5/22/09

The Rise of the POD People

Just in case you haven't heard yet, the number of titles produced POD (print on demand) surpassed those printed via offset (also called traditional) in 2008. That really is a pretty big deal.

To clarify a bit, we are talking about print options, not publishing options. As a refresher (or more clarification if you're new to this whole thing) you must keep in mind that print on demand is a type of printing not a type of publisher, even though the term is often applied that way.

POD is used by all kinds of publishers, from those the size of Penguin to the smallest micro-publishers. It simply means that books are printed one at a time or a handful at a time when ordered, using digital technology, like a big copier. The other method, (traditional) is offset printing which usually starts around a 1000 copies and goes up and utilizes ink and plate technology.

So what does this all mean for the average author? Here are just a few points:

1. More small and micro presses use POD technology, so that increase in titles likely came from those sources.
2. The above is good because it opens the door to more authors getting their work out there, the above is not so good because it also means more competition on the shelves whether physical or virtual.

3. In my opinion, the broad assumption that if it's POD it can't be good has never been correct or fair and if this trend continues, "the industry" has to take notice.

4. What will happen next year in publishing? Who knows, but the best way to prepare is to make sure you educate yourself so that you can choose the best path for you, whether it's POD or not.

If you'd like to find out more about the stats, you can find an article on Bookseller.com

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

2 comments:

JaxPop said...

"It simply means that books are printed one at a time or a handful at a time when ordered, using digital technology,..."

POD just makes sense as a method to control expenses, cut waste & reduce the impact on the environment. The disadvantage for authors taking that route is the lost opportunity for shelf space in the bigger brick & mortar stores where many readers buy on impulse. Countering that negative is ... no returns for the author or printer to deal with.

I think we will see the POD option come into even heavier use by everyone as the technology continues to improve & in response to economic conditions. The worry about lousy books making it to market? - hey, I've seen the good, the bad & the ugly from all kinds of publishers & authors. Reading posted excerpts for POD books (any books - really) should help a reader decide if a title is worth buying.

BTW - I added a link to my blog for Publishing Answers. Hope that's okay with you. My site is rated G (for ghosts?).

Keep up the good work. Liked that link you sent the other day. Dave

Cheryl Pickett said...

Hey Dave,
Oh, it's just awful when one of my readers spreads the word about my blog :-)
That is very kind of you, truly appreciate the effort. Glad you find things worth sharing.

I also agree that the consumer will always be the judge of whether something is going to sell. Even the big guys never really know for certain.

Thanks again for your comment and the link.
Cheryl