Other POD shortcomings

By Kevin • February 1st, 2012

After deciding to self-publish consider expectations for sales, and quantity.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a print-on-demand (POD) produced book will cost more per unit than an offset run setup to print volume.  Consequently, POD is more cost-effective when printing as few as one book at a time – or hundreds – while offset is less expensive per unit when printing thousands. Other considerations:

  • Assuming the book’s original files were setup and output correctly and you use a first-rate POD printer, there’s an decreasing disparity in quality between books produced via offset compared to high-end digital.  For a decorative coffee-table book illustrating color photography, consider offset. For a novel, memoir, or how-to book with a glossy color cover and black-and-white interior, consider POD. Still, the “which venue question” is more of an economic one that should be tied to unit cost and expectations for sales.
  • It may be difficult to get booksellers to work with POD services because of non-standard purchase requirements and book return policies. But you did your homework upfront and determined your book is best aimed at a local or regional audience. Knock on doors of local bookstores, send review copies to colleagues who have columns in magazines and newspapers, and send digital editions for bloggers to review.
  • You won’t receive help with marketing. It’s up to you to create the opportunities. If you do a lecture circuit, sell signed copies of your books to audiences.
  • Your book may receive wholesale distribution only from your POD service. Because of this, plan to setup a website dedicated to retailing your book and establish social networking venues and multiply marketing efforts there.

Bottom line: If you decide self-publishing by way of POD services is for you, turn shortcomings into opportunities. And if your book is wildly successful, you can always revert to offset!



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