From the Director
Library news and happenings.
April is “National Poetry Month” as first designated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. The goal is to celebrate poetry and its place in American culture. Libraries, booksellers, and literary organizations highlight poetry through displays, programs, and readings.
The website of the Academy suggests thirty ways to celebrate the month, ranging from the predictable “read a book of poetry” to “integrate poetry with technology” and “visit a poetry landmark.” Their website also has a search function to locate a poem by title, poet, keyword, form or theme. That’s very handy if you vaguely remember a poem and want to locate it.
We have a large poetry collection, particularly at Central Library. Most is classified in the 811s. Some are compilations, others are the works of one poet.
And happy National Poetry Month to you.
National Poetry Month
Last week I wrote here about the evolving ebook market.
I shared that libraries were bracing for a price increase for ebooks from Random House publishers. Indeed the recent increases are double and triple the prices we had been paying. As an example, one recently released title had been $40 for the ebook version; it increased to $120 as of March 1. The print version, with the library discount, is a little over $20.
Basically, the new Random House prices for ebooks to ebook distributors, not directly to libraries are
- Titles in print as new hardcovers: $65 - $85
- Titles available for several months or timed to paperback release: $25 - $50
- New children’s titles in print as hardcovers: $35 - $85
- Older children’s titles and children’s paperbacks: $25 - $45
In spite of these hefty price increases, libraries welcome that Random House continues to offer titles in ebook format to libraries.
Again, as I wrote previously, Penguin Books are not available in ebook format to public libraries. They publish many bestsellers and we, like all libraries, regret we cannot provide them to our users.
Bottom line: please know we will continue to provide ebooks as they are available and affordable for public libraries. Some titles we cannot provide at all, due to publisher restrictions, others we may not be able to provide until several months after their initial release.
The market continues to evolve.
Most libraries, including KPL, experienced a strong increase in the circulation of ebooks after the holidays. Obviously readers were a popular holiday gift. Ebook users have learned how to download books from OverDrive through our website and many have attended our training or Q & A sessions.
In addition to titles available through the OverDrive consortium, we purchase additional copies of popular titles available to KPL resident cardholders. However patrons often ask why a particular popular title isn’t available in ebook format.
All publishers will sell us print copies, but not necessarily ebook copies. Their policies and approach vary considerably:
- Random House titles are available; they recently announced a price increase.
- HarperCollins titles are available to public libraries but each title is limited to 26 uses. The library must then renew its license for that title.
- Macmillan does not make its popular titles available; some scholarly titles are available to public libraries.
- Penguin terminated its agreement to provide to public libraries in February. Those titles already in a library’s catalog are still available.
- Simon & Schuster titles are not available.
- Hachette backlist is available, not the frontlist of new, popular titles.
- Scholastic titles are not available.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles are available.
Bottom line: the availability of a popular title in ebook format through a public library depends upon the publisher. Ebook lending through public libraries is still evolving and the specifics change frequently. Be assured, however, that we continue to follow the market closely and purchase popular titles available to us. Even if we don’t have the title in ebook format, we will have it in print.
The availability of e-books through public libraries is ever changing.
Libraries, including KPL, offer downloadable e-books through a vendor–OverDrive. Publishers offer their titles to OverDrive, libraries purchase titles in e-book format through OverDrive, patrons download e-books to their device through their home library using the OverDrive technology.
Three of the major publishers have not allowed their titles to be purchased by public libraries through OverDrive: Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. Just this week, Penguin announced they too will no longer offer their titles in downloadable format for public libraries to purchase. (Read more)
With this move, Random House is the only big-six publisher allowing unrestricted access to its e-books through libraries. HarperCollins does work with libraries, but has implemented a limit of 26 uses or checkouts of the title before it must be “repurchased.”
If you don’t find a particular e-book title available for download though our catalog, quite likely it is from a publisher who will not sell to public libraries.
The American Library Association is continuing to talk with publishers about the future of e-book availability for lending through libraries. We, along with the entire library community, share your frustrations with this ever changing e-book situation, both the availability of titles and the process of downloading to various devices. Stay tuned.
Some recent articles...
- ALA, Authors Guild, 3M Weigh In on Penguin-OverDrive Dispute
(February 10, 2012, Library Journal)
- ALA responds to Penguin’s decision to discontinue digital media sales to libraries via Overdrive (February 10, 2012, American Library Association)
- Penguin Severs Ties with OverDrive
(February 9, 2012, Publishers Weekly)
- Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive
(February 9, 2012, Library Journal)
- Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Express Concerns About Library Ebook Lending After ‘Positive’ Talks with ALA (February 8, 2012, Library Journal)
As I have often written, each day and week has some special designation, many relevant to libraries. This week, November 13–19, is the 90th anniversary of “American Education Week.”
