Publishing your book  

Part VI - Print on Demand 

[Times have changed since a certain author was executed for murdering his publisher - Sir James Barrie]


Since the first edition of this booklet was published, there has been a significant development in the economics of self-publishing by virtue of new print-on-demand (POD) technology.  This means, very simply, that instead of  self-publishers having to estimate in advance the quantity of books they will require printed, the book can be stored by the printing company in a retrieval system and copies can be printed off as and when required.  


This has not invalidated any of the information provided earlier, but offers a useful option whereby it is no longer necessarily uneconomical to publish a first-run edition of, say, 50 copies - or even less.  It remains advisable, if you believe you can sell them in a reasonable amount of time, to go for a standard print-run of 500 or more.  But if you have reservations about your ability to market your book, then the new technology will permit short-run printing of as few as 20 copies.  


The benefits (and minor drawbacks) of POD have been neatly expressed by John Owen Smith of Hampshire on his website (  


. . . September 2001, and Im ready to send my latest book for printing.  Back come two quotes -

* The traditional method: 1,186 for a run of 500 books = 2.37 per copy.

* The new method (POD): 40 to set up and 1.62 per copy printed thereafter.

Dear reader - did I have to think twice?

Well, yes I did, because there are some limitations to the POD method.  First you have no choice of paper grade for the text pages (its 90 gsm), and although it will give fairly good halftone reproduction of photographs, its not coffee-table quality.  Second, the cover is not laminated and tends to curl more than does a conventional cover.

But on the plus side, the cost is the same for a full colour cover as for a single colour cover.

I went for POD, and if youd like to see a sample of the resulting book, A Parcel of Gold for Edith, Im happy to sell you a copy at a discount price of 4.30 (including UK postage and packing). 




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