View Full Version : Difference between printed and publised?

08-21-2006, 02:15 AM
Pls explain difference between printed and publised book.

08-21-2006, 02:26 AM
If I draw the distinction it is normally to separate those who will put anything you want in book form (kinkos to Lulu--printers) from those who selectively choose and edit manuscripts before doing so (publishers).

Cathy C
08-21-2006, 02:46 AM
Hi, cowboy! Welcome back! :)

Okay, this is something that gets a lot of people, so perhaps it would be easiest to say what each of them involves so you can see the differences between them.


1. Taking a manuscript, formatting it into a particular size (mass paperback, trade paperback or hardback size), converting to a PDF or similar graphic and turning it into a bound form. A "bound form" can be:

a) Perfect Binding (pages glued at the edges and cover glued to the pages using heat and pressure);

b) Tape Binding (pages glued at the edges and covered with a narrow strip of cloth using heat and pressure);

c) Coil Binding (pages perforated and metal coil inserted to bind the pages); or

d) Comb Binding (pages perforated and plastic comb inserted to bind the pages).

In most cases, Perfect Binding is the method used to bind manuscripts.

2. Printing CAN include placing an ISBN on the cover, and placing a barcode on the cover.

That's pretty much it for printing. Now, some self-publishing houses offer the following services to aid their customers that are available for an extra fee, PAID by the author:

A. Selling a single ISBN to the author (because they're usually purchased in blocks.)

B. Proofreading the manuscript for spelling errors.

C. Formatting the manuscript to the required format that the printer requires.

D. Providing cover art from stock photographs/drawings on hand.

E. Loading the book's information on websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com


1) Review of an incoming manuscript to adhere to a certain quality control based on other, similar books of the company.

2) Careful review and editing of plot, characterization, timelines and flow to achieve the best possible product to the marketplace.

3) Registering of the copyright with the Library of Congress.

4) Providing as many ISBNs as are required for the forms to be produced, free of charge to the author.

5) Selecting cover art from either in-house or freelance artists that is intended to be eye-catching and reflect the contents of the book, free of charge to the author.

6) Inclusion of the book in catalogues sent to distributors and wholesalers who purchase books for bookstores.

7) Inclusion of the book in marketing pitches to book buyers for stores and chains.

8) Inclusion of the book in paid advertising to bookstores, and paying for special treatment of the book including:

a) Face out

b) End Capping

c) Store "Recommends" ads in hand-outs and flyers

All free of charge to the author

9) Printing of Advance Copies which are sent to reviewers of major magazines, free of charge to the author.

10) Contracting with booksellers to provide credits on invoices for unsold books (returns).

So, what is the difference? Publishing includes SELLING the book--working and paying to place the book in stores, and allowing the store to return unsold copies and get their money back. A printer doesn't do this. A printer doesn't have a distribution chain, or sales representatives, or contracts in place to accept returns from stores.

The product might LOOK the same on the outside, but it's like a glacier. It's what's under the surface, that the public doesn't see, and the author doesn't see, that is the MAJOR benefit of a commercial publisher.

Does that help? :)

08-22-2006, 12:39 AM
The problem with "published" is that there's a word left off in front of it. For almost all purposes, the better term is "commercially published"—that is, the book/periodical was published and distributed through the stream of commerce. Copyright Office guidance under the 1909 Act, up until adoption of the Universal Copyright Convention in the 1950s, made this very clear; in fact, what we now know as "self-published" work was treated as unpublished for copyright purposes.

As usual, the unconsidered case is vanity publishing (aka "subsidy" publishing). Unfortunately, the Copyright Office didn't do a very good job with this, sometimes considering vanity publishing as "published" and sometimes not. In contemporary practice, a vanity publisher is more akin to an extremely expensive printer than it is to self-publishing, let alone commercial publishing. (Of course, YMMV by vanity publisher!)

08-29-2006, 12:20 AM
Academia has a good concept called "effective publication". If you want to build valid academic publishing credits, which most university professors need for career advancement, it is critical to publish in recognized vanues, with peer review, etc. So you can't just go out and self-publish your academic paper on the mating rituals of the blue-spotted Mojave death spider and expect it to be considered "published".

The word "publication" carries within it the word "public", which implies making the thing available to the public. Just getting it printed and posting it on your website doesn't do that, not in any "effective publication" way. Unless you can get past that hurdle of "effective" publication, your book is only printed.


09-01-2006, 07:18 PM
Yeah, it has to do with the connotation (although the previous post detailing the specific details was AWESOME).

PRINTED usually means "I paid to get professional-looking copies of this."

PUBLISHED usually means "Someone liked this enough to make professional-looking copies of this for me."

As mentioned in an earlier thread, though, there are people in bucket B who will essentially do the bucket A tasks for you, to remove that bucket A stigma, so a further clarification is usually needed.

03-09-2007, 01:56 AM
I need a little more clarification on self-pubbing versus vanity press. Is Amazon Book Surge, for example, considered vanity or self pub? What about LuLu? thanks.

03-09-2007, 02:37 AM
I need a little more clarification on self-pubbing versus vanity press. Is Amazon Book Surge, for example, considered vanity or self pub? What about LuLu? thanks.
The answer would require a lengthy essay to do it justice. Allow me to recommend that you spend some time exploring related threads here. There has been a great deal of discussion that I think you would find informative.

In a nutshell, though: a book is self-published if and only if the author owns the ISBN. It is a vanity publication if the author pays for publication and does not own the ISBN. That is so whether the author pays tens of thousands of dollars up front (old-line vanity presses like Vantage) or hundreds of dollars up front (newer style vanity presses, often called subsidy publishing and typically using print-on-demand technology, such as iUniverse or many others), or nothing up front but is badgered to buy his/her own books in quantity at inflated price (PublishAmerica, which also uses print-on-demand approach).

Everything else becomes more complicated, and different people use the terminology differently. All aspects have been beaten to death on other threads.

Nonetheless . . . a few more comments for orientation.

With genuine self-publishing, the author is a business person whose business is publishing and who specializes in publishing works he or she has created. This can be lucrative, but it requires that the author/publisher be responsible, directly or via contracts, for editing, book design, proof reading, printing, storage, distribution, marketing & promotion, and all business overhead tasks. (Obviously the product has to be one that people want to buy and with a market that the publisher can reach.) A sort of hybrid arrangement (albeit one that is never likely to be meaningfully profitable) can be attained via print-on-demand through Lightning Source (or even Lulu, although that is even less likely to be profitable), but is self-publishing only if the author owns the ISBN(s). If the author does not own the ISBN(s), it is subsidy publishing.

One of these days I do have to write the definitive article elucidating the above.

BTW, one self-publisher of my acquaintance not only wrote and illustrated his book, but also literally printed and bound it himself on equipment of his own design.


03-09-2007, 03:15 AM
I think also a good way of looking at self-publishing is imagine you wanted to make a book. So you print up your book on your printer and take it to a photocopy place and then make 100 copies. Then you buy a different kind of paper and make some covers, and then you get a needle and thread and bind the work.

Places like lulu.com are like the photocopy place. You are buying their services to help print up your book for you. You give them all the information then they do it for you. And you pay them for materials and the work.