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View Full Version : What do you think of POD?


LOG
09-24-2009, 11:08 AM
POD=Print-on-demand
You pretty much walk into a store and they print out the book right there for you while you wait.

What do you think of it, will it last, is it a good idea? Etc.

Mumut
09-24-2009, 12:42 PM
My small publisher wouldn't be able to exist without it so I'm all for it.

Bufty
09-24-2009, 02:22 PM
Why wait? It's even quicker if you pick it off the shelf -already printed.

POD=Print-on-demand
You pretty much walk into a store and they print out the book right there for you while you wait.

What do you think of it, will it last, is it a good idea? Etc.

Ken
09-24-2009, 03:03 PM
... sounds like a good idea. I could see lots of people being interested in this. Wonder how much they'll be charging, and how extensive of a list of titles they'll have, and most importantly how long it'll take to print out a book? I wouldn't mind waiting 10 minutes, but anything longer than that and I'll take Bufty's advise and head over to an ordinary bookstore after imparting a few choice words to the POD employees:

:rant:

Izz
09-24-2009, 04:00 PM
POD=Print-on-demand
You pretty much walk into a store and they print out the book right there for you while you wait.

What do you think of it, will it last, is it a good idea? Etc.I take it you're not talking about the POD tech that is employed by parts of the publishing industry, but are actually talking about those machines (i forget what they're called) where you can select a book and buy it and it prints out on the spot? We've had a few threads about them in the past. Personally, i think they're an interesting concept, but far too expensive for many places to install just yet. And i also think it's an idea that's appeared too late, what with e-readers becoming much more user-friendly and accessible.

ChaosTitan
09-24-2009, 07:41 PM
Why wait? It's even quicker if you pick it off the shelf -already printed.

Exactly.

And until POD books drop to the same price point as their mass-produced counterparts, I don't see the tech taking over.

RedScylla
09-24-2009, 08:54 PM
It would be awesome if you were living in Podunkistan and couldn't just walk into a bookstore and buy anything you wanted. And amazon.com couldn't ship something to you in a few days. Otherwise, it seems like a bit of a carny novelty act.

Phaeal
09-24-2009, 11:02 PM
The point would be that many more books could be available, including those books that deserve publication but which editors and publishers fear would draw too small a market to warrant printing and distribution in the traditional manner.

In a perfect future world, books could be available in several forms:

-- Traditional books, distributed to selling points ready to go
-- Audio books, ditto
-- Digital books, to be downloaded to a reading device or computer
-- POD books, produced by a manufacturer as needed
-- POD books, actually produced at the selling point, in palatable form

We have these now, but in the future, I'd like to see the last method all streamlined and pretty.

A caveat lector: The easier it gets to put out a book, the more marginal books will get through. Doesn't really scare me, though. I already make it a point to read a chunk of any book before I buy it. Including those published by the big names, with big publicity, and big reviews. ;)

Dicentra P
09-24-2009, 11:08 PM
Its not quite ready for prime time. The technology isn't there to get a good quality book (production level) at a reasonable price point. Once it gets there we need some sort of marketing channel to connect potential customers with the books they want to read. Once its there I'm all for it.

maestrowork
09-24-2009, 11:16 PM
Price, not convenience, is the hurdle. Until POD's costs come down, it won't be a viable option for book buyers. Why pay $18 for a book they can have for $10, already in print on the shelf, or just two days away from online stores?

For real convenience, why not an eBook? I just bought a bunch at $9.95 each and had access to them instantly. If you really MUST HAVE them right now, eBooks are the way to go.

What POD could do, though, is keep "out of print" books in circulation in the market. Old classics, public domain stuff, hard to come by reference books, text books, etc. So you have a catalogue of literally millions of books without the overhead of printing, distribution and shelf space. Now, that would be a great service.

ChristineR
09-24-2009, 11:34 PM
I think it's awesome. Imagine having millions of books to choose from at, say, an airport kiosk. Price sounds like it would be an issue, but everything at an airport is already overpriced--I'd pay the extra $8 for the privilege of having any book I want instead of choosing between twenty or so.

RedScylla
09-24-2009, 11:55 PM
The whole airport angle would certainly affect the megalithic nature of bestseller-dom, wherein being a bestseller guarantees better placement and better sales. Theoretically.

maestrowork
09-25-2009, 12:00 AM
The whole airport angle would certainly affect the megalithic nature of bestseller-dom, wherein being a bestseller guarantees better placement and better sales. Theoretically.

Placement, though, is part of marketing/advertising. It's POS. You see Patterson's book on the shelf and you grab it, before running to the gate.

Without that kind of marketing/placement, how do people know to ORDER Ray Wong's wonderful little novel even if it's readily available at the kiosk? Availability is not the same as sales, or else everything on Amazon.com would become a bestseller. And bestsellers don't "need" better placement to get better sales -- or doesn't matter anyway, since most books won't get any placement at all.

Phaeal
09-25-2009, 12:08 AM
Well, getting the word out to potential buyers is nearly the same problem, whether your book is on the shelves (spine out) or in the digital storehouse of the POD house or machine. Unless you can get displayed prominently in the bookstore, it's tough for the buyer who isn't looking for your book to pick it out of the (spines out) crowd.

So, again, the trick is same -- getting the lure out into the water. No, getting a lot of lures out into as many waters as possible.

benbradley
09-25-2009, 12:22 AM
Hee's one of several threads we've had on this and similar topics:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139174
Its not quite ready for prime time. The technology isn't there to get a good quality book (production level) at a reasonable price point. Once it gets there we need some sort of marketing channel to connect potential customers with the books they want to read. Once its there I'm all for it.
Price, not convenience, is the hurdle. Until POD's costs come down, it won't be a viable option for book buyers. Why pay $18 for a book they can have for $10, already in print on the shelf, or just two days away from online stores?

For real convenience, why not an eBook? I just bought a bunch at $9.95 each and had access to them instantly. If you really MUST HAVE them right now, eBooks are the way to go.

What POD could do, though, is keep "out of print" books in circulation in the market. Old classics, public domain stuff, hard to come by reference books, text books, etc. So you have a catalogue of literally millions of books without the overhead of printing, distribution and shelf space. Now, that would be a great service.
You can find 99.9 percent of what you want on the used book market through sites such as this, and 98 percent of the books are priced lower than what it costs to print on a POD machine:
http://bookfinder.com
Of course with POD you get them in a couple minutes rather than waiting a few days for the mail.

Oh, and that's exactly what Google is trying to do with its project to scan All Known Books in its "scan first, get permission later" project.
I think it's awesome. Imagine having millions of books to choose from at, say, an airport kiosk. Price sounds like it would be an issue, but everything at an airport is already overpriced--I'd pay the extra $8 for the privilege of having any book I want instead of choosing between twenty or so.
Exactly.

And until POD books drop to the same price point as their mass-produced counterparts, I don't see the tech taking over.
All other things being equal, I'd want to pay LESS for a POD book since it's lower quality (the pages are laser-toner-printed instead of real-ink-printed, etc.) than a mass-produced book. But like Christine said, the idea of buying a "rare title" that's not stocked on the shelf and having it in a couple of minutes is appealing, and surely worth extra to enough people to make it profitable.