Tag: Libraries

War of the Word

ebooks on deviceLibraries are in the midst of their own version of the War of the Roses as they try to adapt to their patrons needs and juggle print and digital resources. It is a costly and time consuming endeavor but one whose importance shouldn’t be understated.

On one side is the trusted book. Our minds are imprinted with the book from our earliest stages of learning, remember, “A is for apple, B is for book.” We know what it feels like, what the pages smell like, and the sound the binding makes when you crack it open. Books are ubiquitous now where once they were the privilege of the wealthy. What a sign of wealth it was to have a library of your own. Books can be heavy and it is challenging to store a lot of them.

Digital content covers everything from online magazines, video, music, photos and of course eBooks. You can pile whole libraries of this content into your smartphone, tablet, or reader. The catch is you need a device. Where a book only required your eyes, (or finger), eBooks, as all digital content, need a device to be read from. One you must purchase or lease. Speaking of which, you don’t technically own eBooks. You license them like a piece of software. Publishers have finally come up with a way to thwart libraries lending of books for free. Hence eBooks will always be a more costly solution and present unique challenges for the library patron.

Right now the smart money is on eBooks. New technology always replaces old. Just don’t tell that to the vinyl record. So books offer simplicity and zero barriers for entry. eBooks offer convenience and portability, so long as your device holds up. So you can see, declaring one over the other is not so easy. Going all digital does not solve the problems of managing a modern library’s collection, nor does clinging to print books.

Currently libraries lease most of their digital resources as a stop gap to give their patrons what they want. This works for now but really does not present much of a future for the library. As prices for this content rise and more of their budgets get syphoned off libraries will find little to nothing to show for all the money they invested in their digital collections, to say nothing of products that no longer get support or disappear from the marketplace. For libraries to have any future they must secure digital content that they own. After all you cannot build a collection of purchase orders and license agreements.

Self-E

self e platform

I submitted my second novel, In The Presence of Gods, to SELF-e, a unique curated collection of e-books for libraries. SELF-e is a project by Library Journal magazine and Bibliolabs, a provider of digital repositories. I have been working with my co-workers at the Arizona State library to launch the e-book platform, Reading Arizona. A logical extension of that platform is to offer independent authors a place to offer their works to the borrowing public. Arizona is teaming up with Bibliolabs to do just that through SELF-e.

Independent authors know that some channels remain out of reach. The idea behind SELF-e is that libraries shouldn’t be one. The process of submitting is simple and easy to understand. Once your work is submitted it will be read by one of two editors who will then decide if it meets the level of content and quality they are looking for. If selected, the work will be added to the national collection. Even if not selected, the work will be sent on to the partner library in the state that author registers in. These works could then be added to the state’s local collection.

Right now there is no method for author compensation. The real draw for the author is the exposure to a new and wider audience. The draw for libraries is participating in a program that offers materials for all their patrons with e-readers. I, for one, am excited to see where this platform can go from here.

Great Time at the Sci-Fi / Fantasy Panel

audience at author panelThe authors and aspiring authors came, listened and asked questions. This was the first in what will hopefully be a regular event at the Think Spot at the Mesa Public Library Red Mountain Branch. The funnest thing about sitting on these panels is you never know which way the discussion will go. Sometimes it focuses on the nuts and bolts of putting a book together, other times it’s the ins and outs of publishing. Today’s discussion was an inspirational exploration of the creative process and writing habits. I think I may have wowed some with my admission to being a fan of writing in noisy crowded places. The room buzzed with energy and I felt my creative juices stirred up and ready for action. If you missed it, I hope to catch you at the next one. I know I am looking forward to it.

Mark the Date

SciFi/Fantasy Authors Panel & Writers’ Workshop

Saturday October 11th, 2014
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Red Mountain Library – Think Spot
635 N. Power Road Mesa, Az.
(480) 644-3100
Directions

I will be part of a panel of local Science Fiction authors for a discussion on current trends and the process of writing Science Fiction. Joining me on this panel will be. Seating is limited so be sure to register at events.mesalibrary.org. Joining me will be:

So come on by and join the discussion. Afterwards all the authors will b eon hand to sign copies of their books.

