Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Print on Demand - pros and cons

Following some interesting comments made by various members of the Writers News forum I have decided to make a list of pros and cons with regard to POD which will be added to my article Print on Demand - Is Vanity Fair?

Admittedly as a POD author I may be slightly biased in favour of it, but when I look at this list, there are definately more pros than cons. Read it though and judge for yourselves.


POD stigma – this applies more to the US though than the UK, where things are rapidly changing.
Author has to cover costs.
Low discounts and lack of sale or return mean that book stores are less likely to stock.
No sales representation – author has to work hard at marketing their own books.
Relatively high print costs giving less scope for negotiation with discounts etc.
Time consuming.
POD cannot accommodate the sending of review copies six months ahead of publication – unless you delay your launch and use initial copies for these purposes.
The POD author cannot get access to their sales data – since they are not the publisher.
Huge learning curve and not for the faint hearted.
No guarantees that the book will sell.


Excellent way to test the market and prove those agents/publishers wrong who rejected your work.
No agent/publisher in their right mind would reject a successfully self published book - such an author is then able to negotiate better terms.
Minimise the risk by printing copies in short runs or as they are ordered.
Books are never out of print – provided you pay your annual fee.
POD books have a greater window of opportunity in which to be sold – commercially published books have at the most 6 months to a year.
Easy and inexpensive to change cover and/or text.
No books to store. Author does not have to deal with orders/fulfilment themselves since these are filtered through the wholesaler.
Speed of delivery – average commercially published takes 18 months to see print, with POD this is shortened to 3 months.
Higher royalties.
Greater creative control.
Eco friendly.
The author knows that any successes are entirely due tot their own efforts.
Wonderful way to make friends and influence people.
Learn lots of new transferable skills.

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