- 50% of all library users go on to buy books by an author they were first introduced to at the library;
- 20% of library users are “power patrons.” They visit the library at least once a week, borrow all types of media, and are active buyers of books and other media, including e-books;
- Power patrons are more likely to vote at a higher rate than other patrons; and,
- Power patrons are “influencers” who spread the word about books, visit both online and brick and mortar bookstores, and are more likely to purchase specific books they’ve borrowed from the library.
Why is this news important?
Here’s why: There’s a common myth out there, especially among some publishers, that every book sold to a library translates into “lost” sales to private citizens. I addressed this myth—showing how it was just wrong— way back in May of 2010 when a particular Hi & Lois cartoon made an odd connection between library use and shuttered book stores:
It would have been more accurate to show Lois ordering a book online and then passing a shuttered book store. Libraries and book stores co-exist just fine. It’s the Internet Age that is fundamentally changing the publishing and bookseller communities, and the economy, of course, is not helping.
And speaking of the economy, it’s true that public library usage goes up during tough times; but lack of a library certainly doesn’t mean that people with tight budgets can suddenly start buying books, newspapers and magazine subscriptions; or reconnect their home Internet service. And what about those folks struggling even during good times?
Benjamin Franklin knew how important access to books and ideas was to the young nation. Along with others, he founded the nation’s first subscription library, The Library Company of Philadelphia. His lending library lays claim to being the predecessor to today’s public library. The motto of The Library Company is the Latin “Communiter Bona profundere Deum est,” which translates as “To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine.” (Today, apparently, the “common good” means “socialism” in some circles, as this satirical blog post on the same Hi & Lois cartoon confronts.)
While some publishers may believe libraries cut into sales, most authors know how important libraries are to promoting their books, connecting them with readers, and ultimately driving their book sales.
Whatever form books take in the future, I’m betting that publishers and booksellers find a way to survive and thrive. And I’m betting that the library will be there to share that new wealth of literature, entertainment, and political and social commentary. For as the Patron Profiles study shows, it will not only be good for democracy, it will be good for the economy.
While Bill has been busy reading a horrific horror novel, I’ve had the enjoyable pleasure of a good solid mystery by author, Jerrilyn Farmer. Even though this book was written in 2003, it has all the fun of reality food shows. Who doesn’t love “Next Iron Chef”, “Chopped”, or “Next Food Network Star”, and of course there’s all those people driving around in their food trucks.
Madeline Bean owns her own catering service, Mad Bean, and times are tough. She caters to the Hollywood crowd and is in the middle of planning the Food Freak’s wrap party. Food Freak is a television show that combines recipe cook-offs and food quizzes. Supposedly closing out their last show, Madeline finds they’ve been offered one more show and it’s going to be a doosey. Apparently the show’s head writer has taken a hike and Maddie’s offered a writing job to fill in until he can be found.
The fun and mystery begin, Maddie meets up with some crazy characters; including Chef Howie, and cougar wife Fate; Artie, TV production manager and sometime tyrant; sheep with very interesting names; Wednesday night murders (on schedule with the show) and also plenty of clues to uncover in a library of cookbooks. Farmer, who has written for game shows such as Jeopardy and Supermarket Sweep, does a great job with game show detail, and live audience productions.
I thought it was a delightful read, with plenty of substance to keep me from being annoyed at fellow airplane travellers (maybe Alec Baldwin could use a better book on his next flight). Look forward to reading more by Jerrilyn Farmer about Maddie Bean and her catering company.
OK, so these dudes traveled around the country doing Library Road Trip video blogs, stopping at public libraries around the nation. It’s nice to celebrate public libraries, but looking at the Oklahoma City video below, I wonder how much people really learn from watching their vlogs.
Did they even talk to anyone at OKC (or at any of their stops)? For example, if they had, they would have known that Oklahoma City really doesn’t have a “main” library. The collection at the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma County is technically “decentralized.” That building downtown is just the “downtown” branch. They also leave the impression that the new downtown library had to be built because of the bombing. Wrong.
And they make a stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, and they don’t even go inside. I mean, I know this is a project centering on public libraries, but wouldn’t it have been nice if they had visited the archives inside?
OK, I’ll stop complaining. They *do* have some nice things to say about OKC. But it all just makes me wonder how much I can trust the other library vlogs they did on their road trip.
Literary Kitty points us to the venerable New York Times web space to illustrate our sites of the week: 100 Notable Books of 2011. Yes, believe it or not, it’s time for those ubiquitous end-of-the-year lists. “Paws” also says these other lists are also great!
