PR Forum 2013: The $84 Question: Why libraries matter and can do more in the era of e-books, social media and branding

David Vinjamuri, brand expert and New York University (NYU) professor, will speak at the 2013 PR Forum from 8:30-10 a.m., Sunday, June 30 at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago.

In January 2013, Vinjamuri wrote a two-part post about libraries and e-books on his blog. Vinjamuri’s presentation will focus on the importance on branding in libraries, as well as the role of ebooks.

In his post for Forbes, Vinjamuri addresses the relationship between publishers and libraries in the current ebook environment.

He writes, “From one standpoint, public libraries seem like a small thorn in the side of embattled publishers.   They account for a small percentage of book sales, but bleed off more sales by lending bestsellers promiscuously.  Publishers, anxious to discover the next Fifty Shades or Hunger Gameshave little time for their nattering and would prefer that the current fight over eBook pricing quietly disappeared.

“But there is another side to public libraries in America: they are dynamic, versatile community centers.  They welcomed more than 1.59 billion visitors in 2009 and lent books 2.4 billion times – more than 8 times for each citizen.  More than half of young adults and seniors living in poverty in the United States used public libraries to access the Internet.  They used this access, among other purposes to “find work, apply to college, secure government benefits, and learn about critical medical treatments” For all this, public libraries cost just $42 per citizen each year to maintain.”

Vinjamuri adds, “Big six publishers limit public libraries’ access to eBooks at their own peril.  They fail to see that public libraries are an integral part of the fragile ecosystem of reading in America.  Without libraries to encourage new readers, foster book groups and promote communities of reading, publishers will find fewer readers for their biggest titles, and readers will have more difficulty discovering works not on the bestseller list.”

Vinjamuri is the president of ThirdWay Brand Trainers, a contributor to Forbes magazine and adjunct instructor of marketing at NYU, as well as the author of “Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Build Extraordinary Brands” and the novel “Operator.”

The PR Forum will be held at the McCormick Place in room S402a.

The annual PR Forum, one of the most anticipated programs about library public relations and marketing at the ALA Annual Conference, is coordinated by the ALA Public Awareness Committee.

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