Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nominate 2007 Movers & Shakers

Know someone who needs to be named one of Library Journal's Movers & Shakers? Nominate them now: The deadline is November 1, 2006.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Amazon as publisher?

I'm not sure how many people have noticed this:

Click on the picture for a bigger version.

This is a screen shot I did today of the page for Nora Roberts' upcoming book "Dance of the Gods". Amazon is soliciting the electronic rights of books from the rights holder (author or publisher). Click here for a shot from lower down on the page. (#1 is to show it's from her page, #2 is the solicitation.)

The solicitation appears on every book page on Amazon. I don't know which rights they're specifically requesting (ie. certain formats, certain distribution, etc.), but I find it interesting that Amazon is seeking to act as a publisher. A bookstore becoming a publisher is nothing new. Example: The Poisoned Pen Press. It even makes sense as Amazon is an online bookstore and they already own Booksurge, one of the larger Print On Demand vendors. And it may even be they look at it as more of a distribution model rather than a publishing model (especially since they're looking to contract with publishers and this is only for books currently on sale with Amazon).

In case you didn't know it, Amazon used to carry electronic versions of books that were publisher generated. They discontinued that practice in August. According to the notice I received from one of my publishers, this was because Amazon had recently acquired Mobipocket. Mobipocket is a proprietary format in the way PDF and LIT (Microsoft) are (ie. you need a reader). In that same notice, it stated that secured PDF or LIT formats would be sold through Amazon. I just went through with some random titles that I know are available in electronic format and found their print versions for sale on Amazon. One title had a CD-ROM version also for sale, but that was it in terms of electronic copies.

So, why am I bringing this up at all? Well, I have a very strong interest in the publishing field from an author standpoint. And, if Amazon is to be successful in this venture, could libraries be dealing with them as a potential vendor of electronic titles? Amazon already offers purchasing and library processing services similar to B&T and Ingrams. Why not compete with NetLibrary and Overdrive?

I would say not now. Browsing through the current bestseller list (Top 10), not one is currently offered as an ebook version. How successful could they be? I don't know. When I was asked ten years ago by a professor, who knew of my interest of one day owning a bookstore, about the chances of Amazon succeeding, I said that they could be successful but that brick and mortar stores aren't going to go away. I was right in that respect, but there was no way I could have predicted how large a business entity Amazon has become. Amazon has proven itself as a significant player in the online marketplace. This is a new venture and and any prediction for success or failure would be premature. I for one will be watching what their next step is.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

And it comes full circle

A little over three years ago, I started this blog to chronicle the job search process. When I finally landed a full-time position, I kind of lost my purpose for it as I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to write about my work situation in a public manner. I still don’t. Also, working a full-time job and commuting up to two hours each day didn’t leave me much time to still have a life and find things to post about here. I’m not writing this to say goodbye. Rather, I’m writing to let you know I’m job hunting again.

My supervisors know this, so it’s not like it’s a hush-hush kind of thing. I will not be posting any details of where I’m applying to, nor when I’m applying to positions. I’ve recently had a number of people e-mail me regarding my thoughts on job hunting in this profession. Sadly, I haven’t gotten back to them. Mainly, this is because a couple of them e-mailed me right when I was having particularly negative thoughts on this general situation. I’d rather not be the person people point to as “she’s the reason why I left the profession!” I’m not a gloom and doom person, but as I do live in an area where one library school is located and at least three other schools feed directly into, I have a certain perspective.

I’m approaching my third year anniversary. I’m in a smaller library. While I’m not in a rush to leave my position, I do know that there is very little growth potential in terms of salary and responsibility. As I’ve been looking at jobs, and I’m not limiting myself to my current geographic location (it’s freaking expensive here!), I have been noticing that there seem to be few opportunities open to me. I see an inverted bell curve, meaning, a lot of the positions seem to be either entry-level (or entry-level salary requiring more experience than I have) or administration. I have definite ideas on what my strengths and interests are. As well as financial requirements. Very few of the full-time positions posted are what I’m looking for, or if they are, they require more years experience than I have. For all of those people out there who keep touting the “Great Librarian Shortage” here’s an exercise I’d like you to try. Pretend that you’re a librarian with 2-3 years public library experience, are currently making $36,000, have $15,000 in student loans ($250 monthly payment), $8000 in credit card debt (that’s apparently the average credit card debt across the nation and it has a $200 minimum monthly payment), and have monthly car payments of $300 for the next two years. These are not my numbers, but they’re about average for someone my age. Okay, your task is to find a position to apply for. It can be anywhere in the country and in any area of librarianship. Keep in mind that the debt I mentioned above is fixed and IT WILL NOT CHANGE JUST BECAUSE THE COST OF LIVING IS LESS. Your rent might be less, but that’s about it. Oh, and you’re single. You do not have a secondary income to help support you.

If you can find something, please, let me and my readers know :)

Oh, and for those who’ve e-mailed me and I haven’t gotten back to yet, I will. I’m just a little slow right now.