Friday, August 9, 2013

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad

The tone of comments over on Tim's blog (which he said he'd stopped) is becoming increasingly like one of the more acrimonious discussions on the Guardian's Comment is Free. Every so often someone says something sensible, only to be drowned out by hysterical assertions from Tim and his chum James Christie. The latter, though glorying in his non-membership of the organisation, is demanding face-to-face meetings with CILIP's Chief Executive, Annie Mauger, and now a personal invitation to the AGM of an organisation from which he resigned. 

We don't have a great deal of time for CILIP, but we hope they send James and Tim away with many fleas in their ears.

Follow the whole sorry business with the first post and comments, There are still taxpayers paying for the library profession - that needs to be stopped, in which Tim raises that old canard and fails to support it with any real examples, and here, the second, A message to CILIP management -- from a librarian - give me my money back

We expect this to run and run.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tim Coates on e-books: 'e books are not for public libraries'

Hear the words of the world's greatest living library campaigner and promoter of his Bilbrary, which seeks to sell, er,  e-books.

November 14, 2008

Looking around to marshall the arguments that might persuade library buyers not to become obsessed with e books ( A chief executive of one large international publishing house said this week that, for general books, rather than academic ones, his company anticipates that e-editions will amount to just one percent of new book sales - in five years time. And new books represent about one quarter of his overall business- the other 75% is backlist. ) I come to persuasive line 'It's the content stupid' which means stop concentrating on technology and put your book collections in order.


May 21, 2009

I meant that public lending libraries exist out of the kindness of publishers. If you open any book you will see a statement that says that 'this book is not to be loaned, copied, 'etc. Yet publishers, over many years, have tolerated and allowed the public library service to ignore this condition of purchase.

Yet, in return in the past two decades, the public library service has allowed its purchasing of books and their central nature within the service to decline to a fraction of what it was. This has been done without discussion with publishers and without their consent. Librarians often talk as if publishers owe them free books and owe them a free right to lend them. Well, if libraries took books and publishing seriously, that might be a fair deal, but they

Publishers current predictions of the 'general' book market (as opposed to the technical and academic markets- which are huge) are that Ebooks will represent about 5% of the market in ten years. Maybe that figure will be higher and the time will be less, but it is not hard to understand that childrens books and illustrated books are not yet published in electronic form and that if the price of ebook editions of plain text is higher than of printed copies, then even unillustrated books have a fair future.

Even now I could read Dickens in ebook form, if I wanted, but I don't. Nor do my children.

September 22, 2010

How often do we see public librarians, councillors, state officials, politicians and even ministers spouting off about e-books in the future of public libraries.

None of them are stars in the arithmetic class.

It only takes a few simple calculations to realise that if we were to hold the same range of books in public libraries as we do now to support that council public library book funds would have to be ten times the size they are now

And that is without buying ebook readers for the very hard up people for whom public libraries are a life line.

Nor is anyone hearing the voice of Booksellers - who just plain don't want public libraries to offer for nothing that out of which they try to make their living.

e books are not for public libraries. ... just now anyhow.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sneering rattlesnakes

Oh dear. Our hero is back. He had gone, we thought, to seek his fortune in the United States of America. It was quiet, too damned quiet, Carruthers.

Then there was the announcement of his new e-book project. Was it Loganberry, Tayberry, Whortleberry?…no, it was Bilbrary with, we suspect, the accent on the bill. Conspicuous by his absence from such events as the recent lobby of parliament, the world's greatest living library campaigner suddenly returned to public debate with a curious proposition, that he would use some profits from his venture (that is, supposing there actually are any) to give money to library campaigns. This generosity was not received by a cruel cynical world in the spirit in which it was offered: American librarians wondered why profits made out of their e-book subscriptions were being sent abroad, when there are plenty of campaigns needing support at home, while British library campaigners, on reading the small print, saw that he intended the money, not to support campaigners in demanding that local councils and the DCMS fulfil their responsibility for the public library service, but to establish so-called community libraries, completely outside the public library system.

In a post that the ill-willed might describe as petulant, entitled the Library Campaign Police, he rails against his critics, saying, 'if you don't say what they want you to say, they sneer like rattlesnakes'. We're not sure how to sneer like a rattlesnake, but hope to acquire this useful skill, if our readers will enlighten us.

We had thought that the need for CoatesWatch had passed. It seems not. La lutte continue!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Private fears in public places

You'd think, with experience of the disasters of rail, gas and water privatisation, that privatising libraries would be a non-starter, even for this government. Oh no. What is interesting here is that, after a long period of silence, Tim has found his voice again, speaking out about how mean library campaigners are to LSSI, the US private equity company that has now taken over a fifth of the land of the free's public library services and wants to expand over here. LSSI's British operation (which intriguingly shares a London office address with the Sue Hill employment agency) has been making overtures to several British library authorities, hoping for easy pickings.

Tim's post is all about how opposition to LSSI is based on xenophobia, ignoring the fact that a lot of Americans oppose them too. It represents a volte-face, for not so long ago Tim was saying that privatisation would not work, 'there is no profit in it for anybody and there is no income because it has to be a free service.' Croydon Advertiser, Friday, June 10, 2011

The question for Coates Watch is this: is Tim's change of position on library privatisation real? In which case what has happened to change his mind? Or, did he always believe in it, but thought it politic to keep his thoughts to himself until now?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Farewell to Jolly Jack Tar

Tim's old chum Roy Clare is off to New Zealand. Poor Kiwis, first the Christchurch earthquake, now this.

A little bird has forwarded us an e-mail Tim sent to the great and good, seventy-three of them, no less, in which, fighting back his tears, he demands that Roy be refused leave to travel until a parliamentary inquiry takes place into the MLA and the DCMS.

Tim has an uncanny instinct for aiming at the wrong target. What do library campaigners want from Parliament? A moratorium on cuts and closures? Teeth for the Public Libraries and Museums Act? Hunt and Vaizey called to account? According to Tim, none of the above, we want inquiries into an MLA press release. Of course we do. In pubs up and down the country, we speak of little else.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shaun Bailey's back office

One cannot fail to notice how both Eric Pickles and Tim bang on about their back offices at every opportunity. There is a PhD waiting to be written about this obsession, both from the psychoanalytic point of view, retardation at the anal phase, and a reception studies approach, tracing the phrase from its origins in an airport-bookstall management book to its use by the government to justify their wreckage of public services.
Up popped Shaun Bailey, Cameron's anointed evangelist for the Big Society, or BS as it is popularly known, on the Today programme on Wednesday morning. He ranted against libraries, and those who work
in them. Though he stopped short of calling us all Russians with snow on our boots, his animus against librarians had a very Coatesian feel. However, if this post is to be believed, he seems to have failed to apply these principles to his own charity, My Generation: