July 20, 2013
Hart Memorial Library, Kissimmee
The recent e-book controversy around the reluctance of the Big 6 now Big 5 publishers to sell or license popular e-books to libraries with reasonable prices and terms has had a positive benefit – it has made librarians more aware of and appreciative of authors and publishers.
On Saturday, July 20th representatives of the Florida Authors and Publishers’ Association (FAPA) (formerly Florida Publishers’ Association) and Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC) board members got together at the Hart Memorial Library in Kissimmee for a conversation about common interests and possible ways to work together.
The informal session gave the participants the opportunity to describe their work and perspectives on the rapidly evolving world of publishing and libraries. All brought an appreciation for the others’ work and roles, some themes emerged and at the end there was an impressive list of follow-up opportunities.
At the start we recognized a significant successful partnership that we can build on. FAPA has an annual “FAPA President’s Book Awards” program and librarians serve as the judges.
One of the issues that shaped the conversation was the recent meteoric rise of self publishing. The authors referred to self publishing frequently and the library participants commented on how self publishing has emerged as a popular DIY program topic.
The author folks helped the librarians understand …
- The self publishing phenomenon.
– Many of the FAPA members are self publishers.
– Many FAPA members write children’s books.
– Writer’s Workshops and FAPA members’ availability as speakers and workshop presenters.
– FAPA is considering offering webinars for members.
– How important discovery and getting their books into libraries is for the author participants.
The library folks helped the author and publishers understand…
- How libraries rely on positive book reviews for purchase decisions.
– How purchasing decisions are often made by a small number of staff that usually does not include the directors.
– How libraries generally buy from aggregators or wholesalers.
– How the library market is segmented (e.g. public, school, academic) and how that affects communicating with and selling to libraries.
– How some libraries already host writer’s groups.
– How libraries have different policies regarding authors selling books at events – and this sensitized the library folks to how authors need to be able to sell books, even it’s only a few, to help cover costs.
– How libraries use of digital rights management (DRM) to circulate ebooks using the 1 book / 1 borrower approach.
Outcomes and Follow-Up
- The library participants will assemble material about how publishers and authors can sell their books – especially ebooks, to libraries.
– The library participants will explore having an Authors, Publishers, & Librarians session at the Florida Library Association Meeting.
– FAPA has plans for posting links to their members’ pages which will enable library folks can discover them and find out about their books.
– FAPA will assemble a list of their members who are available for workshops in libraries on topics like How to Write and Publish Your Book, How to Write Your Memoirs, and How to Self Publish Your Book. They will share the list and the library participants will circulate it throughout the library community.
– Library folks will distribute lists of the FAPA award winners within the library community, including the k-12 school community.
– The participants discussed how FAPA could become a clearinghouse for authors and publishers seeking to sell ebooks to libraries for uploading to OverDrive or placing on servers using Douglas County or Califa model.
That is an impressive list of follow-up activities and most can be easily accomplished. At the day’s end all of the participants commented on how positive and helpful the session was and how it seemed to exceeded everyone’s expectations.
And the most significant outcomes are a stronger relationship and the recognition that the session was just a beginning.