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bryant June 4th, 2007 01:46 PM

Do you ever lose sonbooks?
I was wondering how many of us have lost complete songbooks from the clubs we play at and how often this type of theft occurs??

kedmison June 4th, 2007 03:27 PM

Over 7 years now. Have always had 2 books by title and 8 by Artist. Never had one lost, stolen or destroyed. Lucky I'm sure.


bryant June 4th, 2007 05:54 PM

I see, that was another thing I was wondering? How many books do we bring to our shows. I bring eight, all by artist, and keep a master for me by "title and artist",
to my more "sloppy" bars. To the VFW's etc, I bring 10 books that are by "title and artists", leave them out but I would say only 4 or 6 get used now.

Lonman June 4th, 2007 07:30 PM

In 15 years i've lost maybe 10-15 books. Most of them i'm sure went to regular singers that just wanted to be able to have the list at home to check out more thoroughly since the majority of the time, the book count went back to normal after a few days - partly why I started placing the book on my website & it actually has helped. I seriously doubt other kj's came in to steal the book, it wouldn't do them any good unless they were trying to duplicate my exact library & even if they did, they can go online.
I have found missing books in the garbage at the end of the night, on top of video machines, behind the bar, in the parking lot, and once in the urinal - obviously a disgrunted singer :r , that particular book I left for the night crew to come clean up.

Destroyed - that's a different story, but it's only due to multi handling per night & people being stupid not knowing how to take care of a book! :e Will do a reprint at least once per year & get new binders at least 2-3 times per year. Just ordered new binders today as a matter of fact.

Have 10 Title books & 10 Artist books. Used to have 15 combined books until I needed to move up to a 3" ring plus the printing cost was getting rather large. 3" is too big for nightly use. Now I only have to print 10 combined books & split them into 2 sets, 20 1 1/2" books total!

Side question! Until the last say 2-3 years, I have ALWAYS listed my books as (example) Garth Brooks - alphbatized under B in the artist section, NOT as Brooks, Garth. It seems lately no one can find it. They tell me they look in the B's and can't find it, they look in G's & can't find it. Then they tell me the books aren't alphabatized. I assure them they are & to look for the artist like you would be in a record (CD) store. After 15 years it looks as though i'm going to have to change my format to read last name first, first name last. I know I may be one of the last companies to list my books this way & i'm sure it's because of crowd shifts & new singers that don't know this, but MAN don't people know simple filing anymore!?!?!? :f

mindonstrike June 12th, 2007 10:38 PM

In 7 years I've only had 1 book actually stolen. I'm 99% sure it was a KJ couple (man&woman), They didn't tell me they were KJ's,but that was the impression of them I got from the first moment I spoke with them. I know it was them because only 1 title book went out that night and they had it. I soon started collecting books afer they left and that book was nowhere to be found.

I had 1 binder destroyed by a latecomer who was ticked off that his friends couldn't sing.

I've had a few that have disappeared only to show up a week later. Not sure if it was borrowed or if it was just misplaced for the week.


billyo June 21st, 2007 08:03 AM

i lost maybe 2 songbooks..but what i lose the most are my PENS..i used to used pencils but they look cheap and still i keep losing 'em. i buy about a 3 packs of pens a month..

Lonman June 21st, 2007 01:10 PM


Originally Posted by billyo (Post 63328)
i lost maybe 2 songbooks..but what i lose the most are my PENS..i used to used pencils but they look cheap and still i keep losing 'em. i buy about a 3 packs of pens a month..

Go to Walmart, get the cheap pens @ $.50 per pack of 10. I usually stock up with around 20 packs or so & just keep them on hand.

bryant June 21st, 2007 04:54 PM

I use the "golf" pencils. I don't think they look cheap at all. they're small, neat, clean, have no use at home (although I still lose one a night average. less than 5 bucks for 144 of them. Encourage the real regulars to NOT use paper as well.

mindonstrike June 21st, 2007 06:43 PM


Originally Posted by billyo (Post 63328)
i lost maybe 2 songbooks..but what i lose the most are my PENS..i used to used pencils but they look cheap and still i keep losing 'em. i buy about a 3 packs of pens a month..

I used to lose a lot of pens until I started throwing away the caps. It seems people are a lot less apt to put a pen in their pocket or purse if their is no cap.
I now only lose about 2 or 3 pens a week.

