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Old 04-23-2005, 10:17 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default P-O-D publishing article in NYT Book Review

The April 24, 2005 issue of the New York Times Book Review has an article on the book business. How to Be Your Own Publisher discusses several print-on-demand publishing services that operate mainly on the web. Citing the Bowker Books in Print d/b, the article said that the top three of these firms (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, XLibris) brought out almost 12,000 new titles last year.

They discussed Amy Fisher’s book If I Knew Then as an example. Fisher wanted to have control over the publishing circumstances — P.R., particularly — but the services also allow the author to have a larger royalty than conventional publishers. They also provide a ISBN so the book can be sold by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other (online) booksellers.

The article doesn’t really discuss quality, but I think it is more or less Docutech (i.e., toner, not ink), and all are perfect-bound paperbacks.

Vanity press books normally do not get reviewed, and brick-and-mortar stores usually will not carry them. The article describes efforts by these new publishing companies to overcome those barriers. A handful of conventionally published books were discovered when self-published (and self-promoted).

My favorite quotes from the article, both from XLibris founder John Feldcamp:
“Publishing has been an arcane specialist skill under the control of a guild of people that are unique and different from anyone else.”

“Those skills have been so complicated they haven’t been accessible to normal human beings.”
The burden of being not only “unique” and not only “different from anyone else” but also someone who is not a “normal human being” kind of overcame me as I read, so to learn more about this new publishing business you can read the article yourselves! (You may have to register to do so, but I believe it is free.)

   
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