Category: Book sales

New Canadian Edition of Our Guide to Global Labour Coming

A couple of weeks ago I met with the International Development Working Group of the Canadian Labour Congress.  The senior staff doing international work from all the major unions (and a few smaller ones) form the Working Group.

There was unanimous agreement to move forward with producing, early in the new year, a ‘Canadianized’ version of the the book.  I’ll keep you posted as things develop but it seems to me that once a readability edit is done of the existing GUF and other global institutions sections and a couple of missing GUFs are added, all that will be needed to produce a series of national versions of the book are some pieces solicited from unions and central labour bodies.

My hope for the Canadian edition is that each union will commit to buy a certain number of copies for their internal use.

As a (useful) aside, I have been able to locate a unionized printer in Toronto that offers a ‘print-on-demand’ service with products certified as union-made.

Derek Blackadder – Canada

The month in review: September 2014

Things picked up in September even though August was hardly a quiet month for us.

Office: LabourStart is now firmly planted in Muswell Hill as I learn to once again work from home (with some days working in the British Library).

Finances: Our finances have improved a bit this month. We have received a substantial contribution from Fafo in Norway, from the FDHT in Geneva and also many individual donations raised on behalf of Kevin Curran’s marathon run for LabourStart in October ($1,894 so far from 67 contributors). The promotion of Fastmail as a Gmail alternative on 19 September has generated very little income for us. Unison’s National Executive is due to consider a proposal to make a donation to us this month.

Campaigns: We launched five new campaigns in September:

  • Canada: Nova Scotia labor law
  • Turkey: Union busting at Deva Holdings
  • Colombia: Ruben Montoya
  • USA: IKEA – play fair with workers
  • Colombia: Luis Cardenas / Prosegur

We have been able to announce a victory at Autogrill (Germany) and will soon be able to announce another from the Philippines at NXP. We closed the Swaziland campaign after hearing that the Prime Minister has decided not to strangle trade union leaders. I also closed campaigns in Turkey and Korea after three months; the unions have not gotten back to us with updates.

In addition to promoting our own campaigns, we have helped the following organizations with promotions of their campaigns which we do not host: Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Australian Council of Trade Unions, IUF, IndustriALL (Thunderclap) and BWI. Most other campaigning organizations will generally not do dedicated mailings to promote other organizations’ campaigns, but we do this regularly.

All our campaigns are now also in Swedish, and this is what now shows on the Swedish home page.

Books: Book sales are just under 5,700, which is very good, and some Amazon payments have started to come in. I continue to work on our next book, which consists of speeches given at the Berlin conference. Derek has been working on a Canadian edition of our Global Labour Movement book. And we’ve reached agreement with Joe Atkins to publish his collection of essays from activists around the world on migrant labour in late 2015.

LabourStart Offline:

  • I spent a couple of days at the DGB training centre in Hattingen, Germany doing a course on online campaigning with the European Trade Union Institute.
  • Derek has done some courses with Unifor in Canada.
  • In November, Espen and I will be in Stockholm meeting with Swedish trade unionists to discuss cooperation (which has already begun).
  • In early November, I’ll be in Vienna attending an OSCE conference, which I will cover for Equal Times, and have already written to LabourStart subscribers there suggesting a meeting.
  • The FES Media project in Africa has shown interest in cooperating with us and I had a 30 minute phone call with their staffer in Windhoek, Namibia about this.
  • Pete Moss, one of our Australian correspondents, visited Indonesia and wrote up a report – see below.

Retreat: We have begun some internal discussions about possibly hosting a LabourStart retreat in Tunis in March 2015. More details coming soon. We are trying out a new online tool called Trello to coordinate this.

Ello: Finally, LabourStart is probably the first labour movement institution with a page on Ello, the new social network.

For details on most of these, see the posts from throughout September on Inside LabourStart.

Book sales – approaching 6,000 …

I’ve just gone through the reports from CreateSpace and Amazon and am happy to report that in less than 22 months, LabourStart has distributed 5,651 books.

Of those, 2,442 were Kindle editions offered for free in August 2014 over the course of five days.

The rest — 3,209 — were sold.

Here is the breakdown by title:

Please spread the word in your union about our books — refer people to our Publications page:  http://www.labourstart.org/2013/publications.html

The month in review: August 2014

Goodbye, Lee Valley Technopark.
Goodbye, Lee Valley Technopark.

August was NOT a quiet month for LabourStart.

I guess the big news is that I have completed the move from our Tottenham Hale office to working at home. The office was finally emptied and the keys returned yesterday. This will not only mean a considerable savings (over £6,000 a year) but we will also get back a deposit of £1,470 soon.

That money will help to re-fill our coffers following several months where we spent considerably more than we took in, reducing our reserves by many thousands of pounds. But there’s been good news in the last few days. We were able to raise nearly $600 from UnionBook members to pay for the hosting on Ning for the next year — that’s the full amount we need. The IUF has once again made a substantial donation to us. Norwegian unions will apparently be transferring a good sum to us very soon. And the Geneva-based FDHT is resuming its donations to us conditional upon us continuing with the project to grow LabourStart in the Portuguese-speaking world (more on this soon).

