Friday, December 30, 2011

Library dips into emergency funds to buy ebooks

The Provo City Library is giving a $50,000 gift to its patrons.
That is the amount library staff and the city council took out of the library's emergency funds this month to purchase more than 3,000 e-books for library users to borrow digitally. Most of those books were purchased this week.
The decision is surely a sign of the times and a chess move by the library aimed at remaining relevant in a new age of books. E-book sales doubled in 2011 and are expected to jump further in upcoming days in light of this: Amazon announced this week that it sold more than 1 million Kindles per week in December. And the first thing Kindle owners want after opening their gift on Christmas morning is books to read.
The library lends e-books through Overdrive, which is a feature of the state's Pioneer Online Library. The state has made thousands of e-books available, but the selection is somewhat limited, and lines for those waiting to check out popular books can be long. Provo's decision is part of a growing trend among local libraries to supplement the state's offerings with e-copies of their own, said Craig Neilson of Utah's Pioneer Online Library.

Full article: 
Bowing to demand, Provo Library spends $50K for ebooks

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War

LAST year, Christmas was the biggest single day for e-book sales by HarperCollins. And indications are that this year’s Christmas Day total will be even higher, given the extremely strong sales of e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. Amazon announced on Dec. 15 that it had sold one million of its Kindles in each of the three previous weeks.

But we can also guess that the number of visitors to the e-book sections of public libraries’ Web sites is about to set a record, too.

And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.

The Book Beyond the Book

That sound you hear is the wrapping being torn off of millions of Kindles and iPads. When those devices are fired up and start downloading texts, it will be the greatest shift in casual reading since the mass market paperback arrived six decades ago. Will this dislocation destroy the traditional book? Will it doom the traditional independent bookstore? Will Amazon and Apple control the distribution of thought and culture in America? All these questions will be played out imminently.

The migration to e-reading is usually reported as a one-way journey: You get a device, start downloading and never look back to the old-fashioned book. You start mocking those type-filled volumes reeking of another century. Meanwhile, the defenders of the old ways are digging in their heels. I know readers who swear never to read anything electronic, saying they find the format muddy and confusing and sad.

Dennis Loy Johnson, a former academic who is the proprietor of Melville House, a small but innovative publishing firm, wants to reconcile these warring factions. Why should electronic and traditional not collaborate?

Full piece at NYT Bits Blog

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Exhibit at the Grolier Club about the Imprimerie Nationale

The font Romain du Roi or King’s Roman, commissioned by Louis XIV for the Royal printer is featured in a exibit about the printer. (Imprimerie Nationale)

There is an article about the exhibit: Types With Plenty of Character (NYT) The article includes a multimedia slideshow. Take note of slide 5 of 7 (A detail of the catalog for “Printing for Kingdom, Empire & Republic.”) to see some absolutely beautiful printing.

The exhibit is titled - Printing for Kingdom, Empire & Republic: Treasures From the Archives of the Imprimerie Nationale 

The exhibit is at the Grolier Club until February 4, 2012. I highly recommend you look at the Grolier website.

Bodleian Libraries completes Swindon move

A vast store for Oxford University's renowned Bodleian Libraries has taken delivery of its seven millionth book.

The £26m warehouse in Swindon, which covers 13 acres and has 153 miles of shelving, is now home to many of the libraries' lesser-used editions.

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - Diet and exercise books

It is time for New Year's Resolutions
Many people will be starting a new diet or exercise program on January 1. It is interesting to watch what diet/exercise books show up as the top sellers on Amazon. Some people are already buying books in preparation for the new year. Others will buy books when the new year is here. So we are going to look at what books are currently in the top books and we will check back with an update on the 1st.

#15 on Amazon
PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin' Body, and the Life You Deserve!

#35 on Amazon
Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition

#42 on Amazon
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

#81 on Amazon
The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results 

Currently there are no diet/exercise books in the top 10 at Amazon. That will definitely change on January 1. I think we will see at least 3 books in the top 10.

How Amazon is helping to sustain long-form journalism

Amazon has been taking a beating recently for what some see as its attempt to cut in on the business of independent booksellers, and for its ongoing disruption of the e-book market via its Kindle lending library and other moves. But whether the traditional publishing industry likes it or not, Amazon is also helping authors of all kinds reach readers directly — and that in turn is helping writers find outlets for long-form journalism that might never have existed, including one foreign correspondent who spoke recently about his experience publishing a Kindle Single based on a reporting trip to Libya.

Full article

Library director purchased $22,900 in gift cards for employees

A recent attempt by Live Oak Public Libraries Director Christian Kruse to bring tidings of comfort and joy in time for the holidays may have violated restrictions regarding the use of public funds, according to state officials.

On Dec. 12, Kruse purchased $22,900 worth of Target gift cards for 166 employees. The cards were paid for with library funds, according to documents obtained through an open records request.

Valued at $50, $100 and $200, the cards were a means of recognizing part-time and full-time employees after about three years of stagnant salaries and increased health care costs, Kruse said.

Full article

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Publishers still missing the point on e-book prices

When the major book publishing firms signed an agreement with Apple that allowed them to control the prices for their e-books — unlike the deal they had with Amazon, which gave the online retailer the right to cut prices if it wanted to — they probably thought they had won a major battle. But as a Wall Street Journal story points out, they are still shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to e-book prices, by keeping them artificially high in an attempt to shore up their profit margins and protect their existing print business. In the long run, that pricing model could wind up doing far more damage than the model it replaced.

Full article: Publishers still missing the point on e-book prices