Remember the old movies of pod people? Sci-fi, scary music, dark lighting, things popping out unexpectedly? Pod people may be back, but not that kind.
It may be the time of POD people - writers with books printed on demand. That’s what POD stands for: Print On Demand. Some have come to use it as if it means self-published. It doesn’t. A lot of self-published and vanity books are printed and mailed to buyers on demand. So are a lot of books published by regional, small, university and major publishers. Print on Demand is a process, a way of printing books.
Print On Demand makes sense. A few bookstores have POD machines in-house and can print a book in about five minutes. The majority, though, aren’t available for use at bookstores. Who has them? The same people who could print huge runs for bestsellers or smaller runs for regional books.
It cuts remainders - the returning of books unsold. It could give a clearer picture of actual bestsellers. Instead of stores ordering hundreds of copies of a politician’s or celebrity’s book, sending the book to the top of the bestseller list, then returning hundreds of unsold books, stores would order only the ones they know they can sell.
It could make it easier to get your hands on a copy of out-of-print books. Bookstores could “carry” thousands of books - they’d just be in the machine waiting to be printed.
Stores wouldn’t have to carry multiple copies of all of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. But within minutes you could hold in your hands the N book or the A book or whichever one you wanted.
Remember our many discussions about e-books and print books? They can co-exist. We don’t have to divide into camps of “print-only” and “electronic rocks.”
6 months ago