Friday, May 18, 2012

We Made Some Matches, Lighting Them is Up To You launched at noon yesterday. It was a good day, which means nothing awful happened. That's what launching a new website is like.

Here are some stats for our first 12 hours:
  • We had 2,151 unique visitors
  • We served 9,042 page views
  • We signed up 86 new ungluers, to total 665
  • We generated 68 pledges for 5 campaigns totaling $1,098
  • 543 tweets were sent about
The best performing campaign was for Ruth Finnegan's 1970 classic "Oral Literature in Africa", which raised 7% of its target in just 12 hours.  2 campaigns aimed at younger audiences lagged. If you care about six year olds or sixth graders, perhaps you'll consider supporting these.

A good half day, but we need to do better.

The publishing establishment is sneering at us. Its collective voice was captured by "Publishers Lunch" in 1 tweet,  2 dismissive words and 4 dots:
Hope Springs.... Prepares to Launch Effort to Make Books Free Via Crowdsourcing
(Nothing against Publisher's Lunch- they're the smartest journalists in the publishing biz; their best and worst moments are when they snipe at mistakes in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. And notice how they didn't fill in the dots, leaving room for whatever really happens!)

But when it comes right down to it, hasn't changed a thing. All we've done is to create a new tool. Some self-striking matches. If you want anything to actually change, it's entirely up to you. You have to light the matches.

If you want book publishing and book reading to be chained to a pay-per-copy pretend-its-print economic model, forget about and go buy ebooks locked to your kindle and monitored by Amazon.

On the other hand, if you want ebooks that can't be taken away from you and don't subject you to surveillance by Amazon or Apple or Adobe, then its time to cast your ballot for a different path.

If you want libraries to be able to focus on putting ebooks in front of readers rather than enforcing digital rights management and putting friction into every library transaction, then now is the time to act.

If you want to reward creators who made the books that you love instead of feeding a voracious supply chain that manages to spit a few pennies of royalties to an author for every $14.99 out of your pocket, then now is the time to send a message to that publishing establishment.

Because there are a lot of smart people in the business of creating books. I've met a lot of them. And at least 5 of them are also courageous. (Don't worry, more are coming!) But they are powerless to change anything without YOU. Whether you're a reader, a librarian, a school teacher or a scholar, it's you who gets to decide.

So do it.

Update 3PM: The second 12 hours weren't bad either.

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1 comment:

  1. "Nothing against Publisher's Lunch- they're the smartest journalists in the publishing biz"

    But not smart enough to know how many dots are in an ellipsis.