Getting published is no easy task. But it’s quite the double edged sword because if it was easy, it wouldn’t be as rewarding, right? Imagine how exciting it will be when that call of acceptance comes through from the one out of one hundred publishers you originally queried. In this day and age though, we no longer have to wait. We have the benefit of something that authors never had before us: options. Were in the midst’s of a publishing war as we speak and not too many people are aware of it. There’s a new form of weaponry out there and it’s called Print on Demand.
Print on demand (POD) basically rids the industry of the traditional “batch printing” method used by publishers to print thousands of books at a time. POD enables a book to be printed one time, literally “on-demand.” The book, including the cover, is set up as a digital file. When the order comes through, the right file is selected by the computer which then gives the instruction for the print on demand machine to start producing that piece of material. There is a set up cost which consists of setting up the file in the system, an annual fee for the storage of the file and the cost of producing each individual book is rather more than producing it in batch quantities but your money is saved elsewhere.
The largest advantage is the fact that you don’t have to gamble your savings away in hopes that your book will be a best seller. You can create a small quantity and try to create a buzz with what you have until your book sees a greater demand.
Agents and traditional publishers are being thrown a grenade and authors are getting closer and closer to pulling the pin. Most authors will admit that they might want to hold out for a publisher seeing as how historically being welcomed into an agents circle is the definition of “making it.” But traditional publishers should be scared right now. As I’ve written about before with the lack of periodicals and everyone moving toward a digital media for their content, people publishing their own content is the next step in the demise of the publisher.
Maybe we should be looking forward into time when each book can be produced to order for the customer in the book store. But the high cost for both batch printing and the POD machines makes this seem like a possibility left to be looked at in the distance. Technology though can bring pretty rapid change as we’ve seen recently so who knows where it will take us.