a fan that Unbound seems to hide the fact that this is a publishing house that pays authors 50% off the net and takes no risk at all, given that a book doesn’t get published until the readers pony up the advance.
The second one is Ten Pages Press. TenPages allows you to submit the first ten pages of your work and this is then distributed freely. Shareholders can buy in at 5 pounds. Once the shareholder level hits 2000, TenPages “acquires” the book and publishes it.
Rick Andersen at Scholary Kitchen posts an article about patron driven acquisitions at libraries. I have never heard of this before and I find it kind of fascinating.
PDA is built on a deceptively simple premise: in a largely digital information environment, it’s increasingly possible to let library users find and identify desired documents prior to the library’s purchase of them, and for the library to pay only for what its patrons find and actually use. When a patron’s use of an ebook or journal article passes a certain agreed-upon threshold (a certain number of ebook pages read, for example, or the download of a complete article) the library is charged, the document acquired, and the patron never knows that the document was not part of the “collection” to begin with.
There are downsides to this if PDA is the sole way a library builds its collection.
Re: patron driven acquisitions. It’s been a long practice at NYPL that people could request books for the library to buy. Or to restock titles that have been stolen to oblivion. This is an interesting twist on that. But I wonder if, say, a library wound up listing everything OverDrive offers in ePub, they’d run the risk of going way over budget or disappointing people when they’ve hit their budget threshold.
The closest thing my library has to patron-driven acquisition is our request form, which, if someone actually finds it and goes to the effort of filling it out, pretty much guarantees we’ll buy the book (by which I mean “print book”). If we ever start buying downloadable e-books (we have tens of thousands of e-books, none of which are downloadable – in the messed up world of academic libraries, this is considered perfectly okay), we might try patron-driven acquisition there. I’ve been told that we would be allowed to set a price point that the vendor could not go over. Once patron requests maxed out the designated amount of money, no more books would be bought as part of patron-driven acquisition until we allocated more money. At least, that’s how I think they told us it would work – I don’t work in Acquisitions, so I was paying more attention to how we’d provide access to the books once we bought them.
As for what I did during the long weekend, I bought oodles of e-books from All Romance, which involved reading an even greater number of reviews and experts to whittle my original list of “ooh, this looks potentially good” down to something I could actually afford. I made my first e-book buying mistake and bought one book that was not available in a format that would look good on my reader and one book in a format that could not be read on my reader at all. I learned that I can turn a .lit file into a lovely EPUB file, and I learned that an html file is kind of a pain to turn into lovely EPUB file (or such was my experience).
I’m currently reading Dreamlands by Felicitas Ivey (it has cross-dressing, something I love in manga and have never encountered before in a main character of a romance novel, or even just a novel with a strong romantic subplot) – as I near the end of it, I’m becoming more and more aware of how much better it could have been, but I’m still looking forward to the next book. Either Courtney Milan’s Unlocked or something by Josh Lanyon will be my next read. I’ve never read either author before, but that’s been a common thread in most of my e-reader reading – it’ll be nice when I finally build of a list of authors I know I like, but the current feeling of venturing into completely new territory is fun, too.
Re: Library PDA’s
My mother’s library is great. That being said, I sent my mother notification of C.S. Harris’ book “When Maidens Mourn: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery” that will be published next March. They asked her to wait until 6 months before publication to submit her hold request. 9 months was a little too early for them.
My library is too small to get the book, so I will be getting my own copy.
I think it would be great if the QR codes came on individual cards that were autographed by the author. It would be great to be able to do a framed display of author autographs. You could even do special editions. Got to collect them all.
My city library system was recently absorbed by the larger, less cash-strapped county library system. They processed their new books much more efficiently in the smaller, city-only library system. For instance,if I requested a book pre-publication, it would be on the holds shelf at my local branch within days of the release. They even offered the service of reserving an item that you suggested for purchase.
While you can request a title in the county system, they don’t offer to reserve the book for you or even give you any kind of feedback. What’s worse, it now takes weeks or even months for a book to be entered in the system though they give precedence to extremely popular titles. That’s one of the many reasons I’m glad that they’re expanding the selection of ebooks. I would definitely go for a PDA program for ebook titles, though I’d point out that librarians still play an important role in acquisitions.
A long weekend and 10 cent vintage HPs, you could OD at that price. My local used bookstore has only a thin selection of the newer ones and there just isn’t enough punishment going on to qualify them as a CDS.
The Onion isn’t real!? And I suppose Zombie Preparedness Week isn’t real either. I started on Connie Brockway’s McClairen Isle trilogy over the weekend and I know the Earl of Carr was real. The history books are covering it up, what with the murdering three wives and all.
Do they have any old Harlequin Romance? I read a Joyce Dingwell recently that was quite good – The Man from the Valley, cover price 50 cents. Librarian heroine moves to Australia after a bad relationship, gets a job driving a book mobile, falls for the local timber king, and puts her job on the line to tutor an illiterate boy.
@Suzy K #3 — that library’s response was most likely because most of the vendors that libraries buy from automatically cancel orders that are unfulfilled after 6 months.
This is good because it keeps public libraries (most of which operate on an annual budget appropriation from tax monies) from having their budget completely screwed up by unfilled purchase orders.
Although the PDA is lovely in theory, I know plenty of my library patrons would “game” the system to make sure that our entire budget cap for e-books was spent on their (idiosyncratic) favorites before anyone else got a crack at it.