Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

LibraryThing for Libraries: Pricing?

Wow! A big response to our offer–send us your ISBNs and we’ll show you what LibraryThing for Libraries can do. I just received ISBNs from two more libraries, both US publics, each with over 500,000 ISBNs. I guess we’ll get to stress test the database earlier, not later.

Best of all, both half-millioners had 51% overlap with LibraryThing (see UPDATE below). Considering that patrons do not look at random books, but focus more on popular ones, I’m guessing this means LibraryThing has data on something like 75% of the OPAC lookups performed in large US publics. The data available will vary, but it’s a good start.

I received a very thoughful email about pricing, from one of the top “library geeks.” This part deserves quoting:

“The problem with not charging a lot of money for this is that it doesn’t look like you’re serious. Anything that’s changing the functionality and the look of the catalog is going to be a big deal no matter what you charge (at least for medium-large public libraries — academics are less inclined to worry about their patrons getting the vapors). If it costs a lot, it’ll be treated like a project and taken seriously, and is more likely to happen. If it costs a little, it’ll just be treated as a hassle. Last piece of free advice would be to price based upon #checkouts/year. That’ll correspond pretty well towards the amount of web traffic that’ll get generated.Of course it’s hard to know what the price should be without seeing the product in action.”

Sad, but probably true. Maybe we can have it both ways. Charge $1,000,000/year to show we’re serious, but give everyone 99.9% discounts.

Tonight: Fire up Photoshop and try to make a logo that doesn’t suck.

UPDATE: And a third, this a mixed consortium with 590,000 ISBNs. Their overlap was 52%. This is turning out to be Planck’s constant!

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