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donwin
09-07-2006, 09:11 PM
I Know, I know, get an agent or use traditional Pubs. However, I have been published before- I have a niche market so I do my own marketing & fulfiment. I have never used POD & i've researched MANY sites to see what is best for me. I may need some minor help with setup & the cover. (like to use a stock cover) & I have a bank of IBSN's So what I really want is a trusted POD publisher that has the best deal for authors that just want to buy their own books in like 50 -100 lots at atime. I've become so confused at all the hype about retail price & royalties, (they should not matter for me) and fees & charges that i'm bewildered. Can anyone help? I guess my situation is different than most. Peace be with you, Joe

Lauri B
09-07-2006, 09:30 PM
Hi Joe,
I think veinglory has a lot of experience with this. I'll give her a heads-up on your question.

James D. Macdonald
09-07-2006, 09:35 PM
Why not check with printers in your local area?

Medievalist
09-07-2006, 09:40 PM
Go with a local printer; they should have at least a docutech or something studlier.

Ask to see bound samples. Make it clear to them that you're likely to be a repeat customer. Think about putting a statement to the effect that they printed the book, a colophon, at the very end on a separate page, if you can get a price break.

Use decent paper; cheaping out on the paper means the ink won't adhere properly.

donwin
09-08-2006, 06:38 PM
Thank you all- the locals i've contacted don't want small runs. Anyone know anything about First Choice Books in CA? I can get 120 pg PB 5.5X8.5 for $100. set up+ abt $6.00 @ or Pawprints in KS.

huw
09-08-2006, 09:17 PM
Do the "locals" you've contacted include general print-shops? The reason I ask is that our local high street printer (the sort of place where you drop in to get a business card, letterhead or brochure done) can do paperbacks on demand. Looking at the premises from the outside, you wouldn't necessarily imagine that.

Also, since you have ISBNs, I think you are in a position to sign up with Lightning Source directly. This could be worth your while, just to compare their pricing with the $100+$6@ that you mentioned above.

Medievalist
09-08-2006, 09:38 PM
Are you looking at the right places? Kinkos, for instance, will do it.

If you really want to handle distribution yourself, then check out Lightning Source; I've had very good luck with them for work related books. Just make sure you have a digital file that's up to snuff; possibly get someone who's good with Quark, InDesign, or the like to do the final layout and prep.

veinglory
09-08-2006, 10:18 PM
Hi Joe,
I think veinglory has a lot of experience with this. I'll give her a heads-up on your question.

Can't say I have any direct experience. I run a small site for self-POD book reviews but have not published this way myself. The sites people seem to like best (lulu, iuniverse) are really based on selling books one by one through websites direct to readers. If you wish to buy a short run to have in your own physical possession to sell at conventions etc then you should look at local printers as they are routinely much cheaper than places that have to ship to you and provide online distribution as part of the deal.

donwin
09-12-2006, 07:09 PM
Well I tried local printers in the area again. Kinkos refered me to the home office for a quote & they were quite high. I tried several others but some said they can't do binding & others just were not interested. I'm sure if I spent enough time I'd find someone in the Tampa Bay FL area but so far I've wasted a lot of valuable effort. God knows I tried. So back to POD on line- Any other ideas?

Lauri B
09-12-2006, 07:12 PM
We use a publisher in Maine for our galleys, which look like books on the cheap (but aren't cheap to produce). Is that what you're interested in?

Wordworm
09-12-2006, 09:13 PM
I agree with finding a local supplier you can work with, but I'd try going at it through the vendors. Xerox, Canon and HP (Indigo) are three major manufacturers of POD systems. Locate each of their local sales offices and talk to a sales rep, who are usually happy to send new clients to their customers. Visit a local printer to get a copy of American Printer or Graphic Arts Monthly (or check their websites) and look for info on POD equipment and vendors. Google your city or area + things like "iGen 3", "DocuTech", "Indigo". For instance, I just did quick search and hit a site called www.aeonix.com that had a list of POD book printers that started off with A&A Printing Inc. (POD), 6103 Johns Road, Tampa, Florida 33634 URL: http://www.printshopcentral.com Tel: 813-886-0065

I don't think you should have that much trouble finding what you're after. Google is a wonderful thing.