It’s been a very busy month for our campaigns — we closed just one (Gaza, following the agreement to a cease-fire) and launched five new ones:

  • Palestine/Israel – against union-busting in Mishur Adumim
  • Swaziland – prime minister threatens to strangle trade union leaders
  • Belgium/Netherlands – against social dumping at IKEA
  • Poland – LOT sacks union leader
  • Thailand – Drop the charges against Andy Hall

In addition, I made three improvements to our campaigns – offering an alternative option for some cellphones; a new supporters count for closed campaigns; and a form for translators to submit campaigns. Details on all these appear in a post below.

We ran a promotion offering free versions of our Kindle books for the first 5 days of August. A total of 2,442 books were downloaded — the most popular of which was Dan Gallin’s Solidarity (696 copies). I followed up with over 1,500 people who seemed interested in the books, asking them to post reviews, but with very limited success.

In September, I’ll be helping to teach a course in Hattingen, Germany organized by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) together with the DGB. This should help introduce LabourStart to union communicators across Europe. This will be followed up in October by my session at a Brussels workshop of ETUI on campaigning. ETUI is also now considering a proposal to host a course dedicated to online campaigning which LabourStart would teach.

Amazon reviews: an update

Sales of our four LabourStart books (both paperback and Kindle editions) depend in part on there being positive reviews on Amazon’s websites.  

Our recent effort to promote the book resulted in just five days in 2,442 downloads and hundreds of new readers.

But these have not generated new reviews, despite my mailing earlier this month to the 1,537 people who clicked on links in the previous mailing promoting the free Kindle edition — even though 830 of them opened that message and 88 clicked on the links to review the book on Amazon.

Despite that effort, the total number of reviews remains tiny.

Having checked Amazon’s 12 websites today (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, India and Japan) here are the total number of reviews:

  • Firefox OS – 8 reviews
  • Global Labour Movement – 6 reviews
  • Campaigning Online and Winning – 5 reviews
  • Solidarity – Dan Gallin – 4 reviews

The largest number of reviews appears on the amazon.com website (13 reviews), followed by UK (6 reviews), Canada (2), Germany (1), Spain (1).

No reviews of our books appeared on the Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico, Japan or Italy Amazon sites.

By comparison, a friend of mine recently self-published a little novella on Kindle.  His book has 27 reviews.  The reviews of all 4 of our books together is just 23.

If anyone has any good suggestions for how we can increase the numbers here, I’d love to hear them.

2,442 books downloaded as LabourStart free Kindle campaign ends

   

During the first five days of August, we allowed people to download all four of our Kindle titles free of charge.  The result was a total of 2,442 books downloaded in just 5 days.

Previously we’d sold somewhat more than 3,000 books over the last 20 months, so this was an 80% increase in distribution of our books.  Here they are in order of popularity — the number is copies downloaded in the last 5 days:

  • Solidarity – Dan Gallin 696
  • The Global Labour Movement 645
  • Campaigning Online and Winning 587
  • Firefox OS for Activists 514

Today I’ll be emailing everyone who I think downloaded books (based on what MailChimp has to say about clicking-through), and remind people that we’d really, really appreciate reviews on Amazon to keep sales going.

I’m convinced that using the free Kindle downloads feature is far more effective than simply saying we have some PDFs or Word documents available for download.  Kindle books are seen as real books by many people, they normally cost money, and this contributed, I think, to the excellent take-up of our offer.

I think the overall effect of this campaign is to remind people that LabourStart in addition to being a news and campaigning website, and the organizer of annual global solidarity conferences, is also a book publisher (and probably the only publisher of books exclusively for the international trade union movement).

And of course if people actually read the books, we’ll be contributing toward educating trade unionists about our campaigns, about the global labour movement in general, and more.

 

Top 3 Kindle bestsellers – all LabourStart books

In the first 24 hours of our free book giveaway on Amazon, over 1,300 copies of our books have been downloaded.

>>> Update: That number is now 2,053 books downloaded.

One result of that is that in the category Business / Economics in the Kindle Free store, all three of the top titles were ours — see this screenshot:

 

Screenshot 2014-08-02 at 11

Boosting interest in LabourStart books: The August sale begins tomorrow

amazon_kindle_2And what a sale it will be — for the first five days of August, we’re giving away for FREE all four LabourStart titles on the Amazon Kindle.

(Amazon only allows us 5 days for this sort of thing; I’d have preferred it run the entire month.)

I’ll need to test this tomorrow (Friday, 1 August) to make sure it works, and will then publicize it widely.

This should considerably increase the number of readers of our books and may help book sales in future.

