Money Issues

About Those Publishers e-Book Prices...

First reported a few days ago, the pundits are now adding their 2 cents.

This from Dan Gillmor at Salon: When America's book publishers wrested control of e-book prices from Amazon earlier this year, I expected two results. First, prices would go up. Second, I'd buy fewer new Kindle books. I got that part right.

What I didn't expect, however, was that publishers would be so incredibly foolish as to start raising e-book prices to the point that they were close to, and in a few cases above, the hardcover prices. Here's a non-literary term for this policy: nuts.

I've been keeping loose track of this trend for months, and had noticed that some hardcover books were getting close to the Kindle prices. Then the barrier fell, as the New York Times reported this week, when at least two books actually were more costly to read on Kindle devices than the actual physical book.

How did this happen? It's a classic Traditional Media vs. the Digital Age story. The key players are Amazon, the major book publishers and Apple.

UK Petition to Save the Library

An idea that just might work...the citizens of the London Borough of Barnet in the UK want their library to stay open.

Save our Libraries in the London Borough of Barnet
Published by Roger Tichborne on Sep 25, 2010
Category: Culture
Region: United Kingdom
Target: London Borough of Barnets Conservative Party
Web site: http://barneteye.blogspot.com
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Petition text:

We the Undersigned, are totally opposed to the closure, sell off or downgrading of the Library service in the London Borough of Barnet.

We believe that Libraries are a vital part of the Borough and recognise the importance of having trained Libraries run by trained librarians. We believe that it is vital to have "quiet space" for students to study.

We believe that closure of the service would cause untold damage to the citizens of Barnet and is totally opposed by the vast majority of the population.

Want to start your own petition? Here's how.

If you do nothing else, at least join us on Facebook at "Oprah, Libraries Need You!". Over 1,000 have signed up in the first week alone!! C'mon over for the birdie's sake.

Join "Oprah, Libraries Need You!" on Facebook

On facebook? Please join our campaign to get the top pop culture book-loving maven of our time to PROMOTE LIBRARIES by joining "Oprah, Libraries Need You!".

The group, created as the result of a dream that Marilyn Johnson (author of 'This Book is Overdue') had in which she spoke to Oprah about libraries and Oprah agreed that they needed support (vivid dreaming MJ!) is ONE WEEK OLD and already has close to 1,000 members.

Please add your name to the ranks and invite all your friends. It won't cost you a penny and who knows, maybe it'll result in an overwhelming wash of love and money from Oprah's coffers.

If you have a story about your library that will help to support the cause, please post it on the wall and keep posting. Don't be shy. Thank you!!

Library Cuts Threaten Research

[quote] In Louisiana, librarians panicked this summer when the state Board of Regents announced the end of funding for LOUIS, the statewide academic library network that provides journal and database access to some 30 institutions, including Louisiana State University (LSU). On a Facebook page dedicated to saving LOUIS, students and faculty alike expressed their outrage at the loss of access. "Oh, please please please save LOUIS," wrote one LSU graduate psychology student. "I'm funded by a large federal research grant from the Department of Education. We need to prove we have adequate research resources in order to secure funding.... I need the EBSCO databases like I need air or water!" [end quote]

Read more: Library cuts threaten research - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57728/#ixzz10xDaxEBd

Related Links: LOUIS - http://www.louislibraries.org

Anger as LSSI Takes Over Santa Clarita Libraries

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — A private company, Library Systems & Services, in Maryland, has taken over public libraries in ailing cities in California, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas, growing into the country’s fifth-largest library system.

The basic pitch that the company L.S.S.I. makes to cities is that it fixes broken libraries — often by cleaning house.

Now the company, has been hired for the first time to run a system in a relatively healthy city, setting off an intense and often acrimonious debate about the role of outsourcing in a ravaged economy.

A $4 million deal to run the three libraries here is a chance for the company to demonstrate that a dose of private management can be good for communities, whatever their financial situation. But in an era when outsourcing is most often an act of budget desperation — with janitors, police forces and even entire city halls farmed out in one town or another — the contract in Santa Clarita has touched a deep nerve and begun a round of second-guessing.

