Category: Book sales

The week in review – 8-17 March 2014

Berlin conference: We’re up to 448 registered participants from 68 countries, a gain of 28 in the last 10 days. (We now have 91 from Germany, a gain of 7.) We’re all working on a wide range of issues now, including the conference party on Saturday night, plenary speakers for all 3 plenary sessions, getting visa invitation letters, getting all the workshops set up, and much more. There’ll even be a conference poster!

Campaigns: We launched one new campaign in the last 10 days in support of call center workers in Casablanca; it’s done very well and after just four days, is already larger than the three previous campaigns. With just under 7,000 messages sent already, it looks poised to be our 4th largest current campaign (out of 10) sometime soon.

News: I’ve written to nearly 600 LabourStart correspondents today asking for their help to put more news up. Of the more than 700 correspondents we have, only 76 have posted news so far this month. A number have already written back promising to post news, or asking for new passwords. There’s now a big yellow ‘Add news’ button on the home page in English — this allows correspondents to quickly add news, for new people to volunteer to be correspondents, and for one-off submissions of news.

New languages: We’re just about to do our first campaign in Hungarian.

Books: Our next book (by Dan Gallin) will be ready for sale at the conference in May. We did a lot of work last week formatting it. It’s currently running at 423 pages, but we might shorten that.

Labour History: I’ve fixed the entry form so it’s now working correctly and we can add more dates to our online calendar. There’s now a list of French language entries in the database.

The weeks in review – 21 Feburary – 7 March 2014

Berlin conference:  The list of participants continues to grow — two weeks ago we had 352 registrants from 58 countries; today that’s 420 from 68 countries.  The number coming from Germany is now 84, up from 77.  The team in Berlin is doing a fantastic job, meeting regularly and building up a solid programme of workshops and plenaries.  We’ve now begun weekly Skype conference calls involving myself, Derek and Gisela and this will continue in the run-up to the event.  We are doing a monthly mailing to all those who registered and in last week’s mailing we made a special appeal for people to volunteer as interpreters.  Our volunteer translators have begun translating the conference website into Spanish (as well as English and German), and the registration form now works in 8 languages.  And we now have a donations page in German (in the hope that our raised profile in the German labour movement may help generate donations).  The ITUC has agreed to promote our conference in their next mailing to delegates to their upcoming world congress in Berlin.

Campaigns:  We launched four new campaigns in the last two weeks after a period of relative calm.  Here they are (with the current number of supporters in brackets): Korea [7,178], Bangladesh [4,007], Peru [838], and Canada [508].  The last of these is a Canada-only campaign; all the others are global.  We closed down the Sri Lanka campaign today and the USA (First Energy) campaign last week.  We’re hoping to launch a Ukraine campaign in the next few days.  Finally, our French language ActNOW RSS feed is greatly improved, with French text replacing the English that remained there.

New languages: We’ve had an offer to translate LabourStart into Hindi which is great, and something we’ve wanted for a very long time.  Now that we have a Hungarian language edition, we need correspondents, so I wrote to all the Hungarians I could find on our English language mailing list — and the first of them has now volunteered to be a correspondent.

Books:  Andy completed the translation into French of our second book (global labour movements) which is now on sale at Amazon, CreateSpace, etc.  He did a mailing to our French language list which generated a lot of interest (nearly 50 sales in the first few days), and it appears that we’ll need to have copies of all our books, in English and French, in Berlin for sale to delegates.  We’re also working hard on Dan Gallin’s book in order to get it ready well in advance of the Berlin conference — at which we’ll have book launch with Dan speaking.

My new contact details: Please note that I am contactable in many ways, but no longer at the old phone number.  I’ve written up what I’m doing and why and encourage LabourStart correspondents to use email where possible, and in urgent cases only, to use Telegram or Skype to reach me.

The week in review – 31 January – 7 February 2014

Campaigns: I’ve fixed two things that were nagging me — (1) When signing up to support a campaign, you now must choose a country, and “Select a counrtry” doesn’t count.  Previously, we had “Afghanistan” as our first country and had large numbers of people ignoring this and letting that remain.  They’re now being forced to choose.  (2) You now have to enter a valid email address, with a “@” and full stops (periods).  Obviously we’re not completely testing, and some invalid email addresses will slip through., but at least you have to enter something that remotely looks like an email address.

