AAUP 2008: Selling to Libraries 2 (S. Havlish)

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  • Hello again. My topic is book data , how we compile and present the information librarians use to make their buying decisions. As I was researching this segment, I realized there is a wide range of experience with some of these data issues, so I’ve tried to keep the language fairly broad. And a note for anyone who is interested: There is a Focus Session called “H o w Meta Is Your Data ” at 5:00 today.
  • A: Librarians want information, and lots of it. After reviewing the AAUP/Library survey, I took some Vanderbilt Librarians to coffee and picked their brains, especially about data management. What they told me reinforced the findings in the survey. In general . . . Librarians want access to as much information as possible about a book, especially tables of contents, authors’ previous publications. Pre-pub reviews are very important; post-pub reviews not as much. (But faculty requests are very important, and those are frequently based on post-pub reviews.) Printed seasonal catalogs are not very useful; would prefer subject catalogs, with new listings highlighted, and include the backlist. “C a talogs ” don’t have to be print, but emails are too easy to toss. The more closely the information matches with their profile, the easier the decision to buy ( “T h e YBP slip determines my buy ” said one).
  • A. It’s not just catalog copy anymore. And it’s not just ONIX. Back in the day, pubishers simply sent their seasonal catalogs to distributors, libraries, and other potential customers, and those customers picked the information they needed and made their own filing cards, or purchase orders, or cataloging notes notes. If they wanted an ISBN with hyphens, they used hyphens. If they didn’t want hyphens, no hyphens. Bowker regularly sent us hard copies of our listings for Books in Print, and we updated the big printout sheets by hand and sent them back. Then came databases, and separate databases for every book repository, wholesaler, retailer, internet library. “ D a ta ” also came to include book jacket images and review quotes, and now we have audio and video, too. And logistically, it was a nightmare. Until a couple of years ago, I had huge lined sheets across my office wall, tracking whether a book, the jacket image, and updated reviews had been furnished to all the various vendors and sites. And the department spent a lot of time making all these changes and updates--not marketing and selling.
  • We solved that problem by subscribing to a title management service, who takes our information *once*, then translates it and distributes it regularly to Bowker, wholesalers, retailers, even custom-made accounts, including our own web site. CLICK THROUGH AND DEMONSTRATE NETREAD Now: Amazon’s ISBN will never be different from Ingram’s. Barnes & Noble’s list price will be the same as our own website’s. And we can add: - Reviews - Illustrations - Audio - Video - Websites NOTE: If you have the IT capability to use your own book information database to translate (especially into/out of ONIX), transmit, and update, you are well ahead of the game and can expand your data slots to house more than text-only.
  • A: Yes. And no. Maybe. The librarians in the survey were split among those who said they did not want catalogs and those who did. But the survey did not distinguish “c a talogs ” between seasonal and subject, which I believe resulted in the apparent contradiction. Survey respondents and everyone I talked with at the Charleston Conference last year stressed their need to get to the information when, where, and how they wanted it. So keep your website and data transmittal up to date and comprehensive. MODEST PROPOSAL : HOW CAN WE BE SURE A LIBRARIAN IS GETTING WHAT THEY NEED, EITHER PRINTED OR ELECTRONIC? A: We can ask them.
  • A: IMHO, yes. Here’s why: - We make presentations to buyers at B&N, for instance, based on month of publication, not on what catalog it’s in. - PW (and others) reviews based on month, not catalog - If we get a book in we don’t have to wait for a catalog to get it out We can announce books by month, rather than by season. Utilizing a title management service has not only saved time and energy and reduced errors with vendors, but are now able to email “A d vance Title Information ” notices to vendors and any others who have signed up to receive notices. And a couple of other items about just-in-time announcing: - Just-in-time buying - Just-in-time printing - Returns will be reduced
  • - Flexibility - Multimedia Capacity - Publisher Control - Speed - Affordability

Transcript

  • 1. Sue Havlish, Vanderbilt University Press [email_address] Data Wrangling -or- “ Catalogs? We Don’t Need No Stinking Catalogs”
  • 2. What Do Librarians Want?
    • Information, and lots of it
    • Printed seasonal catalogs not as useful as subject catalogs
    • The more tailored the information, the easier the buying decision
  • 3. What Constitutes “Data”?
    • Not simply catalog copy
    • But not just ONIX, either
    • Whatever it is, needs to be flexible
    • Images, audio, video, reviews . . .
  • 4. Title/Data Management Service
    • What a title management service looks like
    • Feeds multiple databases, including our own website
    • Can generate single- or multiple title announcements to an email list publisher specifies
  • 5. Do Librarians Still Want Printed Catalogs?
    • Yes
    • And no
    • Well, it depends—just be sure they have access to as much information as possible
  • 6. Is “Season” an Outdated Concept?
    • IMHO: yes (e.g., B&N presentations are for 5-mo titles, no matter what catalog)
    • Information as far in advance as possible for long-range planning
    • But just-in-time buying
    • Will POD pave the way to no returns?
  • 7. Overheard Numerous Times at the Charleston Conference:
    • “ If it’s not digital, it’s invisible.”
    • That goes for data, too.
    • Thank you.