2. Basics of Digital Printing/POD Publishing/Desktop Publishing/Self-Publishing

The following information is predominantly based upon the use of CreateSpace.com as the POD publishing company of choice.

But many generalities apply to (certain) other POD companies. (See chapter on “Choosing a POD Company”)

  • The book is submitted as print-ready files (PDF format) and stored by the POD Company.
  • Changes can be made to the file whenever you want (usually only for the price of a new proof-copy of the book—minimal cost).
  • Everything is printed to order.
  • The cost per book is fixed and does not depend upon the size of the order. You can order one copy or a thousand. There is a slight benefit in postage cost for larger quantities ordered. Thus you can buy books as your orders come in.
  • You pay only for the books (and proofs-@ reasonable cost) that you order….no up-front costs, no storage/filing fees,
  • You own all rights to the book.
  • You choose if/how you want the book distributed. Most POD companies have Distribution Channels to sell your book at no cost to you. For example, the POD Company that I used has an online e-store and sells through Amazon.com for no additional fees. They also have ‘expanded’ distribution options that I could use for a fee. However, since my book is a niche-market book I feel that these services are a waste of money for me and my book. You are not obligated to use the Distribution Channel to handle the sale and shipping of your book. You can try it for awhile and then decide to cancel in the future.
  • Royalties are paid for books sold through the POD companies distribution channels. Royalties are based upon the price you set for your book minus the POD companies manufacturing costs and vary between POD Companies.
  • If you choose to use the Distribution Channels of your POD company, you allow the company the right to print your book and make a profit on the printing/manufacturing/shipping of each copy ordered. You have the right to a royalty for each book ordered/sold this way.
  • The author is allowed to purchase books for a fixed price (publisher’s price) however no royalties are generated on those books.
  • All books must have an ISBN number. Various options are available through the POD Company in regard to whether or not you need to purchase and ISBN number for your book. Pay special attention to the question of who owns the ISBN—you or the POD Company. Various rights are associated with ownership of the ISBN. I chose to purchase a block of 9 ISBN numbers that are mine, thus I own all rights to my book.
  • You have the right to terminate your book’s relationship with the POD Company at any time.
  • Most POD companies allow the author to set the price for their book.
  • Keep in mind when setting the price for your book that you need to be able to offer the book to wholesalers and retailers for 40 to 60% of the books set retail price (the price the consumer pays). Thus your fixed price must be lower than lower than 60% of the retail price or you won’t be making any profit. This is true for self-marketing. If you are using the POD Companies Distribution Channels, you will need to calculate the retail price based upon their royalty versus manufacturing costs model.
  • Most POD companies offer fee-based services including (but not limited to): formatting, proof-reading/editing, graphic art, custom cover creation, etc. Keep in mind that these services are primarily aimed at authors creating novels, poetry—in other words, books with only words—or books such as children’s books that a photo per page. We are creating hybrid books—words and images of various sorts.
  • There are various kinds of POD companies—they are separated into 1. Fee-Based & 2. True-Independent publishing style.
  • All POD companies have minimum/maximum page numbers. Usually the maximum is not an issue with niche market books (in the range of 300 pages). The minimum may be of interest. My POD companie’s minimum is 24 pages.
  • As a self-publisher, the authors bears the cost of production and marketing of the book, but controls all the aspects of the publishing process including: content, print style, cover art, pricing, distribution channels, and most importantly the rights and profits of the published works. Digital Printing and/or Print On Demand Publishing allows me a cost-effective way to do all this.
  • The whole premise of self-publishing is based upon the fact that the author will have to market the book themselves. Because we are publishing ‘niche-market’ books (books with limited interest to the general population) we know that the market probably better than anyone else. We are not writing novels that appeal to large amounts of people….we are writing limited-market books. Becoming a ‘Self-Publisher’ means you automatically also become a ‘Marketer’!

I chose to market and sell my books myself via a website, direct marketing to lacemaking suppliers, and through a couple of wholesaler agents. The only real outlay of money I had was in what I needed for the digital creation process (software programs, hardware) and in ordering proofs and copies of my books from the POD Company

Further information about all of these topics are in ensuing web pages of COST-EFFECTIVE DESKTOP SELF-PUBLISHING OF A NICHE-MARKET BOOK.