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Librarian Blog

Kick-start that book

Got a book you think is worthy of publication?
But, having trouble selling it to a big publishing house? Or anyone else in the legit publishing business?
Thanks to technology you have several options.
One, you can set up the book yourself in Microsoft Word or Publisher and send it to A Studio Z Printer, asking them to print and bind it.
Two, you can post your book digitally on your website or in a blog post provided at no charge by people like those who run Wordpress.
Three, and perhaps best, put the book idea onto Kickstarter and see if it will attract backers.
That option, by the way, is increasingly popular and lucrative.
Take, for example, a book called "Rebel Girls," which is aimed at girls and features stories about 100 successful women. So far, the Kickstarter campaign for this book as raised more than $1 million.
Almost 3,000 projects were funded by Kickstarter campaigns last year, making it one of the Big 4 publishers in the country, if you want to stretch and call it a publisher.
A lot of those were graphic and comic novels, which are unusually hard to get published, I suspect.
There's a market out there for just about anything, including, according to the story I read, a book about a bad dog that turns good.

Wasn't this inevitable?

Big Data meet Big Publishing.
That's the theme of a story just published by Susanne Althoff of Emerson Collge in Boston.
The title: "Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing -- But Ruin Novels."
If you know anything about how numbers crunching works these days of super speeds and super capacities, you kinda knew this was coming: Someone with a big machine would run best-selling novels through a program and figure oiut which plots and characters sell the best across a broad spectrum.
And then -- voila! -- have the computer use that information to church out similar novels without the inconvenience (and expense) of real live authors.
Don't think they won't try it and do it.
After all, Big Data + Google + Uber + Apple equals a driverless car.

Looking to be offensive

I guess I should no longer be surprised by what offends people -- and what does not.
What does not: Bad grammar nearly everywhere -- public signage, newspaper headlines, magazine articles, books!
What also does not: Bad language, likewise nearly everywhere, even in presidential campaigns.
And this: Misbehaving kids all over the place, even in fine restaurants.
Of course, TV is just rife with stuff that would make my mother and father blush, and my grandmother would simply die of embarassment and shame.
But, what does offend: Things like this -- a window display in a bookstore window of banned books that includes a cover copy of Little Black Sambo.
This is so awful that protesters in Oregon have actually shut down the independent bookstore that had the silly notion that you could make public the stupidity of people who want to ban books by showing banned books and that would be OK!
I'm offended.

We made it!

How do you know for certain that your profession has finally made it as certifiably "serious?"
You know when articles about what you do for a living bear titles (and subject matter?) that are so obscure as to be virtually meaningless.
On that count, we librarians have made it!
Consider the title of this article, recommended for our elucidation by InfoDocket on Sept. 16:
"New Research Article: 'Professional and Citizen Bibliometrics: Complementarities and Ambivalences in the Development and Use of Indicators.'"

Something new ... to me

Every once in a while someone comes in and asks us to print out a list of everything he or she has read in the past, oh, year or so.
We can do that, althoiugh it's not a quick and simple process.
I surely do understand the desire to have such a list. We have quite a number of patrons who are reading books from our Louis L'Amour collection. That's a lot of books to keep track of to make sure you don't repeat before you've gone through the entire bunch.
Likewise with someone like James Patterson.
And upon occasion I've thought it would be neat if I had had the forethought to put keep a list of what I've read, just in case someone asked about this or that book and I couldn't -- inevitably -- recall whether I had read it or not and/or whether I would recommend it, etc.
Turns out there is such a thing -- online, of course.
It's called: Librarything.com.
Here is what the website says:

What is LibraryThing?

LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for book lovers.

LibraryThing helps you create a library-quality catalog of books: books you own, books you've read, books you'd like to read, books you've lent out ... whatever grouping you'd like.

Since everyone catalogs online, they also catalog together. You can contribute tags, ratings and reviews for a book, and Common Knowledge (facts about a book or author, like character names and awards), as well as participate in member forums or join the Early Reviewers program. Everyone gets the benefit of everyone else's work. LibraryThing connects people based on the books they share.

I will be signing up.

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