Calling All Arizona Authors

books on smartphoneWe are just 11 days away from the opening of submissions to the 2015 OneBookAz contest. Submissions will be accepted from the first of October until the fourteenth. There are three categories, Adult, Teen and Kids. The contest is open to all Arizona authors. For more information please visit OneBookAz.org. This is a great opportunity to get your work in front of a broad audience.

It’s At the Library

Something that I think independent writers overlook is the possibility of getting their books in their local library. Whether or not this results in future sales is open for discussion but at this point it simply comes under the topic of affirmation. I have my books available in the Avondale Public Library and at the Estrella Foothills High School Library and get a warm feeling when I see them on the shelf. The link below is an interesting article with some tips on getting your books on the shelf at your local library.

http://valleybookblog.com/libraries/how-to-get-your-books-into-a-library/

Well There’s Your Problem Right There

Open-bookI kind of figured this but seeing it in map form is scary. http://gizmodo.com/america-doesnt-read-much-says-map-1534623889 In truth you only have to browse a Facebook feed to see that sad fact of America’s fondness for illiteracy.

I am often surprised by the number of writers who are not reading. If you ain’t reading you ain’t writing. There are two questions every writer should have an immediate answer to. What is your latest work? What are you in the middle of reading right now? My writing has improved by leaps and bounds once I began reading regularly.  By that I mean as soon as one book is done the next one in my que hits my Kindle or Nook app. I find it is also useful to read outside your genre of interest and even books with some issues. It all goes into making you a better writer.

Public Libraries Show Why Sharing Culture Should Never Have Been Banned in the First Place

I am borrowing this post from one of my work blogs, MCLC TechTalk, because I think it underlines some interesting points about digital rights and what it means to share items. Would you buy a pair of pants with a smart chip in them that once you wore them it activates and only allows you to put them on? Anyone else and the chip senses the skin type and poof, they breakdown and fall to threads. Yet we are so quick to purchase electronic media with similar code written into it. This is not piracy. This is having the liberty to do what we want with the things we have paid for. At any rate that’s enough of me, read the article yourselves and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Public Libraries Show Why Sharing Culture Should Never Have Been Banned in the First Place, from Torrent Freak.

It’s a Service Issue

I know I have been a little distracted by video games lately, in particular retro video games. In truth I have been indulging my nostalgia a little more than the law allows. Get me an eye patch and a Parrot named Mr. Stubbs because I’ve been trolled the deep waters of a pirate life. To the end, I came across an interesting article on the Penny Arcade. http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/nintendo-isnt-losing-to-the-ouyas-high-quality-emulation-of-classic-games-i

The interesting bit I took away from this was the quote from Valve’s Gabe Newell who once said that, “Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.” That started me thinking. What is the chain of events that allow our works to go from our heads into readers’ hands. In the past the independent writer typed up the pages, running them by a Kinko’s after which he or she would fill up the trunk of his or her car with copies to distribute. A little less further further back and it would be paying a small publisher and then getting a trunk full of bound books. Now we can upload a file to our publisher, let’s call them, Amazon, and 24 hours later you can still order a trunk full of books. See the problem isn’t getting a copy of your work to sell it is getting it someplace to sell, a service problem. The challenge is still getting the books someplace where readers can read or buy them. That is the service problem we as independents have.

Traditional publishing encompasses the production of a book but more importantly holds the apparatus for getting said book into readers’ eager hands. From whipping people up into a frenzy for it to making sure the bookstores have stacks on hand in all the key locations of the store, this is the one service that technology has not taken away from traditional publishing. But the technology has shaken the tree hard enough that bits and pieces are falling down to where independent writers can make use of them.

We are already use to the bookstore as publisher, hello Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but did you know the library may, one day, also be your publisher. When you think about it, what is more likely to be in your town a library or a Barnes and Noble, we’ll pretend the internet doesn’t exist otherwise this thought experiment fails. But even in that libraries have made their presence felt in cyberspace and their legions of users know just where to click for the latest books. As libraries struggle to meet costs for e-content amid shrinking budgets the turn to local writers and home grown content is looking like a promised land for them. Are we writers up to the challenge? Only time will tell.

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