Balanced Libraries, a new title by Walt Crawford

Mazel tov to Walt Crawford on the publication of his new book Balanced Libraries. Walt published this book via Lulu Press and has devoted some space in his most recent issue of Cites and Insights to discussing how the Lulu Experience worked for him.

I’ve spent some of the last week going back and forth with editors of various things I’ve written. In one case an article I’d written had a blurb that I felt totally missed the point of my article, and in another case the changing of an ellipsis to a period made the last paragraph of a book introduction I wrote come across in a way I hadn’t intended. I decided not to continue co-editing a column for Serials Review because the sheer amount of process involved in communicating with Elsevier — making sure each web-page citation was in proper CMS style, getting a ton of automated email, most of which I was directed to ignore — wasn’t worth it for me. Every time, I was working with great editors, but there is only so much they can do between the time an article is written and the time it appears in print. No one enjoys being edited, but I think for most of us it’s the cost of doing business.

Between Walt’s Lulu experience and the books that Rory has been putting out as part of Library Juice Press — which I shamefully confess to having received and not yet had time to read but man do they look lovely — there are now alternatives to the slow intractable schedules and my-way-or-the-highway agreements that print publication has given us. Granted, these may not be legitimate in the eyes of tenure-granters, but not all of us are looking for tenure nowadays. I wish this shift were giving more of us bargaining power with existing print publishers, or changing the way they do business somewhat, but my feeling is that it will.

7 comments for “Balanced Libraries, a new title by Walt Crawford

  1. 24Mar07 at 2:54

    Shorter version since I missed the word. Thanks for the note. I probably need to do an essay on when self-publishing does or doesn’t make sense, or at least thoughts toward that…and what sort of self-publishing makes sense in different cases.

    Otherwise, just a slight correction: It’s just Lulu, not Lulu Press. If there is an imprint for the book, it’s Cites & Insights Books–albeit with no city or state, at least in the current edition. Lulu (or Lulu.com) is exceptionally clear about being a service provider and nothing more. (The book I’d purchased to try Lulu’s book quality refers to “Lulu.com edition” but doesn’t carry a logo or imprint.)

  2. 24Mar07 at 3:18

    Thanks for mentioning Library Juice Press, Jessamyn. I should clarify that while we are accepting manuscripts we have a pretty narrow publishing profile and pretty high standards (higher than McFarland or Chandos, imo). Also, because everyone involved is working on it on top of regular jobs, we are only able to put out four or five titles in a year. This means that for most people reading this who would like to do a book about librarianship, Library Juice Press is actually probably not an option for them. We’re interesting in getting a spot on the map as a politically progressive (Left) publisher in librarianship, but equally interested in earning a reputation as a publisher that puts out high quality works. We have about a half a dozen projects in progress now for the next year or two, and there is room for a couple more titles, but they would have to be right in our areas and they would have to be really good. Maybe in a few years we will be an acceptable imprint in a tenure review.

  3. 24Mar07 at 8:26

    I self-published a book using Lulu.com last summer (a personal project that isn’t publicly available), and I will second Walt’s experience. I found the service and quality to be very good, and am looking forward to using their service again.

    My project was a hardcover book with a dust jacket, and it looks and feels as durable as any non-library bound book I have handled.

    One difference is that I used OpenOffice.org to create the book. OO.org’s built-in Pdf export feature made the creation of everything in the project very predictable, and the only limitations were the limitation of using a word processor to design page layouts.

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