Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Several commenters on different posts here on Straight From Hel have talked about how self-publishing and POD runs are rising as the mainstream publishers are taking hits because of the economy. So, I thought I’d link you up to an article about this very subject. The author, Marisa Peacock, agrees with you. She feels the POD and self-publishing companies who use POD technology are surviving, even flourishing, because even in hard times, they still make their money off the authors:
Even when a book sells only five copies, self-publishers can still make money because cover design and other printing costs are covered by the author.
Since it’s more difficult now to get a publishing deal with a bigger house, more writers are turning to self-publishing.
In 2008, nearly 480,000 books were published or distributed in the United States, up from close to 375,000 in 2007, according to the industry tracker Bowker. The company attributed a significant proportion of that rise to an increase in the number of print-on-demand books.
Why is Print on Demand such a factor? The reason is in its name. Books are printed when ordered. Authors don’t print out a huge run (number) of books and then warehouse them with hopes of selling them someday. She compares the rise of authors turning to POD and self-publishing to the alternative route some filmmakers have taken:
Like young filmmakers before them who used YouTube and MySpace to promote their cinema arts, self-publishing is helping people get their words out.


  1. I'm considering self-publishing for my children's book about Rascal.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Digital printing is just smart! Many publishers of all sizes are using the technology, from small & mid presses doing all of their books in this manner to the big boys who use it to keep back titles alive.

    And with the cry for 'green', digital/POD printing only makes sense.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. Morgan, I'll look forward to reading about your experience on your blog. I'd love to hear it first-hand from you.

  4. In a time when it seems like new authors and mid-list authors are being shut out, using POD seems a way to open the door for them. And you're right, Diane, POD is so much more Green friendly.

  5. I'm all for POD and self-publishing, but there is still a huge marketing hurdle to overcome going that route. Most distributors won't touch POD books because some of the subsidy publishers that use the technology have terrible distribution and marketing policies. That makes it hard for individual authors or small legitimate publishers to go against the tide. Very frustrating. If you do it Morgan, I think a lot of folks will be interested in how it works for you.

  6. So true, Maryann. Even authors published by bigger houses are having to do a lot of their own marketing. But self-published authors (and some with smaller presses) have a huge load to push up the hill.

  7. Good article. I wrote an article for aspiring authors a while back comparing the different venues for getting pub'd and the relative merits and demerits of each. TRUE self-publishing, where the author obtains the copyrights, ISBN #'s, does the cover art (or hires it out), formats the manuscript and then gets it printed is a HUGE amount of work, but it (self-pubbing) most often refers to (is thought of as) companies that will do the work of publishing an author's book for a fee - there's a difference though, that most don't realize.

  8. True, there is a difference, Marvin. You're right.

  9. Great article, Helen. How true about the book industry. I get Google Alerts and it seems like most of them have negative news about the problems the big houses are having and the people being laid off. The writing industry is changing and we are a part of hat change. I have no idea what the future holds for all of us. Just keep writing. The general public and readers are still out there waiting for the next good book.

    Gwyn Ramsey

  10. Excellent advice, Gwyn. Things really are in flux now and it's not easy to say or see how it will all end up. But we writers just have to keep writing so we'll be ready for whatever happens.

  11. With traditional publishing, I, the author, know that my book is worth reading because someone whose livelihood depends on making good judgments about the quality of a book. As a reader, I know that a book is worth reading because some publishing house, whose goal is to publish quality books, has invested money in printing and distributing it.

    If I plan to self-publish, how do I, the author, know when my book is worth reading (other than the infallible opinion of my family and friends, of course)? As a reader, how do I know that the self-pubbed book I'm about to buy isn't crap? Life is too short to waste reading crappy books.

    So far, I haven't seen the self-publishing trend moving away from vanity publishing. That is, most self-pubbed authors have had the goal of being published rather than the goal of writing a book worth reading.


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