Fun and Cool Facts

  • For all of you who are interested in self-publishing, either as a personal endeavor or out of academic interest, did you know that a not-insignificant cost for self-publishing comes from purchasing ISBNs for your books? An ISNB, as the ISBN website kindly informs us, is a string of digits that uniquely identifies a title and “is required if you want to sell your books in bookstores and place it in libraries”. A single ISBN costs $125. The reason this cost may escalate is because for each format in which you want to issue your book, you need a different ISBN. If you want to publish your (e-)book as an EPUB, that’s one ISBN and $125; as a PDF, that’s another ISNB and another $125; as a MOBI, another . . . well, you get the point. The good news is that these ISBNs get as cheap as $100/each if you buy them in them in the thousands. Better get cracking on being prolific!
  • Potentially only “fun and cool” to me, but my home institution library buys books by American authors that are published first, or simultaneously, in the US from the UK. That is, the library buys the international, UK editions of books for which the US versions are just as — and most probably, more — easily obtainable. Of course, it doesn’t do this for every title, but I’ve seen at least a couple of instances where this happened. I don’t know, and wouldn’t think, that there’s a rationale for this. Although only a speculation, I’m of the opinion that this is happening through oversight. After all, when your institution is regularly purchasing thousands of books a week (not a hyperbole), and most of those purchases are (by necessity) via blanket orders and approval plans, then some strange purchasing decisions will inevitably surface in your collections. Do you know of examples where inexplicable things have shown up in your library collection? Or do you know why it may be perfectly rational to buy an international edition of a book when a domestic version is handily available?
  • According to data that a guest speaker to our class presented (originally collected from compete.com), Google Scholar makes up less than 1% of the Google homepage search traffic; Google Books about 3%. The most popular subdomain to the Library of Congress website is memory.loc.gov which is the American Memory collection. Following closely behind is thomas.loc.gov, a collection that contains legislative information, e.g. bills, statutes, US Code of Law. Finally, my home institution main page is more popular than both of the LOC subdomains listed above, and it handily beats WorldCat as well.
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