Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


California Libraries Flooded With Lame CDs

What do Jessica Simpson, Ricky Martin, Crazy Town, Everclear, Samantha Mumba, 98 Degrees, and Eagle-Eye Cherry have in common? They're all chart toppers -- or they were, in 2003 -- whose remaindered albums from that year are now flooding libraries in California (and elsewhere) under the terms of a 3-year-old antitrust settlement with price-gouging record companies.

Steve Sloan, Supervising Librarian at Sunnyvale Public Library, notes, "It's like what you'd see if you walked into a used-CD store and went to the dollar bin. It seems like the record companies are going through their warehouses and donating what won't sell." I'd say it's worse than that. I rarely see more than 5 or 6 copies of any particular used CD (even ones that were huge for 18 months or so, like Hootie & The Blowfish's Cracked Rear-View or R.E.M.'s Monster) at the used-CD stores I frequent. But this: 405 copies of Ricky Martin's Sound Loaded at the LA County Public Library? And the RIAA is scratching its collective head about why record sales are down?


I wonder how many of these CDs are added to libraries' collections, and how many are being sold, for $1 or less, at library book sales? Hey, libraries who've received lackluster settlement shipments -- what are you doing with your 16 copies of the thoroughly misnamed Irresistible?

Thanks to Christine for the link.


  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Nanette said…

    We got our lame CDs about nine months ago. In Illinois, the lame CDs were sent to each of the regional library systems, and the libraries had to send staff over to the system office to pick up their share. It helped us get a little less crap, I'm sure, but from what I understand, there wasn't much to choose from. After all the libraries had picked out their CDs, the system split the leftovers up and sent a pile more to each library. That's when the really lame stuff showed up.

    It's interesting that they're still sending out copies of that Samantha Mumba CD, because we got about ten of them. I guess they were expecting her career to blow up...and I guess it didn't. We also got multiple copies of just about every "Billboard's Hits of the [insert year here]" for the last thirty years. And yeah, we got some Jessica Simpson, too.

    We ended up with so many lame CDs that we ended up having our practicum student catalog them as her major project. It was all copy, but still...it was a lot of staff hours for a bunch of CDs that nobody will ever really care about, and most of them are still sitting in the processing queue behind all the CDs that people actually do care about.

    So thanks for a whole lot of nothing, record companies. We really appreciate receiving all the crap you were sick of storing in your warehouses.

  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger Christine Borne said…

    here's an update sophie: we got $14K from the lame CD sale, which we're using to fund a 10 concert series this coming fall. hopefully not of lame music.

  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger Liz B said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5:43 PM, Blogger Liz B said…

    And don't undervalue your lame CDs. Our price: $2 a CD. Perhaps we need a shirt: "I won a lawsuit but all I got was this lame CD."

  • At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, but cane anyone beat 17 copies of Whitney Houston singing the Star Spangled Banner??


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