JanDarby
09-12-2006, 09:22 PM
I did a quick google search and came up with hillsboro.com, which seems to have the equipment to print books. Maybe you already talked to them.

You might also check lulu.com, where I think they post their prices, to get an idea of what they would charge, and see how it compares to a local printer. That way, at least you'll know whether the local prices are, in fact, higher than you can get on-line. Or you might be able to use it as a negotiating tool.

JD

Wordworm
09-12-2006, 10:03 PM
I did a quick google search and came up with hillsboro.com, which seems to have the equipment to print books. Maybe you already talked to them.

You might also check lulu.com, where I think they post their prices, to get an idea of what they would charge, and see how it compares to a local printer. That way, at least you'll know whether the local prices are, in fact, higher than you can get on-line. Or you might be able to use it as a negotiating tool.

JD
Lulu's prices are only worth looking at for very short runs, otherwise their pricing is really high, especially if you need 4/c.

There's also the option to look around for someone with a Heidelberg DI, especially one of the older ones like a GTO-DI, simply because you know they're older and all paid-for at this point, and that can mean better pricing. There are quite a few different presses and printing systems out there besides DocuTechs and DocuColors.

Anthony Ravenscroft
09-13-2006, 12:01 AM
Wordworm, you mean well, but it's the set-up costs that'll get you.

Our printer is willing to do short-run offset for us... as long as we pay the $450 setup fee. I could have one really expensive copy printed if I was willing.

They also have a line that used to be for galleys -- it's POD-type. About five years ago, they figured they could use the same 4/0 lam covers as for the offset line, & produce some good-looking books. The per-unit is higher, of course, but the setup is like $125.

That might still sound a bit high, but it indemnifies them against errors. For instance, we just had to return 200 copies of a book because the laminate set wrong, & a cover would start to curl in five minutes -- in the dry mountain air of Santa Fe, yet. They took 'em all back, shipping paid, & sent us another 200, done correctly. (I felt bad, because the interiors were spotless, but it's cheaper to pulp than strip/rebind.)

Wordworm
09-13-2006, 12:29 AM
Not sure what you mean about offset, Anthony. None of the print systems I was talking about are commercial offset. Xerox and Canon are toner-based, Indigos use special proprietary inks and plates, Heidelberg is direct imaging (DI) to plate. If you mean POD printers who want "set-up" in addition to printing costs...well, that's kind of like a copy shop charging to put your original on a photocopier (in fact, it's the same printing technology). I wouldn't pay it.

If we're talking about commercial offset printing costs (and of course in this context, I mean sheetfed, not web), there's no such thing as a "set-up fee". There are five main parts to an offset job, and even though most printers hate quoting this way, this how you should ask for it to be broken down:
Prepress/prep (where printers tend to make the most profit proportionately)
Proofs
Plates and makereadies (per plate)
Press run (per M)
Bindery

Printers like to quote one total price for a job, but I always insist on a breakdown, and if they won't provide it, I don't use them.

Anthony Ravenscroft
09-13-2006, 11:03 AM
But, WW, how do they print the covers?

And certainly my hands-on experience is a couple decades old -- sure, go ahead, kick the geezer around! -- but matching cover sheets to page blocks still takes some coordinating. Then there's when the guillotine goes pearshaped or (like my experience) the covers don't cure right & are already beginning to bubble or delaminate.

And when they're all coming perfectly off the rollers, still nice & warm, someone's got to box them up, label the boxes, & match off against the order, before getting them down to the shipping area. While large runs have all but automated these tasks, there's no way it'd be cost-effective for a hundred books, much less a half-dozen, hence there's labor costs, & therefore overhead.