News: See below — this should help expand the reach of our news stories.  (I’ve written to all our correspondents about this today.)

Mailing list: I’ve invited a number of senior correspondents and translators who already do mass mailngs to use MailChimp directly — and very pleased to see that several have taken me up on the offer.  This should speed things up a bit when sending out mailings.  We’ve nearly completed the migration of our language mailing lists from Sendy to MailChimp.

Berlin conference: Lots happening — details to come.

Interface for adding news: Our Finnish and (soon) Italian correspondents will have an interface in their languages when they post news.  This is already the case with a number of the languages.

Books: We’re making progress on the Dan Gallin book, which is already several hundred pages long.  Andy has translated the global labour book into French.  Tom is doing an inventory of books in the office and calculating how many we’ve sold in the first year as a publisher.

Dates of news stories: The dates appearing next to news stories now appear in the more standard dd-mm-yyyy format — an improvement suggested by Andy.

Campaigns:  There are a couple of suggested new ones.  Meanwhile, we closed the Fiji campaign — a big win.

Articles: I had two more articles appear on the KESK trial in Turkey — in Labor Notes and

The week in review – 10-17.1.14


  • The Cambodia campaign is doing very well — after just a week, we’re up to well over 10,000 messages sent, making it our second largest current campaign (Kazakhstan is the largest).
  • We just launched a campaign yesterday in defense of Colombian unions; it picked up some 4,300 supporters in the 24 hours online.
  • We closed the previous Colombia campaign just in time after it ran for three full months.  Huber is, unfortunately, still in jail.

Berlin 2014:

  • I participated on Saturday in a very good meeting with four members of our organizing committee in Berlin.  Gisela and I also agreed a number of changes to LabourStart’s German language page, some of which have been done.  These include some new pages about LabourStart, a registration form for new correspondents, and so on.
  • The total number of people registered is now 280, up 20 in the last week.  Of those, 59 are from Germany and 42 from the UK (meaning that of those 20 new ones, 7 come from the UK and Germany).
  • I wrote to the more than 100 people who’ve requested help getting a visa to clarify once again that we cannot help with airfares and to ask for some more details; about 19 have responded so far.
  • The TUC is offering us a room to convene a meeting of people from the UK who have registered, or are thinking about coming to Berlin; we’ll hold this in February.
  • We’re doing a lot of targetting of specific countries; Tom is doing some work focussing on the closest neighbours to Berlin: Poland, the Czech Republic and Denmark.
  • I contacted the ITUC two days ago asking for a meeting when I’m in Brussels but no answer yet.
  • I fixed the link to the conference on our home pages in all languages — it now points to the right place.

LabourStart Books:

  • Dan Gallin has sent us 12 essays with 3 more to come; we’re exploring new ways to produce this as we’re not happy with CreateSpace’s service and will probably use Lulu (who did our calendar).  Our aim is the get the book out fairly quickly and certainly well in advance of the Berlin conference.


  • I continue with weekly mailings; this time, I aimed to encourage yet again inactive correspondents.  After 24 hours, we saw a result — a 10% increase in the number of correspondents posting news (up from 78 to 85 this month) and increase in stories (up by 326 in just one day — the previous daily average was just 167).
  • We added several new correspondents this week.

French LabourStart:

  • We continue to make progress, having made at least half a dozen fixes this week.  Some of them are small fixes to all languages and are contributing to making the site more useful for non-English speakers.

Canadian LabourStart:

  • I moved some things around on the page at Derek’s request; it looks better now.

Country pages:

  • I’ve fixed the search, which now always brings up the new pages.
  • I’ve also created a search on all languages, which we had on the old site but hadn’t preserved.


  • It’s been a week since we launched our quarterly appeal to “power users” (people who’ve supported 3 or more campaigns in the last year).  Results have been good — we’ve taken in just over £4,000 in donations this week.  This is similar to how we did last April, and probably better than the two appeals since then.


  • I’ll be travelling for most of the next two weeks — all of next week in Istanbul as a guest of KESK, to participate in the opening of the trial of their activists.  The following week I’ll be in Geneva and then Brussels.  This may mean slower response times to emails, but I hope you’ll all understand.

The weeks in review – 1-10.1.14


  • We’ve closed the Korean teachers’ campaign and will soon be receiving a report back on the results.
  • The Cambodia campaign, launched yesterday, is taking off very quickly — already considerably larger than the Carnival (Crown Holdings) campaign launched a week earlier.
  • We’re now running our first campaign ever in Ukrainian.

