Going to Internet Librarian?

Going to Internet Librarian this month? Want to talk about publishing with InfoToday? Have book ideas to kick around? Drop me a line… and I’ll buy you a coffee! Or maybe even lunch — yes, lunch. Such a deal. :)

Does anyone still work at LJ?

One wonders.

Among other changes taking place, the group will suspend publication of Críticas, the twice monthly online newsletter for reviews in English of Spanish-language titles. Plans are underway to continue coverage of Spanish books in the existing publications.

The moves were announced in the wake of staff layoffs at parent company Reed Business Information dictated by the declining advertising market, the company said in a statement. Among those leaving LJ are long-time, valued staffers Ann Burns, Book Review Associate Editor; Ann Kim, Special Projects Editor; Lynn Blumenstein, Senior Editor, Library Hotline; and Aida Bardales, Críticas Senior Editor.

I’m at a loss for words right now.

Brief references to the whole OMG publishing as we know it is ending theme

I blog, I blog again, then more articles cross my radar — while book publishing may be having its troubles, people aren’t running out of things to say any time soon. So, briefly noted, some recent publishing- and book buying-related squibs:

  • One thought on helping the industry recover would be: stop buying fake memoirs, people.
  • The Motley Fool thinks the publishing business will survive.
  • Used-book-buyer types might enjoy “Bargain Hunting for Books, and feeling sheepish about it” over at the NYT.

And, on a semi-related note and taking an interesting approach, the post “Academic Evolution: The Book” over at Academic Evolution notes:

This blog is intended to become Academic Evolution, the book. My model is Chris Anderson, whose Long Tail blog helped bring about his seminal book of the same name. Similarly, I am beta testing my ideas, developing them in keeping with the principle of transparency and with the goal of inviting public review and collaboration. I’m smart enough to know others are often much smarter, and I firmly believe that publishing one’s thinking process improves it.

If I’m remembering right, The Long Tail grew out of the Wired article, with the blog collecting data along the way and post-publication, but I like the acknowledgement here of the inherently collaborative process involved in creating a book, and look forward to seeing how the project develops.

More on the book buying theme/meme

For more on the books make great gifts theme, check out “A Bookstore Stimulus Package?” over at the Freakonomics blog (NYT.com), which contains a lovely letter from Roy Blount.

We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

If you prefer your book buying bailout nudges more on the visual side, though, enjoy “Mimi Finishes her Christmas Shopping” over at Will Write for Chocolate (best.blog.title.ever!). And, if you prefer your publishing crisis stories on the auditory side, give a listen to “Book Industry Enters Shaky Chapter” (really, NPR? was that necessary?) over at npr.org. I was somewhat amused by the hopeful thought in there of books being recession proof because they’re “cheap.” A) not so much, and, B) odd as it may seem, for most people books don’t fall under the category of “necessities.”

Buy the book

When we focus on the recent feel-good stories about people turning to libraries in tough economic times, I’m wondering if we think enough about the other side of the equation: More people visiting libraries instead of buying books doesn’t much help out the book industry, which has been feeling the economic downturn badly. If you’ve missed the many, many stories about this, see:

Over at BookLust, Patricia Storm — herself a writer — says that:

Sadly, one of the areas where I have had to cut back on is book-buying. I find this very, very hard, ‘cuz I walk into bookstores and see all the pretty new and delicious books and I just want to buy them all!! But I can’t. So instead, I trek it over to our local library and sign out books that only a few months ago, I would have bought.

It’s fascinating to look at the effect the economy seems to be having on publishers’ willingness to experiment with older models. Over at the Issues in Publishing blog, Fran Toolan offers some predictions for the next year, suggesting that it’s “going to be a great year for small and nimble companies.” Although neither small nor, generally, nimble, some of the larger publishers are taking tentative steps toward mixing things up. For instance:

Borders Group Inc. has agreed to accept books from HarperStudio on a nonreturnable basis, departing from a decades-old publishing tradition.

Under the terms of the deal, the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain by revenue will get a deeper discount on initial orders of books published by the new imprint of News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers — 58% to 63% off the cover price, instead of the usual 48%. In exchange, Borders won’t return any unsold books to HarperStudio, instead probably discounting them in the store.

In response to the crisis, The Association of American Publishers has also launched a “Books are great gifts” campaign at BooksAreGreatGifts.com. (Aren’t they?! And don’t forget that you can share the gift of Karen Schneider’s writing — or of mine, not to leave out the big ITI blowout sale :) .

Maybe what we need here is a “Librarians buy great books” campaign. I always give books to the kids (and sometimes the adults) in my life, how about you?

Opposite world

Sometimes, the publishing industry just baffles me. As does what qualifies as “peer reviewed” literature. Is it just me, or are you also reading these things and saying WT*?