Expect to see many more lists as the year winds down.
Literary Kitty also dropped off some other interesting URLs that we’re passing along. Time Magazine’s Veterans Affairs story for their latest issue is titled “For romance readers, a hardy man is good to find.” It’s about the trend away from paranormal Romances in favor of love tomes about our men in uniform. An accompanying video takes us to a Romance Novel cover shoot. (That one’s for you, Tory!)
The web editor at the Hillsdale (MI) College Collegian tells you why she thinks print books are better than e-books.
And, Cult of Mac says “Farenheit 451 Finally Comes to iBooks in a Format that Can Never Be Burned!” OK, there’s some interesting info on Ray Bradbury’s stance on e-books in this article, but we just want to point out…
Library Journal’s BookSmack has issued the beginning of their Book Blitz lists. It looks like the Reviews site has been updated. Nice look. These are the folks who know what people like to read. They look for titles that satisfy. How do they decide? Eight different library journal editors get together and hash out the top ten lists. Apparently they’ve learned how to build a consensus (something other folks might want to work on). First lists out are the all important fiction lists, then Dec. 1st we’ll get the Core Nonfiction, How-To, Graphic Novels and YA lit for Adults lists.
Look to see what you’ve already read, what you missed, or what might make that perfect want on your Christmas list.
I just checked out from my library. Anderton, Jo. Debris. Angry Robot. (Veiled Worlds Trilogy, Bk. 1). ISBN 9780857661548. pap. $7.99.
Set in a world where mental powers construct fabulous works of engineering and architecture, this series opener revolves around a young woman who can use her abilities to destroy and build. An accomplished debut reminiscent of the visionary works of China Miéville. (LJ 10/15/11)
Happy Holiday reading.
Chances are very good that someone you know will receive an e-reader this holiday. That is, if they didn’t already get one last holiday, or for their birthday, or for Valentine’s Day, or for an anniversary.
That someone could even be you, and that e-reader could be something specifically designed for reading books, or it could be a tablet computer that does a dozen other things. And don’t forget that smart phone in your pocket. It will probably let you read e-books and listen to audio books as well.
While many e-readers and tablets are designed to make it easy to buy books online, did you know you may also be able to borrow e-books from your local public library? That’s right. You can get them at your library for no extra charge. Your tax dollars are already supporting your local library, so why not take advantage of their e-book offerings?
An article in USA Today Wednesday highlighted this increasingly common public library service. It even offers a link to a series of lessons on how to “cope with the technical peculiarities of library e-books.” (Note: the lessons are Windows-centric, but even if you’re an Apple fan boy or girl, there’s good information here.)
So which Oklahoma public libraries offer e-books and audio books through their websites for check out? According to information from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, seven of the state’s eight library systems offer the service. Here they are:
- Chickasaw Regional Library System serving Atoka, Carter, Johnston, Love and Murray counties;
- Eastern Oklahoma District Library System serving Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, McIntosh, Muskogee and Sequoyah counties;
- Metropolitan Library System serving Oklahoma County;
- Pioneer Library System serving Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties;
- Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma serving Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain and Pittsburg counties;
- Tulsa City-County Library System serving Tulsa County; and,
- Western Plains Library System serving Custer, Dewey, Roger Mills and Washita counties.
The Chickasaw system gets its downloadable e-book and audio book service through the OK Virtual Library, a consortium of public libraries in the state that have joined together to offer digital collections. You’ll also find 16 additional municipal libraries—from Miami to Guymon, Stillwater to Mustang, Enid to Duncan—that offer electronic and audio books through the OK Virtual Library. They offer books in ePub, Kindle, and audio formats. Plus, the list of participating libraries is growing!
(Update 11/18/11: Stillwater Public Library, which coordinates OK Virtual Library, has announced that six additional municipal libraries will “go live” with e-book and audio book downloads on November 28. Those libraries are in Ada, Alva, Durant, Marlow, Pryor and Vinita. So that brings the total to 22 municipal libraries with the service.)
If you don’t see your local library listed, check with the staff and see if they are planning the service in the future. With so many e-readers under the tree this year, it’s only a matter of time before you can “check-out” a digital book at your library.
Literary Kitty is so mad at me and Kitty! He’s been bringing in site suggestions for weeks, and we haven’t been able to get to them because we’ve been running around organizing events, dealing with staff shortages, and putting out fires. (I am happy to report that no books were burned during this flurry of activity.)