All of which fits rather neatly into "setup charges." No, I'm not talking about dusting off the plates or mounting them in the press. Even with those artifacts entirely out of the picture, the system still hasn't made it to the "one-click" level, & someone's got to pay for that, whether it's factored in as per-job or per-unit.

howland
10-17-2006, 07:30 PM
Realizing Random House is not going to pound on my door with a fantastic offer to publish my novel, I have decided to go it alone. I have read about most of the vanity and POD companies although I'm not quite sure if I know the difference. One company which received a favorable review on a blog was Bookworm. I can't seem to find out too much more about them. If I wish to spend 1200 and publicize the book myself, is this company one that would satisfy my goals? Any help from those out there who are much more knowledgeable than yours truly would be appreciated. Thanks

citymouse
10-17-2006, 08:41 PM
H-- I'm a POD author and I looked at BW. I suggest you look at iUniverse before you make your choice. Their URL is www.iuniverse.com (http://www.iuniverse.com)
I have two books out now, one with Author House and one with iU. IMO iUniverse has a much better setup. Be sure to check our the editorial section. Keep in mind none of this is cheap so be prepared to spend $$. Remember too the old adage that you get what you pay for.
If you want to email me out of forum I'll be happy to tell you my experinces with both iU and Author House
Good luck.



Realizing Random House is not going to pound on my door with a fantastic offer to publish my novel, I have decided to go it alone. I have read about most of the vanity and POD companies although I'm not quite sure if I know the difference. One company which received a favorable review on a blog was Bookworm. I can't seem to find out too much more about them. If I wish to spend 1200 and publicize the book myself, is this company one that would satisfy my goals? Any help from those out there who are much more knowledgeable than yours truly would be appreciated. Thanks

jamiehall
11-16-2006, 09:13 AM
I have read about most of the vanity and POD companies although I'm not quite sure if I know the difference. One company which received a favorable review on a blog was Bookworm. I can't seem to find out too much more about them. If I wish to spend 1200 and publicize the book myself, is this company one that would satisfy my goals? Any help from those out there who are much more knowledgeable than yours truly would be appreciated. Thanks

I published one POD book and nearly published a second before I came to my senses (see the whole long story here (http://jamiehall.livejournal.com/17217.html)). I've also got an article about some of the terminology here (http://www.jh-author.com/self-publish.htm).
If you can possibly resist the POD/vanity lure, do it. What you're considering should only be a last resort, and even then should not be entered into until you fully understand POD and the results that it is likely to get you. I'm generally under the impression that the most reputable POD self-publishing outfits are Lulu (http://www.lulu.com/) and BookLocker (http://www.booklocker.com/).

huw
11-17-2006, 08:10 PM
I published one POD book and nearly published a second before I came to my senses (see the whole long story here (http://jamiehall.livejournal.com/17217.html)). I've also got an article about some of the terminology here (http://www.jh-author.com/self-publish.htm).
If you can possibly resist the POD/vanity lure, do it. What you're considering should only be a last resort, and even then should not be entered into until you fully understand POD and the results that it is likely to get you. I'm generally under the impression that the most reputable POD self-publishing outfits are Lulu (http://www.lulu.com/) and BookLocker (http://www.booklocker.com/).
I wonder to what extent is your view of how successful this project has been is coloured by the Authorhouse fees and royalty structure?

800-odd sales isn't too shabby for a self-pubbed, niche-oriented book. In fact, I would call it a modest success story. I wonder how many sales a small offset press could have achieved? Or a trade publisher, for that matter. Would your book even be orderable through retail channels after three years, or would I have to pick up a remaindered copy on abebooks?

To put your sales figures in perspective, check out a couple of recent posts by poddymouth:

http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/2006/11/its-all-in-numbers.html
http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/2006/11/national-book-awards-or-this-aint-no.html

It sounds like your decision is made, but in your shoes I would consider making a free lulu edition (preferably with a new cover) and keeping it on sale. There is then no question about rights (though as far as I can see from Authorhouse, they specifically leave rights with the author too). The book has been published by a vanity POD; whatever downside that brings cannot now be undone, but there are potential upsides (sales and possible press) to be considered.

