Monday, December 14, 2009

The Future of Print Runs

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Oh, please go read this.

Print on Demand Publishing - The Underdog with a Big Bark
by Doralynn Kennedy

What a nice way to start a dreary and cold week - an informative, sensible article about an aspect of the publishing industry. (And that mentions Ellora's Cave in a positive way.)

The days of huge print runs, and then books going out of print when the copies are gone, are changing fast. I think that model will soon be gone completely for any but the top of the list. It makes so much more sense to do a smaller initial run to fill existing orders, then print more as needed for additional orders. Far more cost effective! Paper is expensive, and so is warehouse space. And don't we all cringe about the discarded copies from too many printed? What a waste of resources. And authors would love it if the Print on Demand/Print to Order distribution model kept their books available basically forever.

Many smaller presses, like Ellora's Cave, do PTO. Lightning Source/Ingrams has long filled orders that way. I know of two of the big traditional publishers who now have a press line in their warehouse to immediately fill small orders. Yes, most of the big publishers, and most of the writer organizations, are still strongly biased against POD, but the comet has struck and these dinosaurs will need to evolve or risk dying out.

This is the sane and sensible way to produce print books. Or, of course, everyone could convert to the even more efficient and cost-effective digital books. ;-)


Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hello Raelene,

Thank you so much for recommending my article. Your visit earlier today was a nice way to wake up.


Angelia Sparrow said...

Digital books are only cost effective for those of us who have computers or e-readers. Both of those are very expensive toys and many, many people cannot afford them. But they can get a paper book from the library.

There are also format questions. Will my e-books today be readable in 20 years? The copy of "Tatty Mae and Catty Mae" that I've had for 40 years is still readable. (and during power outages, you can read paperbooks by candlelight or lantern light.)

But on-topic, PTO and POD publishing is the way to go, in my opinion. It never made sense to me to produce oodles and oodles of books, have the book stores order them and then send them back when they can't sell them.