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When I was young, I had an eccentric, poker-playing uncle. At family reunions, he loved to show me how to play five-card draw, which introduced me to the concept of betting and bluffing. He’d deal out the cards, ask me to make a mock wager with fake chips, and then tell me to decide whether to fold or go all-in. As an 11-year old, my poker-playing skills weren’t well-honed. So, invariably, I’d fall for my uncle’s bluff by folding too early, turning over our cards, only to find out that I had held the winning hand. My uncle would joyously rake the jackpot into his pile and cackle at me, “You sure left a lot of money on the table, kid!” To this day, I can remember the frustration that I felt knowing I had held the winning hand but still lost the game.
If my uncle were alive today, I think he’d make a similar observation about the publishing industry. He’d say that publishers are leaving millions of dollars on the table each year, because their marketing tends to fold too early. In other words, you can’t afford to let your marketing copy fold when skeptical shoppers call your books’ bluff. When people browse your titles, your marketing copy has to overcome their skepticism and convince them that the book is worth buying. You have to speak the readers’ language and capture their interest. If they call your bluff and your marketing folds, then you lose book sales.
How Google's 'Penguin' Update Will Change Publishing, for the Better
Over the past decade, the publishing industry been swinging on a pendulum created by the effects of search engine optimization (SEO). In the old, primarily print days, the most successful publishers were those that could produce great content for a specific audience and keep that audience engaged via subscriptions or at the newsstands. More recently, the kings of publishing were those that could best engage web crawlers and monetize their sites through a windfall of free search traffic. The focus has been less on creating great content and engaging readers than on producing lots of words on lots of pages to engage web crawlers.
But there is a silver lining to all of this. With last year's Panda release, and the more recent Penguin release, Google is going to flip SEO on its head. If Old SEO enabled some to fool a crawler into indexing borderline junk content to get high rankings, New SEO looks likely to take any notion of fooling anyone out of the equation.
Interesting link at Library Journal
With so many more distractions available to disrupt their attention, perhaps there is more academic librarians could do to help students achieve academic success.
Essayist and humorist David Rakoff has died, novel to be published in 2013
A new book by Kenneth Feinberg traces his years of work in assessing and paying victims’ claims after disasters, whether the 9/11 attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
No, the campaign for county commissioner isn't happening as of yet. A PDF message is still being forward to feed subscribers, though.
Laser etched Kindle 2
The 58-page issue is also available as a single-column 6x9 PDF designed for e-reading (at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i7on.pdf)-but please don't use that version for printing, as it's 119 pages long.
Recounting events in the 8-year-old Google Book lawsuits since March 2009, when most of us assumed that the proposed settlement would be approved, and we were primarily discussing whether it was on balance good or bad. It's quite a story, and it's not over yet...
Please don't use the HTML version for printing either, as it's likely to run at least 91 single-spaced pages.
Reminder: Still looking for feedback...
I'd still like to get feedback on Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four. See here.
Librarians are only surpassed by religious fundamentalists in their dystopian view of their futures. The past week has shown to me that all this negativity may well be unwarranted. The sheer number of news sources and bloggers who picked up the story of the .Texas Wal Mart that was turned into a library demonstrates to me that when people really think about it, they want to see libraries succeed.
When I first dipped my foot into social media people would frequently ask me, "When will books go away? When will libraries disappear?" That was back when the e-book reader was born and the stock market crash started. The economy was shaken to its core. The fiscal libertarians salivated over the possibility of the possibility of eviscerating the government and slashing the social safety net to shreds. Conservatives and liberals looked at the internet as the ultimate replacement of everything library. Data phones, e-book readers and tablet computers seemed to point to a future when libraries and paper books could be viewed as irrelevant. -- Read More
The issue is 32 pages long. A single-column 6x9 version, designed for use on ereaders, is also available at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i6on.pdf. The single-column version is 62 pages long and intended only for ereading, not for printing.
The issue includes:
Libraries: Give Us a Dollar: A Case Study pp. 1-6
Would a refined version of Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four be directly useful to a few hundred (or a few thousand) public libraries? This two-part example shows how a mythical New York library (directly based on two real libraries) might use a heavily revised version--and how it might use the current version. I'm still looking for reviewers and feedback before deciding how to proceed; these case studies might help.
How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain asks how our culture came to frown on using books for any purpose other than reading. When did the coffee-table book become an object of scorn? Why did law courts forbid witnesses to kiss the Bible? What made Victorian cartoonists mock commuters who hid behind the newspaper, ladies who matched their books' binding to their dress, and servants who reduced newspapers to fish 'n' chips wrap?
Shedding new light on novels by Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontës, Trollope, and Collins, as well as the urban sociology of Henry Mayhew, Leah Price also uncovers the lives and afterlives of anonymous religious tracts and household manuals. From knickknacks to wastepaper, books mattered to the Victorians in ways that cannot be explained by their printed content alone. And whether displayed, defaced, exchanged, or discarded, printed matter participated, and still participates, in a range of transactions that stretches far beyond reading. -- Read More
FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate the hidden cost that comes with the demand for better and faster cell phone service.
Thomas Pynchon, author of “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “The Crying of Lot 49,” characteristically declined to speak about his decision.
Houston librarians keep a wary eye for counterfeit bills
Waukegan needs Ray Bradbury museum, biographer says
The 24-page issue (43 pages in the single-column version) is PDF as usual. The individual essays are also available in HTML form at http://citesandinsights.info or use the essay name links below.
This issue includes:
The Front (pp. 1-4)
Announcing Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four, a study of public library benefits and funding designed to help libraries see where they stand and work to improve funding.
Also noting "the books your library needs"--two recent books published by professional library-oriented publishers that I believe are essential for, respectively, every academic and most special (and some public) library and every public and some academic and special libraries.
The Middle: Forecasts (pp. 4-12)
Following up the May essay on futurism with a whole bunch of specific forecasts--the one-year kind that can be tested and usually found wanting.
A librarian friend of mine who makes thoughtful book recomendations said that - Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internetwas an excellent and timely read.