Whatever, I wish you the best of luck.

ResearchGuy
11-17-2006, 09:17 PM
... I have a bank of IBSN's So what I really want is a trusted POD publisher that has the best deal for authors that just want to buy their own books in like 50 -100 lots at a time...
Look into www.aventinepress.com (http://www.aventinepress.com).

With your own ISBNs, you might do best to deal directly with Lightning Source.

If you want to consider a short-run book printer, check out www.unitedgraphicsinc.com (http://www.unitedgraphicsinc.com), which comes highly recommended by a local self-publisher of my acquaintance. (Her book was designed by a professional book designer: http://www.aeonix.com/.) United Graphics does POD as well as offset book printing.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
11-20-2006, 08:07 PM
...800-odd sales isn't too shabby for a self-pubbed, niche-oriented book. In fact, I would call it a modest success story....
Modest indeed in comparison to the 30,000 - 75,000 copies for leading titles by a couple of niche-oriented nonfiction self-publishers of my acquaintance. (Each has other titles in print, too, and each runs a full-time self-publishing business with no employees.)

A couple of days ago I had a chat with a co-author of a novel published by one of the major commercial publishers. That one had sold upwards of 30,000 copies (paperback AND hardback editions -- the 30k was for the paperback alone, I believe), but the author wondered where the money was. She has not seen a dime since the small advance. Yet a self-publishing novelist acquaintance of mine makes a profitable business of it. The current best-selling among her books has sold 30,000 copies, last I heard (general-audience historical novels are her focus), and revenues enable her to hire office help.

On the other hand, I know self-publishers who struggle to sell in the dozens.

--Ken

huw
11-20-2006, 09:30 PM
Modest indeed in comparison to the 30,000 - 75,000 copies for leading titles by a couple of niche-oriented nonfiction self-publishers of my acquaintance. (Each has other titles in print, too, and each runs a full-time self-publishing business with no employees.)

It would be interesting to know the subject area; that's going to have a big impact on marketability.



A couple of days ago I had a chat with a co-author of a novel published by one of the major commercial publishers. That one had sold upwards of 30,000 copies (paperback AND hardback editions -- the 30k was for the paperback alone, I believe), but the author wondered where the money was. She has not seen a dime since the small advance.

Ow. I wonder what her contract says.



Yet a self-publishing novelist acquaintance of mine makes a profitable business of it. The current best-selling among her books has sold 30,000 copies, last I heard (general-audience historical novels are her focus), and revenues enable her to hire office help.

On the other hand, I know self-publishers who struggle to sell in the dozens.

--Ken
Going by the figures I linked from poddymouth's blog, sales in the range 30,000-75,000 are a rarity no matter who the publisher is. Quoting, for example:
Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies.
Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies.Accepting that these were 1 year's figures while jamiehall's sales were over three years, I still believe this gives some context to 800+ sales of a vanity POD, self-marketed title in an area that I presume is seldom perceived as "must have" information.

jamiehall
11-20-2006, 10:17 PM
Going by the figures I linked from poddymouth's blog, sales in the range 30,000-75,000 are a rarity no matter who the publisher is. Quoting, for example:

Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies.
Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies.Accepting that these were 1 year's figures while jamiehall's sales were over three years, I still believe this gives some context to 800+ sales of a vanity POD, self-marketed title in an area that I presume is seldom perceived as "must have" information.

Yeah. When you look at the poddymouth post (http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/2006/11/its-all-in-numbers.html) you have to put everything in perspective. Do the math, and you'll see that I sold less than 300 copies a year. That's super-low for anything except an extreme niche (for extreme niche, think of a textbook for a subject that only a couple thousand people ever take a college course in). I know my book is niche, but it isn't extreme niche, and I've seen similar folklore titles put out by trade publishers sell quite well. So, no, my book wasn't having a chance to live up to its potential while I had it as a POD vanity-published book. Despite having several websites that received serious traffic (including one that was mentioned by USA Today) and getting fan email all the time, my book still sold like cr*p.

