Category: Libraries

Save the date: Ashland Book & Author Festival

By Midge Raymond,

Save the date, readers & writers!

The Ashland Book & Author Festival will take place at Southern Oregon University’s fabulous Hannon Library on Saturday, October 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events include readings, workshops, panels, a book fair, children’s events — and raffles and drawings to win great prizes (i.e., books!).

Among the highlights…
At 11 a.m…
The SOU Women’s Resource Center and Alma Rosa Alvarez, Amanda Singh Bans, Marianne Golding, and Precious Yamaguchi present The Worlds of Women, a panel discussion exploring women’s narratives from multicultural perspectives.

Tod Davies presents Truths of Imagination: The Importance of Story.

The Southern Oregon Literary Alliance will make its debut appearance in the Rogue Valley literary scene. In this presentation, SOLA members will introduce the organization, take questions and suggestions from the community, and invite participation in a raffle to win books from local publishers.
At 11:30 a.m…

I’m presenting Writing About Place: A Journey for Readers & Writers, featuring readings and writing tips for turning journeys into compelling stories.

Evan Morgan Williams presents Publishing Your Story Collection with a Small Press, his strategy and tactics for winning a small-press book prize.


At 12:30 p.m….
Molly Tinsley presents Behind the Waterfall/Behind the Scenes, a reading from her debut middle-grade novel featuring twins, along with a talk about its crafting in consultation with twins.

The panel discussion Killer Crime includes Carol Beers, Sharon Dean, Michael Niemann, Clive Rosengren, and Tim Wohlforth.


At 1 p.m….

John Yunker presents Environmental Activism in Fiction — a reading from his novel The Tourist Trail, with a question-and -nswer session about environmental fiction in the age of climate change.

Ed Battistella presents Sorry About That, a short reading and question-and-answer session on Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology, and a preview of new material in the paperback edition.


At 2 p.m….
Local indie publishers present Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Publishing But Were Afraid To Ask (So Ask!). Speakers include Tod Davies, Midge Raymond, Molly Tinsley, and John Yunker. Moderated by Ed Battistella.

Michael Niemann presents Legitimate Business, a short reading and a discussion of gun smuggling.


Check out the full schedule for more event listings — and don’t forget to stop by to see us at the Southern Oregon Literary Alliance booth!

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 12.38.28 PM


Checking out an e-book at your (virtual) library

By John Yunker,


The idea that you have to visit your local library in person is one that I still can’t kick (maybe because I still love going to the library).

But the fact is, with a growing number of libraries, you can now check out and read books without leaving your house.

Of course, you do need an e-book reader — and this is where things can get complicated.

But if you’re up to the task, here’s a great how-to article on how to use your iPhone, iPod, or IPad to borrow a book from your local library.

The article focuses on using OverDrive, which is service provider that most libraries use to manage the whole process.

Most of our books are available on Overdrive. And if you want to see if your local library has our e-books on hand, go here and do a search. For example, a search on Balance of Fragile Things brings up this entry:

OverDrive Balance of Fragile Things

And, if you can’t find the book you want, you can send a digital request to the library for our books, which the library can then add to its collection.

Happy (e)reading.

If e-books are the new paperbacks, why are they so expensive?

By John Yunker,

I’m not the only one who’s been saying that paperbacks are the new hardcovers, and e-books are the new paperbacks.

Paperbacks are getting more expensive as publishers go with smaller print runs or print-on-demand (like us).

And e-books are generally priced under $10, due in part to Amazon’s revenue-share incentives, but also due to the fact that people expect e-books to cost less than print books.

Yet not all ebooks are priced lower than their print counterparts.

This article in The Wall Street Journal focuses on a number of books that are more expensive as e-books than hardcovers. The articles notes:

Take Ken Follett’s massive novel “Fall of Giants,” for example, which costs $18.99 as an e-book. On Wednesday it was selling for $16.50 as a paperback on Amazon.

Now, this is just plain crazy, and, I suspect, an anomaly.

Major publishers want (need) e-books to be priced over $10. Author contracts assume books will be priced a certain way, and a great deal of marketing/editing/sales costs are all built upon the idea of a book being priced a certain way. But book buyers expect e-books to be priced under $10.

