Sunday, August 15, 2010

MediaWeek (Vol 3, No 33): Lynd Ward, Report on eBooks in Libraries, OCLC WMS, Arcade Fire

From the Seattle PI Blog:
In what just might be one of the publishing surprises and hi-spots of 2010, The Library of America will release a 2 volume boxed set featuring the six woodcut novels of Lynd Ward. God's Man, Ward's first book published on the eve of the stock market collapse of 1929, was the first wordless book-length novel to be published in the United States. By the end of 1937 Ward would publish five more novels in woodcuts: Madman's Drum (1930) Wild Pilgrimage (1932) Prelude to a Million Years (1933) Song Without Words (1936) Vertigo (1937) If one is looking for the origins of the graphic novel in the United States one must begin with Ward. His work has influenced a generation of artists, poets and illustrators and continues to inspire those seeking justice and equality for all.
Library Journal report on a study commissioned by COSLA that takes a look at eBooks in libraries. It is a very interesting report with both situational analysis and recommendations. LJ's summary is good but the entire report is worth a read (LJ):
A provocative new report released today by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) on the upheaval caused by ebooks asks, "Is it different this time?" The answer, in "eBook Feasibility Study for Public Libraries," is a resounding yes, including a call for a national buying pool to buy ebooks--a tactic likely to face pushback from publishers and distributors. Still, the report serves as a rallying cry. "We want to create our destiny," COSLA says of the venture. "We want to be ready. We are tired of allowing others to decide these things for public libraries." The 53-page report consists of findings collected from interviews with ten library managers, covering a variety of topics and concerns--which were then discussed with other industry experts. Given the potential for e-reading to change the emphasis from libraries away from repositories of print, the report also suggests public libraries emphasize their role as community centers for learning and events. ... The paltry nature of ebook collections available to libraries in comparison to consumer offerings prompts the report's most action-oriented suggestion: A single, national purchasing point for eBooks combined with expert selection, tough negotiation, and data mining that gives members a compelling story for local funders is a different beast from consortia that mostly fill operations or content gaps for have-not libraries. It forces a reckoning and concentrates eBook access to create real leverage. But it's a steep climb from where we are. Inspiration and leadership will be key. Indeed, major concerns about redirecting local funds to such an umbrella effort have been raised. The slightly weaker--though far more prevalent--formulation offered is to increase pressure on vendors and publishers, thus pushing for thus pushing for lower prices, standardized formats, and fewer digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. But libraries face firm opposition, according to the report: "Publishers want library models that collect payment for every use"--as is the model in the UK--"lease access instead of sell objects, or have digital rights that enforce methods that worked for print, such as one copy one user."

OCLC's web-scale management system is in beta test with several libraries (AmLib):

The much-hyped OCLC Web-scale Management Services (WMS) moved from pilot phase to production last month with the release of acquisitions and circulation components to around 30 early adopters. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has posted an ambitious timeline that would make it the first institution to go live with the product on August 30; Pepperdine University Libraries in Malibu, California, is slated to come in second with a projected go-live date of October 11. Calling WMS “the future of the ILS,” UTC’s Jason Griffey, project lead for the WMS migration, told American Libraries that “using a centralized database of bibliographic records like WorldCat means that you simplify pretty much every other aspect of back-office procedures.” Web-scale Management Services moves acquisitions, circulation, and patron management into the cloud, putting those functions alongside WorldCat Local; the aim is to make workflows more efficient by automating critical back-office operations and reducing software support costs.

The New Yorker looks at how Arcade Fire represents both change and statis in the recording industry (New Yorker):

Well-known acts like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have taken widely publicized steps to conduct business outside the major-label system, sometimes in experimental ways, such as leaving tracks from upcoming albums on U.S.B. drives in bathrooms to be discovered by fans. But both bands had spent more than a decade on major labels, building their audiences with the marketing power of large corporations behind them. In the U.S., Arcade Fire has only ever worked with Merge Records, an independent label from North Carolina, which was started by the musicians Mac McCaughan and Laura Balance, in 1989. The band often records its albums in its own studios, to exacting and personal specifications, and retains ownership of the music, which it licenses to Merge. Its previous two albums have gone gold, or close to it, and “The Suburbs” is expected to do the same, or better. The new album is driven by the perfervid, jerry-rigged noise that has become Arcade Fire’s trademark, but it stretches over a deceptively calm sixty-four minutes. The lead singer, Win Butler, takes a surprising tack: the characters on this album aren’t all drowning, or caught in serial crises—they are getting on with things, and hoping to have children. Even as “The Suburbs” follows characters across lawns and through strip malls, it avoids obvious finger-wagging. Arcade Fire has previously worked in an epic mode, favoring anthems over smaller, more specific songs, but here its widely reported and entirely genuine energy is channeled, with nothing wasted—not a bonfire but a series of pilot lights. Watching an independent band sell out the Garden and top the charts while compromising very little—Arcade Fire released eight different album covers for “The Suburbs”—is inspiring, but it isn’t a complete revolution. The band still has a manager and a label who work on its behalf, commercially and artistically. Scott Rodger, Arcade Fire’s manager, described the label’s role as “manufacturing and distribution—floating the expense, executing the marketing and retail plans that we have approved, and insuring that the music is available on all credible D.S.P.s,” or digital service platforms.

From the twitter last week (@personanondata):

It's official: Trenton's four library branches are closed - Trentonian

Buenos Aires Herald What's going on in BA book retailing you ask? Their hot 20 titles.

Publishing Economics: A $625 Cookbook NPR

Borders Group lays off more employees at Ann Arbor headquarters -

"Heeere's Johnny!" Carson Entertainment Group Unveils 30-Year Carson Library Carson And Steven Wright

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