Also, you need to put the Neilsen Bookscan numbers in perspective too. For one thing, those are sales for only one year. What really matters is the total sales over the lifetime of a book. A book that sells 5,000 copies over its entire lifetime is usually considered enough of a failure by trade publishers that they won't publish the next book by that author. However, a book that sells 5,000 copies a year - especially if it continues to reliably sell that many each year - will probably stay in print and may end up having quite an impressive total before it goes out of print. A book that sells 100,000 copies over its lifetime is considered a very good success - but it may have sold 10,000 a year for ten years to get there.

Plus, the Neilsen Bookscan is not definitive. It is estimated to miss about 20% of sales, and is very likely to miss books that are not being sold in bookstores (such as gardening books being sold primarily in commercial greenhouses). So you want to up all those numbers by 20% (or, in some cases, by more). Some books would jump to the next highest category if you added 20% to all those numbers.

ResearchGuy
11-21-2006, 01:24 AM
It would be interesting to know the subject area; that's going to have a big impact on marketability....

The 30k guy, wildland firefighting. That's his textbook on the subject. Ancillary publications (books and other materials) he also offers have added a lot to total sales. Mind you, that is over a dozen years or so. The books are not cheap at retail. Nice markup, even with college bookstore discount.

The 75k guy, regional history (in a light vein -- popular paperbacks, not textbooks or the like). That is his top among 16 self-published books.

Another acquaintance sells thousands of his self-published semi-technical books -- at prices up to $90 each (that one includes a CD-ROM disk). The books are a sideline to his consulting business. You would not believe the markup over cost, although he probably has significant marketing costs (perhaps defrayed by consulting revenues ... that I do not know). He would lose a fortune in revenues if his books were commercially published.

Granted, they are exceptions. But it is not likely that I happen to know the only few highly successful self-publishers. The thing is, those folks are professionals -- organized entrepreneurs who do all the right things and who have products people want to buy.

(BTW, I suspect that no one is tracking their sales, or sales of folks like them. Their sales are between them and the IRS.)

--Ken

PilotGiRL0071
11-24-2006, 09:53 PM
Hi everyone, despite all the research I've done on PODs, I still haven't found what I am looking for and thought that maybe someone here had an idea?

I am looking for a bindery to put together ONE book at a time for me. The books are personalized and therefore every single one will be completely different. So far, none of the PODs I've checked out cater to this sort of business. Also, does anyone know how the rights work with something like this? Is it crucial for me to secure the rights to each individual personalized book I design to be binded?

I hope someone can give me some advice with this because I desperately need it and will keep researching in the meantime! Thanks!

Julie Worth
11-24-2006, 09:55 PM
I am looking for a bindery to put together ONE book at a time for me. The books are personalized and therefore every single one will be completely different. So far, none of the PODs I've checked out cater to this sort of business. Also, does anyone know how the rights work with something like this? Is it crucial for me to secure the rights to each individual personalized book I design to be binded?

Lulu will do that. I use them as I write a book, getting single copies printed for editing. And I occasionally get single personalized copies printed for submissions.

ResearchGuy
11-24-2006, 10:04 PM
...I am looking for a bindery to put together ONE book at a time for me. The books are personalized and therefore every single one will be completely different. So far, none of the PODs I've checked out cater to this sort of business. Also, does anyone know how the rights work with something like this? Is it crucial for me to secure the rights to each individual personalized book I design to be binded? ...
In addition to Lulu.com (a pretty obvious choice), try your local OfficeMax, Kinko's, Staples, or Office Depot. They can all print the contents and bind in various ways. You might also scour your local Yellow Pages for printers and ask around. Some may have POD equipment in house. I have had them copy and spiral-bind manuscripts for me after I have done preliminary book-style layout. They should have other binding options, too.

Dunno what you mean about "the rights." If you mean copyright, you automatically own that as soon as you create something in tangible form (see www.copyright.gov (http://www.copyright.gov)). It seems highly unlikely that there would be any sense in registering the copyright, on the basis of what you have posted here.

