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Elwyn
08-19-2005, 07:27 PM
Quite a few years ago, there were only a few recording companies and they dictated what people heard as far as music. Same with the broadcasting business before cable; you only had a few channels to choose from and were stuck with what they decided you’d watch. Ditto for the news industry.

It seems that the publishing industry may have the same type of stranglehold on book readers. The only choice you have (as far as books to read) is what they decide to publish.

Could it be that “good” PODs may open the door for new authors? Are we seeing the beginning of something new here? I think the Internet is (still) changing everything. It would seem that a smart POD would have a killer Web site and promote it heavily. I am brand new at this publishing "problem" so your learned opinions are most welcome.

DaveKuzminski
08-19-2005, 08:08 PM
No, they don't have a stranglehold on the public. In actuallity, they're responding to what the public wants. If tomorrow the public demanded stories with a specific content unlike what currently sells, the publishers would respond. However, public tastes are generally fixed on what they want, so if you want to sell very well, then you have to write very well on the content that the public wants.

Furthermore, you have to use the current system because the only practical way at present for people to find what you have to offer is for them to find it on the shelves of stores. Most people are not going to cruise the Internet to find your book among the millions that are available either new or used. Only a few shop in that manner. Most people want someone to sort through all of what's available to present to them only the classics and the newest works by known authors and those deemed good enough to stand beside them.

So, no, it's unlikely that the PODs will open the door for anyone, though it's possible that a very few authors will eventually develop writing careers through that entryway into publishing.

Elwyn
08-19-2005, 08:18 PM
Well, it seems Hollywood does not follow the publishing philosophy then. Some experts have proven (by profit numbers vs. movie types) that they (Hollywood) put out movies they think people should see (and use it for political propaganda) rather that what the public really wants.

I’ll have to take your word for it that the publishing industry goes against the grain of most other media and entertainment outlets.

Sheryl Nantus
08-19-2005, 08:22 PM
just walk into your local bookstore and look at what's on the shelves.

THAT sells.

look at how many POD books are on the shelves, if any.

people are still going to want to SEE the book, feel it in their hands and read a few paragraphs before they consider buying the book - and they can't do that online.

the publishing industry is hard enough to crack - don't handicap yourself even more by going POD (except in certain circumstances, of course) - unless you plan to do a heck of a lot more promoting and spending money than actually WRITING.

as usual, jmo - ymmv.

logos1234567
08-19-2005, 09:10 PM
It would seem that a smart POD would have a killer Web site and promote it heavily.

The difficulty is the self-publishing pod company are only as good as their authors. If they had one crap author in there among gems then buyers will judge them on that. And they usually have a lot more than one crap author. So what does the pod company do? Only promote their good stuff and potentially offend their crap authors, or only take on decent stuff and probably soon go out of business as all their time would be spent sifting through the crap to screen it. This manpower expense would have to be passed onto the decent authors as well as the costs for decent editing, text formatting, cover art ...and this would now make the major plus point of self-pub pod (it's cheapness and availability to the writer-masses) disappear.

Just browsing on LULU previews (the preview obviously should be one of the best crafted parts of the book) gives you a very good idea of the average self-publishing authors's quality of formatting, typos and bad writing. All of the previews I looked at for what I thought to be the better books that looked interesting to me were awful...all round. And I believe in self-publishing as I know some self-pubs can be good (like mine - ha!) I am sure there are some good 'uns on LULU et al but they are unfortunately in the minority. (But hey, let's not knock pod...self publishing has always historically printed crap, whether litho or pod - there's just a lot more of it now as it is affordable. And full marks to LULU etc, at least their print /cover quality is much better than many of the traditional vanity press's litho works)

look at how many POD books are on the shelves, if any.

You are referring to self-published pod books (ie Lulu, Xlibris, Iuniverse etc?) rather than pod books in themselves. Many conventional publishers also use pod but the thing is you would never know. You cannot always judge a book by its cover! I found out about the pod publisher I am currently with (Diggory Press who are also a regular publisher in their own right) quite by accident: I picked one of their books up in a bookstore and bought it...as I thought it was great I checked their website out and found out about their self-pub imprint so PODs can get into bookstores.

