Saturday 12 February 2011

Print On Demand

A lot of people still talk about this and there is still a bit of a perception that POD smack of self-publishing or worse still, vanity publishing.
Yet shouldn’t POD technology be welcomed? It is so less wasteful of paper and time. Customers can have pristine copies within a week – often sooner. Okay, so Lightning Source has the monopoly, but that considered they are very good to the publisher who use them:
  • Their product is superior to many of those of traditional printers.
  • They are quick and efficient.
  • There are rarely problems, but when there are, they are quick to respond.
  • They have an efficient support team ready to lend a hand when needed.
  • They are very well connected and if you go direct with them you have access to many distributors.
  • You can have books printed locally, thus saving on shipping costs.
There are other arguments anyway in favour of POD:
Books need never go out of print. This could be construed as a disadvantage. However, there is nothing to stop you taking a book out of print if you want to. It’s just that you don’t have to.
For the sake of a new ISBN and a new set-up cost, so, about £50.00, you can make frequent minor alterations to a book.
One disadvantage may be cost. A title that cost £1.50 to print may cost £0.20 using more traditional off-set printing. But for the latter you are talking about print-runs of thousands. Smaller companies may not be able to pay those sorts of figures up-front. Besides, the sort of companies who use POD – some of the 80,000 small presses - have few overheads so can still make a tidy profit on some ways of selling though generally price their books so that even the least lucrative way of selling makes a profit. For instance, Bridge House’s charity book, 100 for Haiti makes £7.00 for the appeal when bought straight from our site, though individual ones ordered by bookshops only make a few pence. Small presses can stay in charge. Once they’ve recouped the set up costs of the book, each book looks after itself.
Many people probably do not realise that most educational books and academic books are printed on demand. They tend not to be printed until they are ordered. This seems very sensible to me.
Print on Demand is very 21st century. Personally, I love it. I think we should embrace it whole-heartedly.

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