Expect More: The Book

Announcing (and seeking help on) my next book, Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World. At the beginning of the year I said my focus for the year would be on expecting more. That’s what this book is all about. Taking what we know works for great libraries (a commitment to learning, a focus beyond functions, co-owning the library with the community) and explaining that to non-librarians.
While I wrote this book to be read by people outside of the profession, the reason I wrote it was to help fantastic librarians make their case to those who oversee the library. I feel we need to do a better job advocating the power of libraries to our communities, and bringing those communities into the conversation of our future.

First an overview, then the details, then the request.

An Overview

Here’s the blurb for the book:

Libraries have existed for millennia, but today many question their necessity. In an ever more digital and connected world, do we still need places of books in our towns, colleges, or schools? If libraries aren’t about books, what are they about?

In Expect More, David Lankes, winner of the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, walks you through what to expect out of your library. Lankes argues that, to thrive, communities need libraries that go beyond bricks and mortar, and beyond books and literature. We need to expect more out of our libraries. They should be places of learning and advocates for our communities in terms of privacy, intellectual property, and economic development.

Expect More is a rallying call to communities to raise the bar, and their expectations, for great libraries.

Unlike my Atlas of New Librarianship this one is written to be short (about 130 pages) and small (6×9 paperback) emphasizing examples and geared towards the general reader. It is based on conversations I have with public library boards, provosts, school administrators, and the general public.

The Details

The manuscript is done and is just about to go into final edits. I’m hoping to have the book out early summer in time for ALA.

I will be publishing this one as both a paperback and an ebook (and by popular request, with an index). I’m also looking for a low price point.

The Request

I’ve decided to self-publish the book. I have had a great relationship with great publishers in the past, but I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth was in terms of self-creation and exploring the realities of libraries becoming publishers. Right now my plans are to use CreateSpace for the print version, and an ePub solution for the ebook version. I’m interested if folks have gone this route and have any advice.

18 Replies to “Expect More: The Book”

  1. This is super exciting! I am hoping that the price point is affordable enough for me to give this as a gift to every member of my board!

  2. What type of help are you looking for, Dave….promotion….advance reading? I’d be happy to help. Bev

    1. I certainly need help in promotion, but right now I’m looking for anyone with experience or advice about self publishing.

  3. I can certainly point you to my new ITI book, The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing, as a resource, but I could probably also answer a question or two. Most of my experience is with Lulu, but CreateSpace is pretty much comparable (as long as you don’t mind being part of the Amazon would-be monopoly, that is), except that you don’t have the option of adding a hardcover edition.

    1. Thanks Walt! I’ll take a look.

      I was thinking Lulu at first, but CreateSpace has a lower direct to author price if I wanted to sell/give away these on my own. I certainly hear you on the Amazon empire, but I think I’ll need Amazon to sell to non-librarians.

      In terms of questions, what do you wish you knew before you started working with Lulu?

      1. Honestly? I wish the equivalent of my book had been available–but I have more than a decade of experience in typography and layout (and working with Word styles), so I had a step up. Other than that, the peculiar nature of help on both sites–it’s there, but it’s not always easy to navigate–would be useful to be aware of.

        On the other hand, given Amazon’s declaration of war on public libraries (with its explicit listing of why borrowing books from libraries stinks as compared to using Amazon’s $$ “lending” feature) might give you pause. I don’t plan to dual-publish any more titles, given the increasingly transparent attitude of Amazon toward public libraries. (You can have Lulu editions available on Amazon, for that matter, but there’s an upfront cost.) To me, the Amazon Harry Potter/ebook statement really does shift the balance decisively toward Lulu, at least for librarians.

  4. For my international readers I should say that this book is written pretty specifically for the U.S. Audience.

  5. I have quite a bit of experience designing books and self-publishing. It’s not too difficult, but here is one perennial problem I’ve run into:

    The print-on-demand services have a hard time lining up the spine of the book cover exactly on the spine of the book. This has ruined some of the designs I’ve created shifting the spine text up to about 1/4 inch from where it is supposed to be.

    My solution is to create smaller spine text, one that can survive on the spine if it moves a little, and create a single overlapping design from the front, spine & back cover, that way if it shifts a little it won’t be as noticeable from the front or back.

  6. Hi – Buffy and I were very pleased with Smashwords. You can set your price, and Smashwords will sell your book (or release it for free) straight from their site (in any of the most popular formats) and, at your request, forward the eBook to all of the major eBook retailers except for Amazon (with whom they’ve been in a years-long dialogue about doing so). You can also issue coupons that you could use to send to reviewers so they could download for free.

    We really liked how one site could ePublish simultaneously in multiple formats — the eBook for which you wrote the forward just crossed the 8000-download line! Additionally, a simple Word document is all you need to upload — no fancy design software required. Happy to help if you want to pursue this route.

  7. Smashwords seems to be the place where smart people go to get their ebooks published for multiple platforms all in one fell swoop. I haven’t used Smashwords yet, but plan on doing so. One cool little factoid – the Smashwords chief technology officer, Bill Kendrick, is the same person who created TuxPaint, the wildly popular free drawing program for kids. https://twitter.com/#!/billkendrick

    Kids who use the public library where I work adore TuxPaint.


  8. And more importantly, this volume is an excellent idea and a much needed resource for librarians to share with administrators and also architects and library design teams. I’m looking forward to reading it!

Comments are closed.