Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Print on Demand - Is Vanity Fair?

For the past few days I have been busy writing an article on print on demand to go on one of the new sections of my website - The Write Stuff.

I have observed during my travels on the well trodden path that a lot of people both within and without the book trade seem to think that POD is vanity press. I find this most irritating and also very misleading to the general public. Mind you, there is a certain school of thought within the industry (thankfully shrinking fast) that resolutely refuses to believe that anything that is or has been self published is of any use to anyone outside the smallest room in the house. Mention highly successful spiritual but initially self published titles such as The Power of Now, The Celestine Prophecy and Conversations with God and their eyes just glaze over!

Oh well, you can never win some people, and I really should stop worrying about them anyway - the only ones that I should concern myself with are those lovely and slightly more forward thinking people who see past the rubbish that is frequently touted around re such books, and use their own eyes and brains and think for themselves. As I say at the end of my introduction - there are 2 types of people - shepherds and sheep. Which one then are you?

The aforementioned article anyway has now been added to my website and is entitled Print on Demand - Is Vanity Fair ? In this article I discuss in detail, both good and bad things about print on demand (problems with supply for example and the inability to send out advance review copies six months of time).

The best selling point actually I think though is the eco-friendliess, and this is something that in my humble opinion, POD printers and providers should make a lot more of. According to the October edition of Writing magazine, a recent poll showed that the majority of British book buyers would be more than happy to pay a little extra for what they considered to be an eco- friendly book, and the industry are considering setting up a kite mark scheme. POD books then it goes without saying would automatically qualify. After all, why fell an entire forest and pollute our waterways with ink and dyes to print books which later end up being pulped. Why not just print them to order in small batches as POD does? Sure a lot of these pulped books are recycled and some books may even be printed on recycled paper, but think for a moment about the chemicals that are needed to strip the ink from the paper and the water, electricity (from non renewable sources) that is needed for the recycling process. Surely it is better not to have printed these books in the first place !

I am looking forward to the Authors OnLine 10th anniversary celebration in St Neots on 13th October when one of the guests will be a representative from Lightning Source. I wonder what they will have to say on such matters ?

Having done some website updates then over the past few days, and rang a few more book shops, I have totted up the number of shops where my book is now stocked. I am proud to say that it has reached the magical number of 55. Here then is a full list of those who have told me they have ordered to date:

Borders - Brighton, Kingston-upon-Thames, Newbury, Uxbridge, Wimbledon, Whiteley's (Bayswater)

Waterstones - Aberystwyth, Andover, Aviemore, Barnstaple, Barnet, Basildon, Belfast, Blackpool, Bluewater, Bournemouth, Braehead, Brentwood, Brighton, Chesham, Covent Garden, Coventry (Lower Precinct), Derby, Dorchester, Dorking, East Grinstead, Epsom (High Street), Exeter (Roman Gate), Folkestone (Sandgate Road), Godalming, Horsham, Ilford, Inverness (Eastgate), Kensington, Kingston-upon-Thames (Bentalls Centre), Leadenhall (London), Liverpool, Llandudno, Lowestoft, Manchester (Trafford Centre) Market Harborough, Oban, Piccadilly Circus (London), Putney, Reading (Oracle), Redhill, Romford, St Neots, Scarbrough, Southampton (Above Bar), Southampton (West Quay), Slough, Staines, Stirling.

Independents - Chalice Well Bookshop, Glastonbury

That then I think is a cause to celebrate !

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