The last 3 weeks in review: 8-29 July 2014

Summer is NOT a quiet time at LabourStart …

Campaigns:

  • We launched our Gaza Ceasefire campaign on 22 July; it is already our second largest active campaign.
  • We launched a campaign in defense of jailed Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi on 10 July.
  • The Ecuador campaign was closed after 3 months.
  • I’ve followed up with the translators for our top 15 languages, trying to make sure that as many campaigns as possible appear in as many languages as possible.
  • We did very well with the recent Turkish Georg Fischer campaign and promoted news of our victory to our list, as did with the victory at LATAM in South America.  That’s two victories this month that we contributed to.
  • Using a voucher we had from Google for some free advertising, we ran ads supporting out Polish LIDL campaign; they were seen by nearly 24,000 people, but only 103 clicked on the link.

Fund-raising:

  • We received a generous donation from Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and from the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC).
  • We’ve had an offer from a well-known comrade to run a Marathon in Wales in October to raise funds for LS; more details soon.

Events:

  • Our under-utilized Events module just got better — now you can tag an event not only by country, but by state/province as well. You can see the results by checking out our UK/England news page.

News:

  • People noticed that visiting our home page took you to a URL that included ‘2013’. This has now been fixed and instead of ‘2013’ it says ‘news’. Most people will not have noticed.

Office:

  • I’ve been given warning that we’re to be kicked out of our offices very soon. I visited possible alternatives in Finsbury Park, Bethnal Green and Muswell Hill. I’m leaning towards working from home for a few months, which will save us several thousand pounds.

Speeches:

  • LS has been invited to provide a speaker for a Unifor event in Canada.  Derek will probably do it.
  • Eric has also been invited by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) to help teach a course in Germany in September.

New contacts:

  • A comrade from a group in France called ReACT came to our offices for a meeting; we discussed many ways of cooperating.
  • I had a long meeting in London with the Morocco-based representative of the Solidarity Center; we discussed among other things the possibility of a correspondents’ meeting in the region, maybe in Tunis.
  • I followed up with all those who attended the IndustriALL communicators event last month in Italy, at which I spoke, and invited them to cooperate. Two replied, and we picked up a new correspondent in Cambodia as a result.

 

Books:

  • I’ve been encouraging comrades to post reviews of the Dan Gallin book on Amazon; some have already done so.
  • Even though book sales haven’t been amazing, for the first two months of our current financial year (June-July), book sales have made up about 10% of LabourStart’s income, though this is unlikely to continue.
  • I’ve begun adding reviews to the Gallin book to our page promoting the book — so far, only two.
  • I wrote to everyone who requested a review copy (PDF) and asked them to let me know when their reviews appear.
  • Thanks to Matt Heaney, the book is now on sale at ver.di’s bookshop, both off- and online.
  • I wrote to all 130 people who spoke at our Berlin conference reminding them that we want all their texts for our next book by the end of July.

Photo of the day:

  • For those who post these photos (mostly Derek) there’s now an explanation of how to post country-specific ones. If anyone wants to do this, email me and I’ll explain how it’s done.
  • The photo of the day is also now available on our mobile edition for the first time.

Enough for now … and now back to work …

 

The month in review – 28 May – 8 July

Well, it’s been more than a month — but as I was away on holiday from 22-30 June, I wasn’t able to get this done in late June. In future, I’ll try to have this done monthly. Here are just some highlights …

Campaigns: We launched five campaigns in the last six weeks. These were in support of Korean workers (Samsung), Turkish workers (M&T Reklam), and Peruvian and Argentinian workers (LATAM) – which we won. This week we added two more campaigns in support of workers in Poland. We’ve also closed four campaigns in the same period — Georg Fischer (Turkey), Colombia, Aeroflot (Russia), and Total Call (Morocco).

Conference & finances: We had a bit of followup including media coverage, which is documented elsewhere on Inside LabourStart. I’ve now completed all payments relating to the event — and can tell you that the conference was great, but also costly. We need to raise quite a bit to refill our coffers.

Books & other publications: We’ve now sold well over 3,000 books. As Google offered us a very big prize if we started running ads again, we’ve launched a modest campaign to promote our most recent book. I’m working on producing the conference book, Global Crisis, Global Solidarity. It should be ready by late summer. We won’t be doing a 2015 Global Labour Calendar (it’s too late in the year now to get it right, and on time), but we are discussing doing a 2016 version.

Correspondents: We added a number of new ones from the USA, Spain, Israel, Germany, and Poland. One or two complained that they submitted applications which we never saw. I’ve not been able to figure out how that could happen, but instead have put in a warning to people applying to become correspondents that if they don’t hear from us shortly, to email me directly.

About LabourStart: This page hadn’t been updated for years — I gave it a quick refresh last week.

First of the month problem: The French news page, which is now modelled on the English one, was behaving badly, not showing news, on the first of every month. This has now been fixed.

Staff: Our second intern, Tom, is no longer working for us. Gisela, who was on the payroll for a few months building the Berlin conference, is now happily unemployed (for a while at least).

Office: We’ll need to move by the end of October. I’m looking into alternatives now.