We published the Library Publishing Toolkit on August 1st and reflecting upon this hybrid publication, free online or pay for print, we wanted to share what happened since publication.
We had some 3,680 views in August, according to WordPress, and we had 1,881 unique visitors and 2,223 visits according to Google Analytics. Google Analytics shows of these 2.2K visits 1,793 were from the U.S. It is wonderful to see how widespread the readership is of this publication, here is some of that data…
And a whole lot of countries worldwide with 1’s…
So why are we sharing the details of use data?
We think it says something about interest, investment, and economics…
This hybrid publication, free online and pay for the print was extremely successful and rewarding on a variety of levels. We are very pleased the library community is interested in library publishing.
Second, simple math, the Library Publishing Toolkit was made thanks to an investment of $10K USD, and like most scholarly compilations, the time and talents of many authors. For the month of August alone, the cost per use of the online version amounts to approximately $5.31 USD (simple division of $10K/1,881 unique visits). The overall cost/use will actually lower with time, as more people visit the site. Not bad given the cost to purchase books, on average, is so much higher.
Third, how about a simple comparison… let’s imagine the print model delivery costs in a traditional library print model:
- Cost for library to purchase a print book: $83.59 according to YBP’s Annual Book Price Update: http://www.ybp.com/book_price_update.html
- Preparation Cost: cost of cataloging, labeling, shelving. Not Determined.
- Cost of resource sharing borrowing average at $9.62 and lending average at $3.93, according to Lars Leon and Nancy Kress’s article in Interlending & Document Supply
Had those 1,881 unique visits all led to a purchase of a print version of the Library Publishing Toolkit, at the average cost of print books, the cost total would be about: $157,232 USD – not bad, but raising those funds was highly unlikely; instead, we raised the readership and invested in the community. One admission, we did sell 52 print copies of the Library Publishing Toolkit in the first month. Although this title is a free ebook, many are buying the 380+ page book because it is selling for around $8, not $83.59.
So, let’s shift the perspective a bit…
As of September 1, 2013, there are 11 libraries that have attached their holdings to the print record. So had the readers placed some 1,881 interlibrary loan requests for the book, with a rough average cost to libraries ($13.55 lending + borrowing, not including lending charges and international shipping) the cost would be at least $25,487. Noting that 430 visitors were international would certainly make the projected cost much higher.
Library publishing services can make an enormous difference, what that difference will be depends on where we go now?
For Milne Library, in addition to some 30+ reprints and some 16 open textbooks in the publication workflow, we are considering an Alumni series, and possible consortial models. The Milne Publishing Team continues to develop tools that help us develop roles and workflows that scale and can be shared practices. Lastly, we are developing an ambitious plan for creating an Open Learning Toolkit that could be extremely useful to libraries, the academy, and learning, but that is another story.
Thanks for your interest everyone, best wishes.
Print Record: 11 holdings http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/855052680 one in Ireland – thanks National University of Ireland.
ebook Record: 5 holdings http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/854849143
Chapter Record: 1 holding http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/854985122