Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/25/2010 (Day of Dialog Between Publishers and LIbrarians)

Luc Lafnet, Still Life, 1927, Oil On Canvas

Daily Thoughts 5/25/2010 (Day of Dialog Between Librarians and Publishers at Book Expo America)

Ready to go to the Jacob Javits Center this morning. I have a folder for all my papers, pens, business cards, a notebook, so I think I should be ready. It should be excellent.

I was surprised to only find conference sessions on the first day of Book Expo America. I went to the Library Journal Day of Dialog at the Jacob Javits Center, directly across from us was the School Library Journal Day of Dialog. It was nice to see some of my old colleagues among the attendees as well as a few people that I recognized. I had a very interesting talk with one of my colleagues about purchasing foreign language materials.

I also picked up a lot of free books and audiobooks. I was surprised at the amount of free audiobooks. I am going to list a few free books and audiobooks that stood out; Churchill A History of the English Speaking Peoples as a cd audiobook put out by BBC Audio, Niall Ferguson The Ascent of Money by Tantor Audio. There were also a number of cards which had the cover of a book and a free code to download an audiobook; My Spirtual Journey by The Dalai Lama and Sena Jeter Naslund, Adam & Eve A Novel were two downloads that were free on postcards.

I also had a chance to slip across the hall to pick up some books from School Library Journal. They were giving away some Kimani Tru titles which are African American romance titles aimed at teenagers. The imprint is very popular at our library.

The first session was Editors Picks. Among the books which were recommended that most stood out were The Burn by Nevada Barr coming in August, Barrier Dead by Louise Penny which is a mystery coming in September, and Stephen Hawking's new book The Grand Design. There were a lot of excellent suggestions of titles.

The next session was on ebooks. It was about two new ebook platforms, Blio and Copia. It is hard to describe what these are without looking at them. http://thecopia.com/ is a social network platform for reading, it allows a variety of features including annotation, video, audio, sharing reading, and other functions. Blio was an ereading platform designed to include a variety of media formats worked on by Baker and Taylor. It was also interesting to look at. http://www.blioreader.com/

This was followed by another session on ebooks. Mostly this was about the coming changes we should expect in how ebooks and other media are going to be introduced to the library. Overdrive was the most interesting presenter. They talked about the process of how we we have to tell industry what we want. There was a statement that ebooks would be 22-30% of the market five years from now. Electronic books and media are growing extremely fast. I find this to be a little exuberant.

There was an interesting point that many of the changes in the introduction of electronic material to libraries had already been tested out in academic libraries. It seemed a little bit too up front. Academic libraries and public libraries are very different in their mission and content.

Some of the statements very much surprised me. They talked about how there were going to be no hardcover books, more paperbacks, mass market and ebooks. This was a bit strange. I am seeing a dropoff in mainstream publishers hardcover books, but not in specialty hardcover titles from small presses. There has been growth in presses like Subterranean, Nightshade Books, Pyr and other specialty hardcover presses for science fiction. I see more titles with higher prices and more limited runs coming out from these presses. I also see many more oversize hardcover books that are heavily illustrated coming out at more affordable prices.

They talked about how content is going to integrate with your catalog. This reminds me of Bookletters which we recently got to show recommendation lists, widgets, newsletters, and events for our library system. It is additional content to market books integrated with the library catalog. Bookletters is a product of Ingram. Baker and Taylor said their product Blio is designed to integrate with library catalogs. Baker and Taylor says they have already done this with academic libraries with the system called Content Cafe.

The sessions were quite interesting. Some of it took on the older idea of the "library without walls." This is the idea that the library will eventually extend beyond the physical building to manage all the content which is sent outside the building electronically.

There is very much the flavor of the old internet boom days where lots of people were making very wild predictions about what would be happening. There is a constant emphasis on better, faster, cheaper while the backend systems have not changed that much. There are still writers, agents, and publishers. This has not changed that much.

There was a gadget gallery with a variety of devices, the Nook, the Kindle, the Ipad, the Sony Ereader, Blackberry, Android smart phone, and other devices. I got to play with the Ipad and read a bit of the original Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne as an Ipad book. I found the Ipad quite pleasing and easy to read. The pictures were clear, the text was very well defined and easy to manipulate. In comparison, the Kindle was not so easy to read, nor was the Sony Ereader. If it was not so expensive, it would be something that I could easily see having.

I decided to skip the session on international thrillers. I then took some time to wander around through the different conference areas. I found a session called Leading Latino Authors are Representative of a Vibrant Market in room 1B 01 from 3:15-4:15 p.m. , I went there at about three o'clock and I heard a panel of bestselling latin authors; Camillo Cruz, Ph.D., Dr. Ana Nogales, Juan Gomez-Jurado, Matt De La Pena, and Daisy Maria Martinez. It was a refreshing break from library stories. One book that looked quite good was a cookbook, Daisy's Fiesta by Daisy Maria Martinez which is coming out in November.

The final hour was looking around and gabbing with wine, cheese, and appetizers. It was a nice way to spend a late afternoon.

There was enough happening in that one day to decide to skip going to the evening events. I also asked registration about the Book Blogging convention. I have to check on it tomorrow. I am going to relax for the long walk around the exhibitor convention floor tomorrow. Jacob Javits convention floor is bigger than a football field. There will be thousands of books.

This time, I have permission to ship back boxes of books which I find on the convention floor. I have also been asked to take a look at the childrens and young adult books too. I plan on picking up a lot of material to send back.

I handed out a few business cards and did get to pick up one thing for myself. Sterling publishers was giving away free blank journals made from 100% recycled materials. They have a nice feel to them. http://www.ecosystemlife.com/

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