Category: Book sales

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.

Update on LabourStart books

The Dan Gallin book is available on Amazon’s Canada site, but with a wait time of 3-5 weeks.  I’ve written to CreateSpace to raise this issue with them.  Meanwhile, I did a mailing to 12,000 Canadians today to tell them that they could order the book there — and also via Amazon Canada, on Kindle as well.

Our next book, Global Crisis, Global Solidarity, is beginning to take shape.  We will be asking all those who made presentations at our conference in Berlin to submit their texts, then we’ll make a selection, edit them and publish.  My target is to get a book ready by the end of August.

I’ve done an inventory of book sales since we began about 18 months ago.  We’ve sold 2,799 books so far.  Here are the totals for all, including Kindle sales:

  • Campaigning Online and Winning – 1,136
  • The Global Labour Movement – 823
  • Firefox OS for Activists – 390
  • Solidarity – Dan Gallin – 276
  • Campaigning – French – 97
  • Global labour – French – 77

The month in review – 25 April – 28 May

lsberlinpanel

Conference:

The most important thing that happened this month was, of course, the LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference that took place last weekend in Berlin.  We’re preparing a report on that right now, so nothing further to say here.

Books:

We published our 6th book — Solidarity, the Selected Essays of Dan Gallin. Sales are approaching 300 copies after little more than two weeks. A Kindle edition will go live later this week.

Work has already begun on our next book — Global Crisis, Global Solidarity — a collection of articles and speeches from our conference.

Campaigns:

We launched four campaigns in the last month:

  • Germany: Solidarity with strikers at Autogrill – now closed
  • Philippines: Stop union-busting at NXP Semiconductors – still active
  • Indonesia: Support strikers at one of the world’s largest paper mills – still active
  • Turkey: For the right to celebrate May Day in Taksim Square – now closed

There is now a live running total showing for active campaigns — there is no need to do anything to show this.

The mycampaigns.cgi script — which is what we link to at the bottom of our mass mailings in English — was broken, but has now been fixed. It’s an important way to encourage people to support our other campaigns.

Finally, the display of news stories on campaign pages has also now been fixed.

Office:

As we anticipate the closure of the Lee Valley Technopark, we are currently looking for new, inexpensive offices in London.

Labour News Network:

This has now been revived. See here for details.

Publicity:

We have a new and growing list of 239 media contacts and have been doing regular mailings to them. We mailed 6 times to them in the last month. Every campaign launch now includes a press release from us.

Before the Berlin conference we printed out full-colour flyers advertising LabourStart in English, German and Russian. These were distributed at May Day events in London and Berlin, and many copies were taken away from our Berlin conference.  We also printed and distributed widely postcards advertising Dan Gallin’s new book.

We had stalls displaying our books and other publications at the 3rd World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation in Berlin earlier this month, at the DGB (German national trade union centre) congress, and at May Day in Berlin.

LabourStart’s 4th, and most ambitious, book is published

I am very pleased to announce that today, LabourStart has published our fourth book — Solidarity: Selected Essays by Dan Gallin.  

These essays span a period of nearly six decades and cover a very wide range of subjects.

The book is 262 pages long and is selling from CreateSpace for just $11.99.

It will soon be available from Amazon and other websites around the world.

A Kindle edition will also become available in the next few days.

We have shipped hundreds of copies to Berlin where we will sell them at both the ITUC World Congress and LabourStart’s own Global Solidarity Conference which opens in less than two weeks.

Gallin himself will attend that event and we’ll hold a book launch there.

More details soon.