--Ken

soloset
11-25-2006, 03:18 AM
That's a good question, especially if you're doing something like those personalized romance novels (cool idea, by the way), where some of the content is supplied by the client.

I'd assume common details, like eye color and first names, wouldn't even be an issue, but if I were you I'd make a new thread for the question, since copyright is notoriously complicated and someone might have more info. :)

sarahcypher
11-27-2006, 09:27 PM
I'm a freelance editor, and a number of my clients have chosen the POD route. For what you would like to do, if offset printing is out, I would recommend a small POD company that doesn't upsell you on their marketing options. Some impressions based on my clients' experiences:

1. Virtual Bookworm is a good company. One guy is basically the whole show, and for the price, he does a good job and wants you to be happy with the product.

2. Infinity Publishing is also reasonable, though the binding/cover/paper quality is not as good as VBW's.

3. Stay the heck away from Publish America.

4. Bookpublisher.com (now Wheatmark?) is quite expensive, but the product is very, very good.

One poster mentioned AuthorHouse. I have no experience here, but based on information at Preditors & Editors, I would look at other options. They recently lost a libel suit and are shelling out cash for damages. Not a great business atmosphere to enter, at the very least.

And finally, these recommendations aside, Clea Saal has assembled an excellent comparison of most of the POD companies: http://booksandtales.com/pod/index.php

Good luck!

jamiehall
11-29-2006, 06:08 AM
Going by the figures I linked from poddymouth's blog, sales in the range 30,000-75,000 are a rarity no matter who the publisher is. Quoting, for example:

Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies.
Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies.I did find nearly the same sales statistics quoted in Miss Snark's blog (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006/11/speaking-of-wit-knitting-updated.html), with lots of interesting commentary, including some debunking of some aspects of them (for example, library sales have been totally excluded, and one book may have four different ISBNs, which are counted as separate books).

huw
11-30-2006, 08:52 PM
I did find nearly the same sales statistics quoted in Miss Snark's blog (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006/11/speaking-of-wit-knitting-updated.html), with lots of interesting commentary, including some debunking of some aspects of them (for example, library sales have been totally excluded, and one book may have four different ISBNs, which are counted as separate books).

I believe (from memory) that poddymouth credited the Miss Snark blog as the place where she came across the report. It'd be interesting to know how much the figures are understated, and whether the innaccuracies are skewed towards the big-sellers (eg, having four editions of a book tells us something about the publisher's view of its likely success. Similarly with strong demand from libraries).

jamiehall
11-30-2006, 09:42 PM
I believe (from memory) that poddymouth credited the Miss Snark blog as the place where she came across the report. It'd be interesting to know how much the figures are understated, and whether the innaccuracies are skewed towards the big-sellers (eg, having four editions of a book tells us something about the publisher's view of its likely success. Similarly with strong demand from libraries).

I found these additional resources on the Neilsen Bookscan numbers:

http://www.bookscan.com/about.html

http://www.fonerbooks.com/q_sales.htm

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/stevecarper/bull168.htm

http://800ceoread.com/blog/archives/005951.html

http://www.thebookstandard.com/bookstandard/news/retail/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001804456

Estimates of total accuracy seem to run from 65% to 80%, with all sources indicating that the Bookscan numbers are on the low side (that is, more books are sold than the Neilsen Bookscan shows).

huw
12-01-2006, 02:18 AM
Thanks.

K1P1
12-03-2006, 11:48 PM
I am looking for a bindery to put together ONE book at a time for me. The books are personalized and therefore every single one will be completely different. So far, none of the PODs I've checked out cater to this sort of business.

Depending on how many books you plan to put out "one book at a time" you could just do it yourself. There are now (relatively) inexpensive binding options available for a few thousand dollars. Check out the machines at http://www.powis.com. You can get a small one for about $2000, and bigger, better one for about $5000. If you are planning to put out a lot of books over the next few years, then this might be the best way to go. You could also provide the service to others for a fee in order to help pay for your investment.