From the Director

Library news and happenings.

Borrow a Book, Buy a Book

The used book business is booming, according to a recent article in Publishers Weekly. The internet and the economy are driving supply and demand. The internet has greatly expanding the buying and selling opportunities for used books, while economically some booksellers report long-time collectors are selling their collections and downsizing.

Some bookstores report more business in used books than new books, both in their store and on their website and have devoted more floor space and staff resources accordingly.

Of course if you are a public library user, you check out books from us rather than purchase them BUT we know folks want to own some books and have their own personal library. We librarians feel the same way!

As a KPL user, you can have easily have it both ways. Our very good friends, the Friends of KPL, operate the bookstore on the lower level of Central Library. They have only used books and very gently priced, less than on the internet or at most other used bookstores, and to make it even better, the revenue from the bookstore supports library programs and services, such as our just-completed Summer Reading games.

Come visit the library and the Friends Bookstore – borrow a book, buy a book.


Friends Bookstore

Farewell and Best Wishes

Six, long-time, KPL employees will be retiring over the summer; August 31 is the last day for most of them. This is more staff than typically retire in a year, in fact, it is about three year’s worth rolled into one summer.

Prior to 1990, KPL was a school district public library governed by the KPS School Board. Our employees were in the public school employee retirement system. When we became an independent district library in 1990, those employees remained in that system, while new employees joined a different one.

The state is offering a combination of incentives to those in the public school employee retirement system to retire by August 31. We have 18 eligible employees; six accepted the offer to retire this summer.

KPL has been a much better place for the combined decades of service from these six staff members. They answered reference questions, checked out materials, conducted programs, oversaw our personnel activities, coordinated meeting room usage, represented KPL in the community, helped chart the direction of the library.

We will miss them all, as colleagues and work-place friends, but we know they will continue to offer input - now it will be from the perspective of library patron rather than library staff member!

My heartfelt thanks goes to each one for their dedication to KPL and our patrons. My best wishes as they move on to the next chapter in life, hopefully with more time to read all those books that have passed through their hands over the years.



Publishing Changes

It seems as if every popular magazine or newspaper I pick up has an article about ebooks, downloading content, changes in the compensation model for authors and publishers. The professional journals and newsletters I read, take those very same topics and examine them from the library perspective – how will libraries be impacted by these changes, how can we stay current and relevant to our patrons.

A recent issue of Newsweek included an article on self-publishing. One author was unable to find a publisher for his first novel, decided to upload it to the Amazon Kindle Store, sold many copies, attracted the attention of a publisher, his book was published in hardcover. This is the opposite of the usual route.

This nontraditional route is becoming increasingly common. Print-on-demand is also a rapidly developing new model for publishing. One author reports earning more money per ebook than per hardcover – basically the middleman has been cut out in that model.

I like a quote in the article: “The gatekeepers have become who they should have been in the first place: the readers.” We readers decide what we want to read, in what format we want to read it, and if we want to buy it or check it out from the library. Some authors attribute the success of books published in these nontraditional ways to user generated reviews….we readers express our opinions freely and now increasingly widely.

Clearly these publishing changes will impact public libraries. We’ll follow developments closely. As those who read move increasingly into ebooks and downloadable content, we’ll provide more and more books in those formats too, but we’ll continue to have the traditional print books for quite some time.

Personally, I still prefer a traditional book, especially for the beach, but since I wrote my last blog entry, I’ve seen my first e-reader on the Lake Michigan beach.


The self-publishing manual : how to write, print, and sell your own book by Dan Poynter

Beach Reading “Survey”!

Last Sunday, I walked about 45 minutes along the Lake Michigan beach. It was a perfect beach day with lots of folks swimming in the warmer-than-usual lake and sunbathing. Many of the sunbathers were also reading. As I walked, I tried to see what they were reading.

Most were holding mass market paperbacks or magazines. I didn’t notice one single e-reader in spite of the recent e-reader ads that tout how well they work on a sunny day at the beach. I noticed many reading one of the page turners from Stieg Larsson, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Girl Who Played with Fire; Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I could tell from the cover graphics, that many were holding mysteries, but I couldn’t see the titles. People was a popular magazine choice that day.

After my walk, I returned to my beach chair and continued reading Let the Great World Spin, the August title for my book group. I’m looking forward to the discussion – there’s much to talk about in this one.

What are you reading on the beach or in your back yard this summer? And don’t forget to add it to your reading log for the grown-up summer reading game.


Summer Reading

There’s an e-Book in Your Future!

Several times recently, I’ve said or written my prediction that traditional printed books will continue to be our focus for the remainder of my library career. If that prediction is going to be true, it’s a good thing I’m nearer the end of my career than the beginning!

It seems almost every publication I read lately, has an article about e-books. Amazon has announced sales of digital books increased 207% in the first five months of the year and it sells more books for its Kindle e-reader than it does traditional hardcover volumes. Last month they sold nearly twice as many Kindle books as hardcover ones.

Barnes & Noble reports physical books, as opposed to digital ones, will be the majority of its sales for the next five years but their future is bright with the Nook, their e-reader. Publishers still depend on bookstores to display their books and promote authors and they are a destination to test new products. They see a market for both.

Other publications report that authors are now bypassing publishers and posting older works or unpublished works directly on Amazon in exchange for 70% of the sales price. Many authors are reportedly earning more from such e-book sales than from hardcover sales, consistent with Amazon’s overall sales direction.

Of course this all has implications for libraries. Some are proposing inviting authors to share their works directly with libraries in digital format with libraries paying for each transaction. Some suggest a central depository for libraries to draw on and pay per download. All agree such an approach would require a coordinated effort – no individual library could accomplish this to any significant degree on its own.

I still stand by my prediction that traditional printed books will dominate during the remainder of my library career but I certainly see the shift to digital books and their advantages. That shift to a major focus on digital with printed books as almost an aside, could well happen during the career of our younger librarians.

Although we do have e-readers and e-books to check out, traditional printed books are still our mainstay and will be for some time.

Come visit soon; check out a traditional printed book OR an e-book!