Can a municipal service like a library hold so central a place that it should be entrusted to a profit-driven contractor only as a last resort — and maybe not even then?

The company is majority owned by Islington Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Boston, and has about $35 million in annual revenue and 800 employees. Officials would not discuss the company’s profitability. -- Read More

Libraries Will Survive...hey hey hey!

With all the doom and gloom, Sean Bonney, Graphics Designer at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library put together this video to cheer us up.

The video follows one member of the staff as she deals with a string of bizarre patrons. About halfway through, a fabulous disco sparkle segues to our music video, set to the 1978 disco hit, "I Will Survive".

City of Airheads: Villaraigosa Dismantles L.A.'s Vaunted Library System

Above is the headline, unedited, in today's LA Weekly in which Patrick Range McDonald cites the devastating choices of LA's mayor and city council in carrying out "an unprecedented, and punishing, raid on the libraries."

The article goes on: Last spring he convinced the City Council to close the city's central and eight regional libraries on Sundays, then slashed $22 million from the 2010-11 budget and closed all 73 libraries on Mondays beginning July 19. Library officials say as many as 15,000 youths — plus an untold number of adults — have been turned away every closed day this summer.

Unlike the angry City Council in New York, which successfully fought a large library budget cut proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti and 4th District City Councilman Tom LaBonge, chairman of the council's Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, quickly caved on Villaraigosa's proposed 2010 budget, of which the library cuts were a part.

LA Weekly article. Some interesting commentary from readers too...

Some MA School Libraries to Open...Sans Librarians

The Bridgewater and Raynham (MA) middle school librarians won’t be getting their jobs back, but the schools’ libraries will remain open.

That was the word from school officials at the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School Committee meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 25. School Committee member Gordon Luciano said after the meeting the decision of the administration to use proctors instead of librarians at the middle schools this year is final and does not need a vote by the school board.

The school committee could have chosen to override the decision, he said. But there was no discussion of possible alternatives and there were no motions by committee members to take a different route.

The school committee meeting was the last before the beginning of school on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Last year, Bridgewater Middle School and Raynham Middle School each had one full-time librarian. But this year, the funding for those positions was eliminated. Story from the Bridgewater Independent.

Words and Drink: To Help Repair The Children's Section

Stonington CT - Shortly after this spring's flooding caused about $50,000 of damage to the Stonington Free Library's children's section, Peter Brown and his wife, Alexandra Stoddard, were talking to Dog Watch Cafe owner David Eck about how they could help.

Brown, a trial lawyer, decided that he would donate 1,000 copies of his new book, "Figure it Out," to the effort. On Sunday anyone who donated $25 to the library received a signed copy and a free drink at the Dog Watch.

The event was a hit as hundreds made donations to the library during a daylong event at the restaurant, which overlooks Stonington Harbor.

"This has just been a phenomenal success," said Stoddard, an author of books including "Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life."

Seattle Library Fines: Raise Them...or Not

Public reaction to the prospect of stiffer Seattle library fines was just what you'd expect: mixed. And a bit limited.

City Library Board members are considering raising daily overdue-materials fines from 15 cents to 25 cents, with a maximum fine of $8 for each overdue piece of material. They're also pondering whether to notify parents or guardians of youths 17 and under who owe more than $25 in fines, and to send some youths' backlogged fines to a collection agency, which is not now done.

All this comes as the library has had its budget cut $1.17 million this year and faces even more as the city confronts a two-year, $121-million revenue shortfall through 2012. Library hours and some staff have already been cut and there are warnings that more reductions are possible.

Raising fines and fees could raise $650,000 per year, according to library staff, in addition to the $650,000 the library expects to save by shutting branches down for a week, starting Monday.

Interesting ideas from patrons: 1) accepting credit cards and PayPal
2) allowing payment online and 3) try being a little more serious about collecting fines. Story from Seattle PI.

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