Sheryl Nantus
08-19-2005, 09:40 PM
but the fact is that you FOUND it on a regular bookstore shelf... which means that the bookstore either took a chance on a non-returnable book or that it was returnable.

that's the ticket - having a returnable book. Bookstores can't afford to buy books that they can't return for credit, thus the problem with many printers/publishers who leave that part out of their spiel - if it's not returnable, NO major bookstore is likely to stock it.

having an online site means nothing in the long run for your book - even with all the search engines and all the great "boost your ratings on Amazon!" stunts, people are still buying MORE books offline than on... and getting your book on the shelf next to the others is going to get you more sales than having a faboo website or good reviews on an online bookstore.

James D. Macdonald
08-19-2005, 09:50 PM
Let's not confuse short-run digital printing (with a Xerox Docutech or something similar), sometimes called POD, with vanity publishing (sometimes called POD because so many of them these days rely on short run digital printing with a Xerox Docutech or something similar).

I think I'm going to move this thread to POD Self-Publishing and E-Publishing, since it's off-topic for Bewares and Background Check.

Elwyn
08-19-2005, 10:33 PM
For logos1234567:
You may have stumbled onto a good business model for a POD. It would take some time to setup and recoup their investment, but maybe they could screen the books and only sell "quality" stuff. In essence, they'd morph into a real publisher.

logos1234567
08-20-2005, 12:46 AM
Elwyn - if the publisher did this they'd pay out several thousand bucks on manpower and professional everything which they would have to charge onto the author... and if doing it properly involved advertising and marketing that's a 5 figures sum...even 6 figures for a campaign that would not even rival the proper publishers.

Which author has got this kind of money and who would spend it when there's all the LULU type places for a fraction of that loot? I don't think this model is viable in this climate....most authors also think their book is unique in that it does not really need editing, it is perfectly crafted as is, and they can do everything the pub company does for themselves for a fraction of the cost!

And don't forget there's the stigma that this company would have to face re self-publishing authors. I have got away from this stigma by having my own publishing company name - few people know it's self publishing as my company name means nothing to them - people are none the wiser it is all me, so my books get into the stores and libraries. They wouldn't get into the stores and they wouldn't sell if people knew it was self published. Heck, I don't even buy self-published books and I like self-publishing!!!

BUT if this hypothetical company were to advertise for authors their cover would be blown and they and their authors would be screwed....

Aconite
08-23-2005, 05:34 PM
A similar discussion, in the Novel Writing section: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17573


Well, it seems Hollywood does not follow the publishing philosophy then. Some experts have proven (by profit numbers vs. movie types) that they (Hollywood) put out movies they think people should see (and use it for political propaganda) rather that what the public really wants.
I strongly suspect those statistics and the conclusions drawn from them are themselves political. People are not forced to go to movies. If they truly didn't like what's out there, they wouldn't say, "I don't like anything that's showing, but let's pick something and go see it anyway." They'd say, "Why don't we drive to the beach?" Anyone who's ever done commission work knows there's a difference between what the customer says they want and what they actually want. They say they want something innovative and groundbreaking, but they really want the same thing they liked last time, just a little different.


I’ll have to take your word for it that the publishing industry goes against the grain of most other media and entertainment outlets.
No, you don't. You can research all of this. Gather information, evaluate the credibility and accuracy of your sources, and draw your own informed conclusions. I think you'll discover that publishing is no different from other entertainment outlets, but that your understanding of how those outlets operate was incorrect.

James D. Macdonald
08-24-2005, 08:36 PM
Some experts have proven (by profit numbers vs. movie types) that they (Hollywood) put out movies they think people should see (and use it for political propaganda) rather that what the public really wants.


Are you saying that because The Fast and the Furious (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0232500/business) made so much more money that Shadowlands (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108101/business) shouldn't have been produced?

Where does Deuce Bigalow II (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050811/REVIEWS/50725001) fit into all this?