10 Reasons to Vote for Gina!

The American Library Association elections are 6 days away! With that in mind, the first thing I’ll say is this – if you are an ALA member, please just vote. Most ALA members, for one reason or another, don’t actually every get around to voting. So vote already – you are paying for the privilege, after all.

With that in mind … want 10 reasons to vote for Gina? Then watch this fun video, and enjoy! Visit her blog here … oh yeah, and make sure to vote!

Vote for Gina Millsap for ALA President!

Here’s the newest video from Gina Millsap, ALA presidential candidate, talking about why she’s running for ALA president, and what she plans to focus on.

Watch the video, and please vote – voting starts in 11 days! Also, please read Gina’s Why I’m running statement on her website, and check out her growing Endorsements page (and fill out the endorsements form yourself if you plan to vote for Gina!).

You might also check out the Guide to the 2012 ALA Elections, too.

Disclosures – Yes, I’m an ALA member. Yes, Gina’s my boss (well, technically speaking, my bosses’ boss). No, she didn’t ask me to post anything to my blog, or to vote for her for that matter – she’s cool that way. I’m voting for her because I think she’d make a great ALA president. And yes, I will probably post a couple more Vote for Gina blog posts in the next couple of weeks – stay tuned!

Share posts on Facebook to Gain More Readers

sharingI’m working on a new ALA Library Technology Report (more on that later this year), and discovered something cool while checking my library’s analytics.

Want to get more people reading your library blog posts? Here’s one handy way to do it – share that post on your library’s Facebook Page. Here’s what happened when I did that with one of my library’s blog posts.

So … I have a blog on my library’s website that I started in January. It’s the Digital Branch blog (I figured I’m the Branch manager, so I should have a branch manager blog. I write about web geekish stuff related to the library’s digital branch that our customers might find interesting).

One of those blogposts has gathered more pageviews that all the other digital branch blogposts combined – a post about Pinterest. So far, Google Analytics shows 137 pageviews for that post. Not too bad! I wanted more comments (because we’re working on a pilot project for a Pinterest account), so I decided to share the post on our library’s Facebook Page.

On our Facebook Page, use Facebook Insights to drill down to an individual post (really cool that you can narrow down that far!). Here are the stats for that particular Facebook post:

  • a Reach of 969 (the number of unique people who saw the post)
  • 68 Engaged Users (the number of unique people who have clicked on your post)
  • 23 were “Talking About This” (the number of unique people who have created a story from your page post. This means they commented, shared, or Liked the post, which then creates a post on their Facebook profile for their facebook friends to see).

So of my blog post’s 137 pageviews, 68 of them, or 50%, came directly from sharing that post on our Facebook Page (Google Analytics further backs that up by showing an “Entrance” number of 70 views on that post, meaning that 70 people came directly to that post from someplace other than my library’s website – i.e., from Facebook to the blogpost).

Simple stuff – write a blogpost, then share it out using Twitter and Facebook. Ask people to comment, and they will (I received comments on the blogpost, on the Facebook post, and in Twitter). And you just might get more readers in the process.

Pic by Britta Bohlinger

Your ebook rent just went up 300%

One of my colleagues was quoted in “Librarians Feel Sticker Shock as Price for Random House Ebooks Rises as Much as 300 Percent,” an article at The Digital Shift (from the Library Journal). Here’s what Scarlett said:

“They’ve tripled their prices on every title. A book that a week ago we purchased for $28.00 now costs $84.00,” said Scarlett Fisher-Herreman, the technical services & collection development supervisor, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas, whose director, Gina Millsap, is seeking the presidency of the American Library Association. “I looked back at Random House titles we’ve purchased since December and looked up a number of titles, both new and titles they’ve had for years on Overdrive. Everything has tripled in price: kids, YA, adult, fiction, and nonfiction,” she said.

Fisher-Herreman, who had been bracing for an increase in the 50 percent range, said she found the tripling of price frustrating and surprising. For example, The 10 Easter Egg Hunters, a children’s title by Janet Schulman, was affordable at $8.99, but it now costs $26.97.

“We simply can’t afford to pay three times the price for the same titles. I will be working with my collection development team to determine how we move forward now that we know the severity of the price increase,” Fisher-Herreman said.”

Some things to think about with Random House’s recent price change:

  • Your rent just went up 300%. If you get these books through Overdrive, you pay an access fee – not a purchase price. So it’s the rent that just went up astronomically – you pay 300% more, but don’t actually own anything. That’s fair, huh?
  • Random House wants to find out how much they can gouge you before it hurts. Stuart Applebaum, a Random House spokesperson, is quoted as saying “We are going to be reviewing our terms of sales, but not our commitment to the library market … whatever we do, it’s going to be with our library partners in full awareness and understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it …” My translation = “We are going to increase the cost to see if you’ll actually pay 300%. If you do, that’d be awesome!”
  • Random House is playing an expensive guessing game with your taxpayer’s money. Here’s a quote from the Random House statement sent to LJ: “Random House, Inc. is constantly experimenting, evaluating, and adjusting different retail price points for our e-books. With our price adjustments announced March 1 we are now doing the same for our library e-pricing, albeit with far less definitive, encompassing circulation data than the sell-through information we use to determine our retail pricing for e-titles. We are requesting data that libraries can share about their patrons’ borrowing patterns that over time will better enable us to establish mutually workable pricing levels that will best serve the overall e-book ecosystem.” My translation: “We don’t know how to price ebooks to libraries. So instead of actually asking for input, we thought we’d just jack up the price outrageously high, and see what happens.”
  • Random House can’t tell the difference between different digital book formats. Another quote from Random House’s LJ statement: “As we first said last month, our new e-book pricing framework is to bring our titles in price-point symmetry with our Books on Tape audio book downloads for library lending. These long have carried a considerably higher purchase price point than our digital audio books purchased for individual consumption.” Why in the world would you price an ebook, which you read, with an audiobook, which you listen to? Apples and oranges, guys. Apples and oranges.

What’s that leave us with? A major publisher that’s charging you (and your patrons) 300% more for ebooks, because they admittedly don’t know how much they should be charging. And they are more than willing to experiment with your money and budgets to see what works … while they figure out the difference between a book they pay actors to read and an ebook.

I will guarantee more odd ebook price and format changes in the next five years – hold onto your hats!

Question – How is your library planning to deal with this? I’d  love to know!

More resources:

Gas Price Humor image from Bigstock