I've used golf pencils at other shows and didn't care for them. Lately though I've been kicking around the idea of switching to them if for no other reason than it's difficult to doodle on a songbook with one.


alanross July 9th, 2007 03:15 PM

I've been wrestling with the songbook issue for the past 12 years. I've only lost two in all that time, but mostly it's because they are large and hard to hide as you exit. We put both listings in one book (title and artist) for ease of use. Our books currently weigh about 5 pounds each and are in two inch binders.

We've been using the three ring binders and every page is in a sheet protector, but this year, as we began working on the new edition, we realized that the cost of production would be about $50/book. We already have binders, but the cost of paper and ink + cost of sheet protectors + time to stuff each page into the sheet protectors + pizzas and sodas to feed the friends and employees that have come over to help stuff the books = $50/book. We have more than one system and use 8 books per system. Even making books for just two systems would cost $800!!! I had to find an alternative.

Granted, we've all come to expect that producing the songbooks is just part of the cost of doing business. But I got to thinking that there has to be a way to minimize this cost.

I found which is an on-line publishing company. I can produce each of my songbooks in paperback form (kinda like a phone book) for about $10/book. This is a tremendous savings of $40/book!

So, on, I uploaded my work files, completed the process and ordered a prototype book. When it arrived, I was extremely pleased with the quality and professionalism of the finished product. I immediately created a second book with Lulu that is available for sale on-line.

The first book is mine only. I am the only one who can buy it from the manufacturer (Lulu) and it has a box on the front cover that says,
"Property of Endeavors II, Inc.
To purchase a new copy of this book,
See your show host"

I also set the color of the text on the spine to Red.
These are the books I bought to place out at the shows for the audience to use.

The second book I have on-line is exactly like the first, but the cover doesn't have the "Property of" box and the color of the text on the spine is in black. These are available for anyone to purchase for $17.99 or they can be downloaded for $7.99

The reason for the two books is so that when people bring in a book they purchased, we can differentiate between that and the books available to use at the shows.

Now this is a brand new thing we've done and I am waiting for my first shipment of books for the shows to arrive. I've also ordered a number of the books for sale, so I can sell them at the shows. I showed the prototype book to several of our "regulars" at my show this past Saturday night and they've wholeheartedly supported it. Many have expressed interest in buying them. As of this morning, I got notification that two books have already been sold on-line.

People want their own copy so they can go through the list at their leisure, highlight the songs they want and use it as reference. To this end, I expect more sales as word spreads.

We put our books out on one table each night for the show and people come up and take them during the show. Since I use Hoster to run my shows, the timer on the screen tells me when I cannot take any more requests and I go around and collect all the books at that time. Then I make the announcement that I can't take anymore requests and since I already have the books back, it's less likely one will walk out the door.

I will put up a sign on the table where I place the books letting people know that these are for the show only, but they can buy one as a keepsake or for reference from the show host.

There are intrinsic difficulties in this format to the books, like damage from spilt drinks, placing the books on tables with water rings, theft, etc. But the cost savings is significant enough to warrant giving it a try. Rather than $800 for 16 books, it only costs me $160. The $640 difference will go to replacing stolen or damaged books throughout the year. Plus the revenue I make from the royalties of selling books on-line will also help cover the cost of replacements.

Again, this is untested water I'm stepping into, but if it seems like an interesting idea to you, go to and type "Alan Ross" into the search field. My songbook will show up in the listing and you can click on it to see a preview of the book. The preview shows the first few pages of the book and then the first few pages of the artist section and the title section.

We are also offering the download option for people to use as reference if they don't need a hard copy.

Like I said, I've already sold two and I have at least six more verbal orders placed by some of the regulars. I make $6.57 in royalties for each book purchased, so I'm already looking at $52.56 in revenue just for those 8 books. That's practically a third of the cost to buy the books for the shows. That means that even if I lose five of the 16 show books I'll have out for use, I'm still ahead of the game. Sell enough books, and my cost of book production could drop to almost nothing.

Since we work in a tourist area, where people love to buy t-shirts and stupid keepsake stuff, conservatively, I expect 10% of our sales will be to people who just want a souvenier of their trip.

If you go check out my book, please let me know what you think.

- Alan

Lonman July 9th, 2007 05:36 PM

Sounds like a great idea, but how do you add in new disc listings? Or do you just get an entire new batch every time you buy a disc? Or do you get a separate book made for new songs?

mindonstrike July 9th, 2007 06:31 PM


Curious to see how they stand up to the rigors of bar life.


bryant July 9th, 2007 07:04 PM

I wonder if the patrons will tend to write and mark in them? Tear out pages etc. One page gone and that book becomes useless.

