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Silverhand
08-22-2006, 03:37 AM
Hi there,

I am trying to do some research on publishers in general. Moreso, I wish to define them.

My first question is; What are the different kinds of publishers? The ones have heard of are traditional, POD, Self-Pub, Epub, Vanity, and Subsidy Press.

My second question: Can publishers mix and match? For example could a Traditional publisher use POD technology? Could you consider a traditional publisher someone that publishes using only online publication?

My third question: What are the different technologies used in publishing? I know of Offset printing, POD printing, and Online Printing. Are there others?

I am under the assumption that POD presses are not the same thing as Self-pub presses. However, both use the POD technology? Could you have a POD publishers using POD technology, or are those terms synonomous with each other?

Lastly, if I were to delineate a publisher by class range what would be the best way to do so? For example DAW Books is a traiditonal publisher/Off-set tech. Mundania is a traditional publisher/POD tech. Atlantic Bridge s a traditional publisher/e-pub tech?

In your opinion, and for ease of use, what would be the best way for me to lay it out? And, how can I best define what a publisher is in a dual role system?

Thanks for any input

jchines
08-22-2006, 05:29 AM
I'm not an expert, but here's what I know...

-POD. Print on Demand is a technology, nothing more and nothing less. Some very well-respected publishers use POD. So do the vast majority of scams. So do some legitimate self-publishing companies. (Lulu.com comes to mind right off the bat.) Trying to define a "POD Publisher" isn't going to get you anywhere.

-E-books vs. print publishers is probably a decent distinction, though some publishers do both. It's good to know going in, though. DAW does print. Baen Books does print editions, but also tends to put e-books online for free. And some publishers do pure electronic books.

I'll let more knowledgeable folks take it from here...

Popeyesays
08-22-2006, 05:40 AM
POD is a technology for sure. It has become a business model where the publisher does NOT print a book til he has an order in hand. This makes for delays in delivery.

A lot of people these days are using POD technology to support a "Print TO Demand" business model. They print in batches of 500-1000 or 2,000 using POD technology and stockpile the books in their own warehouse for delivery. When stock runs low they order another batch.

A strict POD publisher using both the technology and the business model is distinguishable by the fact that they have no warehouse. The delays on delivery can be weeks instead of days, especially if it is a quantity order.

Regards. (sorry for muddying the waters further, but what do you expect from muddy water),

Scott

Jaws
08-22-2006, 09:42 PM
In taxonomic terms, there are only three kinds of publishing activity. Keep in mind that some entities may, for some purposes, participate in more than one of these. Self-publishing occurs when the guaranteed money flow on the first date of publication is away from the author, but the author has legal title to the books as they come off the press (whatever kind of press that may be). Vanity publishing (sometimes called "subsidy publishing," and in more dubious circumstances "cooperative publishing") occurs when the guaranteed money flow on the first date of publication is away from the author and the publisher has legal title to the books as they come off the press. Commercial publishing occurs when the guaranteed money flow on the first date of publication is toward the author; ordinarily the publisher has legal title to the books as they come off the press.

It's called "commercial publishing" not because it's necessarily for profit, but because commercial publishing (primarily or exclusively) sells books in the ordinary stream of commerce. Almost all publishers whose books are made available in what we would recognize as "bookstores" or public libraries engage in commercial publishing—all the way from Random House, through university, professional, and religious presses, to small presses that put out a book a year.

Two particular caveats: "Traditional publisher" is meaningless. It's a term popularized by some really disreputable—indeed, outright fraudulent—vanity publishers in the early 1990s. The earliest comparable use I've seen of the term dates to only 1991. The most-prominent current user of this term is the notorious PublishAmerica. Print on demand is a publishing technology, not a business model or a means/method to distinguish one publisher from another. Just as with traditional ink-on-paper machinery, POD books vary widely in quality, and in application. For example, it is becoming increasingly common for professional publishers (e.g., Aspen Law, Thomson West, Lexis) to use POD technology to produce quick-to-market supplements, such as a current-academic-year supplement to a Constitutional Law textbook that incorporates the stuff from the term that ended at the end of June.

maestrowork
08-23-2006, 12:13 AM
Jaws's post is great.

You have to understand three things:

- Business Models
Specially how books are acquired, published, distributed, and sold. Also, how authors are paid (or do they even get paid)? Who owns what rights?