The goal of this designated week is to “inform the public of the accomplishments and needs of schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
KPL is particularly proud of our relationship with Kalamazoo Public Schools. As I previously wrote in this blog and in our newsletter LINK, all KPS first graders recently visited one of our libraries and were given their own library card. We are now in the midst of their second visit to return the books they checked out and hopefully to begin a pattern of regular library visits.
We are now preparing for the “Global Reading Challenge,” a battle of the books type program for fourth and fifth graders; we just concluded this year’s “Youth Literature Seminar” focusing on teen literature; and, of course, we have many resources for students at all grade levels, both in print and online.
We applaud our colleagues in education and join them in supporting student learning and achievement.
American Education Week
We all need friends and KPL is fortunate to have very good ones….Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library….and this is the week to recognize them.
October 16 – 22 is “National Friends of Libraries Week.” The description encourages “library lovers everywhere to join their local friends of the library group.” I would add to that, in the case of KPL friends, shop their bookstore on the lower level of Central Library to show your support too.
The Friends of KPL contribute $50,000 - $60,000 per year to the library, all from the proceeds from their bookstore. That represents a lot of books….most are priced from 50¢ to $2.50. As their slogan states….“gently used books, gently priced.” Our community is generous in donating books to the Friends for them to sell to benefit the library.
The Friends contribution funds our summer reading games for all ages and provides support for some signature ongoing programs: Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, and concerts among others.
Happy “Friends of Libraries Week.” They would welcome you as member.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
We will be celebrating the 30th annual Banned Books Week (BBW) with Art Hop and a Read Out on Friday evening, October 7, from 5 to 8 pm.
BBW celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. It draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the country.
Again, as in recent years, we are partnering with the local chapter of the ACLU to sponsor an art contest inspired by one of the six books most frequently challenged or banned. The submissions will be on display during Art Hop. The winner will be announced at the event and later posted on the KPL and ACLU websites.
In addition to the art, the Read Out will focus on read aloud passages from challenged or banned books. You might be surprised at some of them: Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, to name a few.
Many authors whose books have been challenged are participating in Read Outs around the country. Authors as well as readers are raising awareness of book censorship by posting videos on YouTube of themselves reading from their favorite banned books.
Celebrate and appreciate your freedom to read whatever you want to read!
Banned Books Art Contest
September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month as declared by the American Library Association. It is the logical time of year for libraries to remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.
For the first time this fall, all 1st grade classes from the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) will visit one of our locations. They will visit twice in the fall, and hopefully, once in the spring. Classes will visit the nearest KPL location; some will walk, some will come on school buses.
On their first visit, we will have library cards ready for all students who do not currently have one. They will hear a story from a librarian, find a book to take home, and check it out on their very own card. A few weeks later they will come again to return the book and check out another. The hope is the third visit will be with their family and will establish a routine for regular family visits.
The spring visit will be to sign-up for summer reading.
We are excited to have over 1,100 1st graders visit one of our four branches or Central Library. KPL and KPS are partnering to make this happen – it takes a lot of coordination as we work together to emphasize the importance of reading and regular family library visits.
The Smartest Card
Most every day, week, and month has some designation. September 8 is International Literacy Day, a designation with particular relevance to libraries and to Kalamazoo.
Of course libraries care deeply about literacy – that’s a given. Our community does too with the recent announcement of The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo, as well as The Kalamazoo Promise, Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo, The Kalamazoo Literacy Council, and the emphasis this year in the Kalamazoo Public Schools on reading and writing.
International Literacy Day has been designated by the United Nations to raise awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world with particular emphasis on the importance of literacy for a healthy society. The UN estimates that one in five adults worldwide cannot read and two-thirds are women.
September 8 will be a good day to pause and appreciate that you can read, but also to consider how you can get involved and truly make a difference. Communities in Schools and Kalamazoo Literacy Council both are in need of volunteer tutors.
International Literacy Day
It has long been the rule of thumb within the publishing industry that the hardcover edition of a book was released first, followed by a large print edition and audio version, then a paperback edition about a year or so later, depending upon the pace of sales for the hardcover. That’s changing.
The first change I noticed was the release of the large print and audio versions soon after the hardcover. Now the ebook version is in the mix too. The ebook is released with the hardcover and sometimes before the hardcover OR sometimes just an ebook and no hardcover.
There is now an urgency to release the paperback sooner, following the model of Hollywood which has shortened the time between the theatrical release of a film and the DVD release. Publishers now watch each title’s sales quite closely to determine the best time to release the paperback and continue the momentum of the title. That could be just a few months to more than a year.
The entire publishing cycle is faster. Hardcovers have less time to prove themselves; ebooks sales are strongest at initial publication and do not spike again with the paperback release.
We purchase popular titles in all of these formats, some simultaneously, some staggered as they are released. In addition to various formats, we also purchase for special collections such as Hot Picks and Book Club in a Bag.
Come visit soon – I hope we have the title you want in the format you prefer.