Lonman July 9th, 2007 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by bryant (Post 63768)
I wonder if the patrons will tend to write and mark in them? Tear out pages etc. One page gone and that book becomes useless.

I get people writing in the books now on the sheet protectors. Pages gone as well, easier to fix in the binder however as you kind of hinted at.

alanross July 10th, 2007 07:49 AM


Originally Posted by Lonman
Sounds like a great idea, but how do you add in new disc listings? Or do you just get an entire new batch every time you buy a disc? Or do you get a separate book made for new songs?

This is always the first question I get and the answer is, it really depends on how well the books will hold up. For the first few months, we'll probably just print out an additional listing on regular paper and have them available at the book table. If the books become destroyed within the first six months, then we'll integrate the additional songs into the books and produce a new edition of the main books. If the books hold up well, then in six months, we could easily publish an additional song listing book for about $5/book. We're going to have to see how it goes.


Originally Posted by bryant
I wonder if the patrons will tend to write and mark in them? Tear out pages etc. One page gone and that book becomes useless.

This was a major concern when we began to consider this option. It would be easy for people to tear out pages, but we stress respect for the equipment as well as the other singers and our current books hold up real well because people treat them fairly well normally. We're hoping this continues.

We use golf pensils, so there hasn't been a lot of writing in the books we had before because it's hard to write on a sheet protector with pencil, but these new books may lend themselves to all kinds of graffiti. We're hoping that with the option to buy their own books, the "regulars" will have their own books at home and therefore not feel the need to trash the show books. With the "Property of" box on the cover of the show books, we're also thinking it will discourage some people from taking liberties.

The bottom line is, we'll never be able to eliminate people's stupidity, but we're hoping to keep it to a minimum.

This is an experiment, so only time will tell, but the cost savings and benefits make it worth the risk. If it becomes a horrible nightmare after six months, We will probably go back to using binders at the shows, but there's no reason why we can't continue to sell the completed books on-line. If we release a new edition every six months or so, we're bound to have a few people buy the newest versions when they come out.

Modifying the books on-line is really easy. All I have to do is upload a new version of the song list, replacing the old one and the books are only printed when an order comes in. It costs nothing to upload updates, so the on-line books can be as up to date as possible all the time.

The possibilities are as exciting as the worries are troubling. We'll see which becomes more real.

- Alan

ddouglass July 10th, 2007 08:51 AM

Alan, what did you use to produce your database file for this publication?

Lonman July 10th, 2007 12:21 PM

I checked it out, may do a demo book myself - it's free to sign up & actually get a project started to see how it works & what it needs file wise, i'll probably just use a standard pdf file, but it looks like it will take several other database types such as Acess, Excel, Word, .rtf, and a few others.
Got to get my computers back into check first, both my home computers caught a nasty virus(s) over the weekend & had to reformat everything, so i'm in the process of reloading & reconfiguring everything. I like the idea of the low cost.

alanross July 10th, 2007 01:01 PM

I prepared my songbooks by using Hoster's Songbook program, then formatting them in WordPerfect (Microsoft's Word will work too) so that each artist's name appears at the top of each column. Once I had the WordPerfect document formatted exactly as I wanted it, I converted it into .pdf format with a nifty little program I found on-line called PrimoPDF. and then I uploaded the .pdf file to the Lulu web site.

The cover art for the front and back covers, I created in a graphics program (Print Artist) then I converted that art into .jpg format and uploaded it to the Lulu web site. If you follow the steps on the web site, all you really have to do is upload those files and set a price.

Although, Lulu's retail price generator recommended a price of $35.00 for my books, I knew they wouldn't sell at that, so I set the price to $17.99 and I think that's fair.

Lulu only produces books to order, so you can build a book and do nothing with it or make it available for sale and see what happens. It costs nothing to set it up and Lulu only makes a commission on each book sold, so what's the harm? I believe this could be the new wave in Karaoke. I like being a trailblazer.

- Alan

NOTE: One word of warning, however you format your book is exactly what it will look like finished. In other words, any errors you make, will be transferred to your finished project. Double check your .pdf file before uploading it or your errors will appear in your final books.

ddouglass July 10th, 2007 01:58 PM

Alan, I love the front cover!:c :g

So, if you sell a book do you make anything off of it or does Lulu get the difference between cost and sale price?

alanross July 10th, 2007 03:17 PM

I make about $6.50/book and Lulu makes about $1.74.

Did you check out the preview to see how the interior was formatted?

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