- Technologies
Digital printing, web-based content, electronic formats, offset, etc.

- Distribution
Print-on-demand, online distribution (eBooks), commercial channels (stores, libraries, etc.)

So, yes, technically speaking, any of these combinations is possible. For example, a commercial publisher could use digital printing and distribute the books on demand. Some of these depend on or enable others. For example, digital printing enables POD, and PDFs enable eBook...

The reality is that most business models use a specific subset of these combinations. Commercial publishers have the best flexibility. They would most likely use offset but distribute the books through commercial channels. But they may sell eBooks, too, and use digital printing. Vanity presses, on the other hand, are more likely to do POD only and maybe eBooks, and they most likely could only distribute their books through online venues.

Silverhand
08-23-2006, 02:35 AM
Thanks for the info and education. This is very interesting info!

Keep the information coming. :)

Lauri B
08-24-2006, 08:46 PM
Silverhand, do you need this information for more than personal interest? I think the above pretty much covers it.

Silverhand
08-24-2006, 10:07 PM
Hi Nomad,

I am trying to put together an on-line publisher list for SF/F/Fiction

I am then trying to break it down in a excel like database...where the viewers can click on Type of Publisher and Method of Publishing.

So for example, if you clicked on DAW Press, it would list DAW/Submission Guideline Link/Traditional Publisher/Off-Set Print Runs/Does not Require Agent/Currently Accepting/Snail Mail.

or

Atlantic Bridge Publishing/Submission GL Link/Epublisher/Online Publication runs/Does Not Req Agent/Currently Accepting/Email

My idea to be able to sort by any of the listings.

Sorry, I got off topic. I mainly want to know this...to better define what each publisher is...and how they print.

JanDarby
08-24-2006, 10:26 PM
HOW they print the books probably doesn't matter so much as what formats they're available in and where they're available (e.g., brick & mortar bookstores, bn.com & amazon.com, fictionwise.com, etc.)

Most people -- both readers and writers -- don't care if a book is offset print vs. hand-calligraphied vs. some other form of printing (and probably don't know the difference).

As authors, we care about whether our books will be on the shelves, and if not, where they will be available; as readers, we care about getting the books in the format we prefer (I have at least one friend who prefers ebooks, but will settle for a print copy if necessary, and of course many people are the other way around, and then within the ebook format generally, there can be formatting preferences among pdf, html, pocketmobi, adobe acrobat, and, oh heck, I've forgotten the other option, but there's at least one more), in the location (online or brick & mortar) we prefer and at the price we're willing to pay.

Oh, and print runs seem to be a highly guarded secret among publishers, and varies hugely within a given publisher, depending on the author's name recognition and the genre. Probably not something you'll be able to collect, except in terribly generalized terms, along the lines of "under 5K to over 100K books" for larger publishers and "up to 5k books" for smaller publishers.

JD

Popeyesays
08-25-2006, 01:25 AM
Hi Nomad,

I am trying to put together an on-line publisher list for SF/F/Fiction

I am then trying to break it down in a excel like database...where the viewers can click on Type of Publisher and Method of Publishing.

So for example, if you clicked on DAW Press, it would list DAW/Submission Guideline Link/Traditional Publisher/Off-Set Print Runs/Does not Require Agent/Currently Accepting/Snail Mail.

or

Atlantic Bridge Publishing/Submission GL Link/Epublisher/Online Publication runs/Does Not Req Agent/Currently Accepting/Email

My idea to be able to sort by any of the listings.

Sorry, I got off topic. I mainly want to know this...to better define what each publisher is...and how they print.

I forcefully suggest you avoid the term "Traditional Publisher" like the plague. It didn't exist as a term before Publish America started using it to describe themselves.

Regards,
Scott

JerseyGirl1962
08-25-2006, 06:32 PM
I forcefully suggest you avoid the term "Traditional Publisher" like the plague. It didn't exist as a term before Publish America started using it to describe themselves.

Regards,
Scott

I agree with Scott. Maybe use "Commercial Publisher" instead.

~Nancy

CaoPaux
08-25-2006, 07:33 PM
Writer Beware (http://sfwa.org/beware/) provides an excellent summary of publishing models and methods.

http://sfwa.org/beware/vanitypublishers.html

http://sfwa.org/beware/printondemand.html