Yet the good news for small publishers, as well as self-published writers, is that “the little guys” are more open to pricing books aggressively in order to find new readers willing to take a chance on new authors.

However, should a book — a labor of love that took years to create, many months to edit, and weeks to design — cost a mere $2.99, or 99 cents? I don’t think these prices are sustainable either, unless we live in a world of only bestsellers. But I do think e-books can cost somewhere between $3 and $10 and support a healthy publishing ecosystem.

It’s more of a problem when e-books are priced too high; the major publishers have been battling with libraries over the pricing and management of e-books, as I discussed in this post. As I mentioned there, the e-book of Fifty Shades of Grey sells on Amazon for $9.99, while libraries pay $47.85 per copy. Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is $12.00 on Amazon, but it’s $81.00 for libraries on 3M and OverDrive.

As for Ashland Creek Press, our e-books are the same price for libraries as they are for readers — and our e-book pricing comes in at roughly half of the print book pricing.

And it looks as though libraries are paying attention to these lower-priced books; as Publishers Weekly reports, the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado announced recently that they will nearly double the number of e-books available to patrons via a roughly $40,0000 deal to acquire 10,000 e-book titles from independent and self-publishing service provider Smashwords.

It’s clear that print books aren’t going away, but it’s also clear that e-books aren’t either. Publishers need to find their sweet spot in pricing so that they keep their readers (and libraries).

When we say we love libraries, we mean it

By John Yunker,

This is not exactly mainstream news, but the major publishers have been battling with libraries for the past few years over the pricing and management of e-books.

It boils down the money, basically. Publishers have been increasing the price of e-books to more than triple the price of the equivalent paper books. To get an idea, check out this recent price list developed by Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries here (PDF). A recent Publishers Weekly article noted that the e-book of Fifty Shades of Grey sells on Amazon for $9.99, while libraries pay $47.85 per copy. Laura Hillenbrands’s Unbroken is $12.00 on Amazon, but it’s $81.00 for libraries on 3M and OverDrive.

Why, you may ask, are publishers charging more for something that costs them far less?

Among many reasons is this: print books wear out over a few years, forcing libraries to purchase more — while e-books are, in theory, forever.

So some publishers want e-books to have a built-in lifespan to them. Or a limited number of times an e-book can be checked out.

I’m not kidding.

And some publishers have simply decided not to see some e-books to libraries.

The president of the American Library Association recently posted an open letter to three of the world’s largest publishers. It reads:

It’s a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability to buy a company’s product and is told its money is “no good here.” Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishers’ products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing ebooks from three of the largest publishers in the world. Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin have been denying access to their ebooks for our nation’s 112,000 libraries and roughly 169 million public library users.

Let’s be clear on what this means: If our libraries’ digital bookshelves mirrored the New York Times fiction bestseller list, we would be missing half of our collection any given week due to these publishers’ policies. The popular Bared to You and The Glass Castle are not available in libraries because libraries cannot purchase them at any price. Today’s teens also will not find the digital copy of Judy Blume’s seminal Forever, nor today’s blockbuster “Hunger Games” series.

Not all publishers are following the path of these three publishers. In fact, hundreds of publishers of ebooks have embraced the opportunity to create new sales and reach readers through our nation’s libraries. One recent innovation allows library patrons to immediately purchase an ebook if the library doesn’t have a copy or if there is a wait list they would like to avoid. This offers a win-win relationship for both publishers and library users since recent research from the Pew Internet Project tells us that library users are more than twice as likely to have bought their most recent book as to have borrowed it from a library.

While we at Ashland Creek Press have only a small number of e-books to offer libraries, we have priced our books roughly in line with what the general public pays. We will sometimes discount e-books here and there on Amazon or Apple (or they will do the discounting automatically for us).

But we will never price our e-books at more than the cost of a print book.  That’s not right.

In fact, our e-book pricing comes in at roughly half the print book pricing.

And we are pleased that most of our e-books are now available for libraries via the 3M and OverDrive platforms. We’re also eager to work with California libraries with their e-book initiative.

It’s easy for publishers to say they love libraries. But too many are now trying to gouge libraries.

When we say we love libraries, we mean it.