Berlin 2014:

  • I’m off to Berlin tomorrow with Tom to meet with the organizing committee.
  • At the moment we have 260 registrants for the conference, 54 of them from Germany, 40 from the UK.
  • We’ve updated the database adding a number of new fields to begin recording where people will stay, their flight details, contact phone numbers, etc. This information will be added by the conference organizers.


We’ve just heard from Dan Gallin that he’s assembled the texts for our next book, which we can now begin to produce and sell.  This will be LabourStart’s fourth book.

Mailing lists:

We had a problem with Sendy, trying to resolve it with help from them.

French edition:

Derek and Andy have made several suggestions for improvements which we’ve begun to implement.


  • We’re about to do the quarterly fundraising mailing to people who regularly support our online campaigns.
  • I’ve also written to all our correspondents about the Svensson prize (having already told our entire list about it) and fingers crossed maybe this year LabourStart will be considered for this.


We now have a Vietnamese English-language newswire at the request of our comrades in Australia, and it appears on the website of the committee to protect Vietnamese workers.

News database:

We’re adding additional languages to allow new correspondents to post news without having to deal with an English interface. The Finnish one is now ready and others are on their way.

The weeks in review – 19-31.12.13


  • The Korea campaign, closing today, was one of the largest we ever ran. In the last 13 days, it grew from 11,295, which was already pretty good, to 14,566 — a gain of 3,271 during the Christmas period.
  • Our Kazakhstan campaign continues to grow, albeit slower — we’re now up to 10,731, a gain of over 730 in the last two weeks.
  • We’ll be a launching a new campaign in support of United Steelworkers Canada after the new year. The earlier version was closed five days ago.
  • We closed two other campaigns (Honduras and UN staff) a week ago.

Berlin 2014: We’re up to 241 registrants, 50 from Germany, 36 from the UK, and the remaining 155 from 51 other countries. In another 11 days, Tom and I head over to Berlin to meet the organizing committee there. I’ve done a mailing to all registrants and we now have the option to de-register people who cannot attend. As I’ve explained before, many of the registrants have asked about subsidies even though we’ve repeatedly explained that everyone must pay their own way.

Mailing lists: These continue to grow and grow. We’re ending the year with 97,100 addresses on our top three lists: English – 84,853; French – 7,112; Spanish – 5,135. A year ago, those three lists totalled 85,501– a net gain of 11,599, or nearly 14%.

Social networks:

  • We picked up another 5 new Twitter followers in the last 5 days, bringing our total to 11,243. It was 8,115 a year ago — a growth of 3,128, or almost 39%. This is much higher than the growth of our mailing lists.
  • We have considerably fewer supporters on Facebook, with only 8,267. A year ago that number was 5,877, so we’ve picked up 2,390 new fans on Facebook — a gain of over 40%.

Book and calendar sales:

  • Calendar sales reached 221 by year’s end — disappointing, but not a disaster.  (We didn’t lose any money, and earned £172.)
  • Sales of our latest book, Firefox OS for Activists, continue to slowly grow.  We sold 97 paperbacks and 115 Kindle editions, for a total of 212.
  • I’ll report on sales of our other titles in the new year.

The week(s) in review – 28.11.13 – 11.12.13

freerozaCampaigns: In the last 2 weeks we launched two new ones — in support of striking railway workers in Korea, and jailed oil workers in Kazakhstan.  Both are exceptionally important — these are dramatic struggles where workers are up against the power of the state, and I hope everyone will do their bit to make these campaigns among our biggest ever.  We’ll be launching a followup campaign next week for the Crown Holdings workers in Canada.  I hope after that we’ll be able to take a short break before the new year — to catch our collective breath …

Mailing lists: Due to an extraordinary effort by the Korean teachers’ union to build support in the country for their campaign, we picked up several hundred Koreans for our mailing list.  As a result, Korean has gone from being our 21st largest list to being the 11th largest, with 714 subscribers (this was just 173 a month ago).