Anyway, it’s time to get back on track and make nice with our favorite literate feline.
First up: Vulpes Libris, simply described as “a collective of bibliophiles writing about books.” What kind of books, you ask? We’ll let the site tell you:
With a range of reviewers of such diverse interests, there is very little that Vulpes Libris is not interested in. We cover everything: from picture books to literary fiction; from chicklit and thrillers to works of philosophy and political writings – you name it, we write about it.”
Sounds like Okie Read’s mantra. If it’s between two covers, has printed pages, and we like it, we’ll tell you about it.
Yep, you’ll find it all on Vulpes Libris. Reviews of non-fiction works, adult novels, children’s books, fantasy, and even… gasp!… “serious” literature. Plus there are fun posts like Books: Does Size Matter, and essays of interest, like Steve Jobs: Shedding a tear for someone I didn’t know. The site even has posts celebrating the International Year of Astronomy. And don’t tell Literary Kitty, but we especially enjoyed an entry titled: Dogs in Literature. (We suspect our four-pawed friend dropped the site off because he was especially smitten with this post.)
So there you have it. Many mea culpas to LK, and many happy reads to our Okie Reads family.
I. Can’t. Wait.
Internet Movie Database page on The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games Trilogy fansite
Other Okie Reads posts related to the trilogy:
• End Game
Before we get into further discussion, take a look at the video, and then we’ll talk!
So, what do you think? Is it great to see a baby interacting with an iPad, or do you worry that she won’t understand how to use print material when she’s older? Did Steve Jobs really code her OS? The author of a short post on American Editor finds it worrisome for another reason:
It symbolizes the problem I see with the future of language and the acceptance of Twitter-speak/spelling as the norm.”
Me thinks these people doth protest too much.
Here’s a story: my colleague and friend Sadie has a young son named Fox who recently put his hand on his father’s laptop screen. He stretched his fingers wide and said “bigger!” When the image on the screen didn’t respond, he looked at his dad quizzically as if to say: “What kind of crappy technology is this?!”
So Fox knows how touch screens are supposed to work. But, of course, he also knows how books and magazines work. (I mean, his mom’s a librarian. Hello?!) And I’m sure he’s figured out that all screens don’t incorporate touch technology. It’s the same with my grandnephew and grandniece. Put an iPod Touch in their hands, and they’re all over it. Put a book in their hands, and they can turn pages and read the printed word.
Young children are remarkable creatures. They are born to investigate and explore the world around them, whether they come across a rock or an iPad. More importantly, we remain learners throughout our lives. When you were growing up, did you really expect to see the day when you could pull up information, watch videos, play music and make phone calls on a device smaller than a portable transistor radio? And yet, chances are you’ve mastered that device well enough to find it remarkably useful.
Some academicians believe we are moving toward a post literate world; but, honestly, I don’t see this video as Exhibit One in any future investigation exploring why the human race has lost the ability to read.
It’s all good, people. So calm down.
Now, Siri? Now, that’s something we really have to worry about!
OK, so the National Book Award folks (the National Book Foundation) have short-listed the finalists. Here’s a link from my favorite GalleyCat to give you a free sampling of the titles. And of course, there’s controversy, I love controversy over a subject that very few people know about or ever give a second thought.
First, Laura Miller at Salon.com calls the entire list irrelevant. Go Laura! Here’s a good quote from the piece, “Although the judges for the NBAs change every year, the sense that the fiction jury is locked in a frustrating impasse with the press and the public is eternal.” And for the sports fans reading this blog, no we don’t mean the National Basketball Association. It seems to be the National Book Award folks aren’t interested in anything popular. So if it’s smart and literary and has a large group of reader fans then it looks like you can just forget the big prize.
Said very well by Ms. Miller, “If you categorically rule out books that a lot of people like, you shouldn’t be surprised when a lot of people don’t like the books you end up with.” Why is the literary community and the reading public so different? Don’t authors want to have readers? and does it say something negative about a book when a lot of people enjoy it.
Controversy, number two. If having a list of titles that people aren’t exactly cheering about isn’t bad enough, they announced the wrong young adult writer as a finalist! Graciously Lauren Myracle and her book Shine, took her name off the list after being mistaken for Franny Billingsley‘s Chime.
NBF is blaming it on a communication problem. Judges say Chime and it sounds like Shine. What? No doubt they handled it badly, first putting her on by mistake, then saying she can stay and then taking her off for good.
What do you think about this NBA debacle?