Wednesday 4 January 2023

Print-on-demand does not necessarily mean self-published


Printer, Technology, 3D Printer

And what’s wrong with self-published anyway?


“We don’t stock self-published books”.

I was chatting to one of our authors at our celebration event in December and she told me of some difficulty she was having getting libraries interested in her book, a highly illustrated book suitable for very early readers / infant school children.


The librarians reaction had been “We don’t stock self-published books”.


Why we’re not self-publishers

We are a small press and we put our books through:

  • Three stages of editing
  • Two proof reads by humans
  • One IA proof read  
  • Professional book design
  • Professional cover design
  • World-wide distribution
  • Registration with the legal deposit libraries
  • A basic marketing plan

And we do all of the above rather well – even the machine proof-read.


Why we should cheer print-on-demand

The basic premise with POD is that you only print the books that are wanted – usually already sold. This offers several advantages:

·         Financial security for the publisher – you don’t pay for printing until the sot is recouped or paid in advance and you lose very little money if a title bombs.   

·         Care for the environment

·         Customers get pristine new copies

·         You can make slight alterations to the text without having to wait for the end of a print run = e.g. if a typos has got through the net despite the rigour described above.

·         Amazon KDP offer the further advantage of getting books available on every Amazon store without us having to worry about exports.

·         Ingrams waive shipping for their distributed titles and will print locally when they can.   

There are precedents

Academic and educational boos have always been printed on demand even before the technology for doing so was advanced. These types of book were not printed until they were sold.


Many small presses are now using this technology. It’s extremely useful and cost effective for niche titles.


More enlightened libraries

I’m pleased to say that my on local library hosts indie authors as well as those published by the small press.


And some libraries have stocked books similar to the one that was rejected above.


I reiterate: our books are NOT self-published. Not even those of my own that are published by one of the imprints that we manage. They still go through all of the stages mentioned above and I’m usually only involved in one of the proof-reads.   


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