My e-book publisher has started a Print on Demand (POD) service to go along with its e-book publishing services. I’m going to try it out for Portal.
POD fills a gap in the e-book self-publishing model: some people just prefer a printed book. A guy at work said he’d like to read one of my books, but what he really wanted was an autographed copy. Can’t autograph an e-book. (It seemed kind of weird that a co-worker would want my autograph, but not totally weird. There’s something about a signed copy of a book that makes it special.)
There are two major players in the POD world: CreateSpace and Lightning Source. This article explains the differences in mind-numbing detail and ultimately recommends CreateSpace. My publisher uses Lightning Source. Oh, well. The publisher’s model, as with e-books, is that I pay them a (relatively small) amount of money to do all the prep work. They also handle the ongoing dealings with Lightning Source, in return for a small cut of the royalties. You can eliminate the middleman and do all the work yourself if you use CreateSpace, assuming you have the time and energy; I have neither. Per-unit royalties through my publisher are much lower than they are for e-books, because there’s so much more overhead in creating a printed book. The idea is that most of your revenue would be from e-book sales, but the printed option is there for people who prefer it. I can, of course, buy any number of books at a steep discount, and then sign ’em for my co-workers, give them away to passing strangers, etc.
POD is another blow against the business model of traditional publishing. Time to give it a shot.