Berlin 2014: Two weeks ago I reported that we had 128 people signed up for the conference; today that number is 197.  The largest groups are from Germany (44), the UK (24), Pakistan (15), Liberia (12) and Nigeria (11).  I’m still not certain that the comrades from Pakistan, Liberia and Nigeria and some other countries have fully understood that LabourStart is not covering airfares, although it’s possible that some of them will be in Berlin for the ITUC.  The registration form is now available in Russian as well as English and German; we expect that a Dutch version is on the way.  Tom and Edd developed a comprehensive strategy for promoting the conference to a UK audience, so we should see the size of the UK contingent grow.  Meanwhile, I’ve focussed some attention on building participation from Finland, Denmark, Israel, the Czech Republic and Poland, with more countries coming soon.

Books: We’re about to begin work on book 4 — a collection of essays by former IUF General Secretary Dan Gallin.  Sales of the earlier books and calendar remain sluggish.

The week in review – 21-28 November 2013

Campaigns: We launched another campaign today, in support of locked out workers in the USA.  Meanwhile, our Sri Lanka campaign is doing well, with well over 8,000 messages sent — a significant number of them from Australia.  Our volunteer translators have been working very hard on the many campaigns we’ve had in the last few weeks.  We expect to very soon have another campaign in support of Korean railway workers — now being reviewed by the ITF and ITUC.  And we’ve just learned today that the 3 Cosas campaign here in London has been victorious.  They had a LabourStart campaign that was UK-only during the summer.

Berlin 2014: The organizing committee in Berlin continues to meet regularly and a draft agenda is shaping up very nicely. Last week I reported that 40 people had registered so far; today that number is 128, with the largest groups coming from the UK (19) and Germany (19).  If you’ve not yet registered, please do so today.

Publications: Sales of our calendar have started to pick up — in part due to publicity we did today.   (Free shipping helps.)  This afternoon so far we’ve sold 6 of them to 6 separate individuals.  So the total so far is 197 — but I have every hope that we’ll be over 200 tomorrow and sales will continue to rise as we approach Christmas.

Upcoming meetings: Tom is attending the Unions 21 conference in London tomorrow.  I’ll be speaking next Friday in Freiburg, Germany at an academic conference on “Mobility and Civil Society: How social commitment takes place.”  Among other things, it will be an opportunity to meet German students and talk up our conference.

Articles: I submitted a piece to the ITUC’s online magazine Equal Times about the trade union movement in Georgia; it should appear next week.

This blog: I fixed a problem we were having with the new subscription module.  If you’re getting this as an email, this means it all works.

The week in review – 14-21 November 2013

Campaigns: Three new campaigns were launched in the last week, plus we did publicity for the IUF campaign on Colombia and IndustriALL’s campaign on Iraq.  I really appreciate the incredible work done by our volunteer translators in getting these translations done.

Berlin 2014: Our conference blog is being updated, some 40 people have already registered, and we’re doing loads of publicity. On Friday, I was invited to address a meeting of global union communicators at the ITF headquarters in London about the conference.  There were participants from the ITUC, ITF, IndustriALL, PSI, etc.  I migrated the entire database of conference participants to a relational database using MySQL, which has made it much easier to display (and sort) the list of people who’ve registered.  I wrote to 10 comrades in Turkey specifically appealing for help building a Turkish contingent; no one has replied yet.  If you’ve not yet registered, please do so today – click here.

Mailings to national lists: We just did a mailing to our UK list advertising a half dozen events taking place in the next month and plan to do this regularly; we encouraged people to submit their events to our online events list — and we’ll take future ones from there.  We also did a Canada-only mailing today promoting a Bangladesh garment workers’ meeting in Toronto.

Writings: I had an article in Solidarity about the successful railway workers’ strike in Georgia and have been commissioned to write something on the same subject for Equal Times.  I have also been commissioned to write about the Histadrut’s recent organizing successes for Jungle World, in Germany.

Book & calendar sales: Still sluggish.  We’ve now sold 190 calendars; our third book (Firefox OS) is up to over 160.  An attempt to promote sales of the book on the Iraqi labour movement, “Hadi Never Died”, disappointed with only two sales. Tom is preparing a calendar of trade union events in the UK at which we can sell our publications in 2014, following on the success Derek had at the CUPE convention in Canada.  Comrades — you can help by posting reviews of our books on Amazon and spreading the word about all LabourStart publications.

Social networks: Our group on Facebook is growing quite quickly, though we’re doing nothing to promote it.  66 people joined in the last week alone.  On Twitter, we’ve launched a low-key, low-cost ad campaign which has brought us 12 new followers in the last 2 days (at a cost of £2.00).