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Print on demand

Beware Author Solutions, and never ever pay for publishing
March 9, 2014 | 1:11 pm

Author SolutionsIf this isn’t Rule One of self-publishing, it should be: You should never, ever, ever pay someone to publish your work for you. Full stop. End of sentence. Now, it’s fine to pay for useful services, of course. If you can afford it, it could be a good investment to pay someone to edit your work, or to design your cover art, or even to format your book for you if you don’t feel confident of your own skills in that regard. (Though I’d honestly recommend paying $40 for Scrivener and spending a few days learning...

Small press publisher IntoPrint brings out-of-print books back into print
November 6, 2013 | 10:21 am

intoprint_publishing“From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors” has an interview with Anny Rusk, publisher for IntoPrint Publishing. “Cynsations” has another such interview that covers a lot of the same ground. As its name might suggest, this small publishing house uses e-book and print-on-demand publishing to bring out-of-print books back into print. It was born of her business partners’ realization that digital technology meant there’s no need for a book to stay out of print. Anny: John Campbell and Greg Luther realized that in the tech age there’s no such thing as an out-of-print book, just books...

Sweden’s Meganews Delivers Print-on-Demand Newsstand
August 16, 2013 | 12:23 pm

MeganewsPrint-on-demand facsimiles of major dailies are a familiar sight in international hotel lobbies these days, but now Sweden's Meganews has gone one step further, by introducing a mechanized and Internet-enabled newsstand that can print magazines as well as newspapers on demand. "Use the touchscreen to select a magazine of your choice, pay with your credit card, and within two minutes a high-fidelity issue can be picked up at the end of the newsstand," the Meganews site explains. "The printing course of your magazine can be followed on the monitor." Initial venues for the Meganews newsstand "are in locations lacking publications for sale--where...

The ‘Cuckoo’ calls for e-books
July 18, 2013 | 8:12 pm

Laura Hazard Owen (you know, if my middle name was as cool as “Hazard,” I’d probably use it all the time too) has an article over on paidContent discussing the splash that The Cuckoo’s Calling has made unexpectedly among bookstores and and e-book stores alike. Joanna mentioned this article earlier, but missed the most exciting part: This is freaking out bricks-and-mortar booksellers who fear that by the time that they finally get print copies in, everyone will already have read it on Kindle. The New York Times quotes one store owner: “People who can’t get it...

Blackstrap’s business model takes the digital publishing revolution backwards—but in a good way
April 9, 2013 | 11:11 am

BlackstrapWe've watched with interest as a few new digital publishing-related startups have launched seemingly out of the blue over the past few weeks. Thin Reads, a fantastic new website that runs reviews of e-singles, is definitely one of our favorites, and we're clearly not alone; the site has been enjoying a ton of mostly glowing press. (Click to see what Mashable, Paid Content, and MediaBistro's GalleyCat have to say about the new site.) But there's another interesting and brand-new startup known as Blackstrap that hasn't been getting quite as much love lately. In fact, we hadn't even heard of it until we...

Espresso Book Machine comes to South Africa
July 29, 2012 | 11:06 pm

South African IT news site IT Web reports that the University of Johannesburg has just acquired an Espresso Book Machine of its very own. Most of the article summarizes what we already well know about the print-on-demand machine and its uses for printing and binding store-quality paperbacks in mere minutes, but it does quote On Demand Books as projecting over 150 machines installed world-wide by the end of 2012. It also links to a Guardian article from 2009 in which the head of marketing for UK bookstore chain Blackwell suggested that the Espresso “has the potential to be the...

Borderlands bookstore owner recalculates; Espresso not so expensive after all
June 15, 2012 | 8:17 pm

About a month ago, I covered a blog post by Alan Beatts, proprietor of the Borderlands bookstore in San Francisco, in which he did some back-of-envelope calculations to determine that it could take over a decade for profits to pay down the cost of an Espresso. I just now received an email from Mr. Beatts calling my attention to a new blog post with some updated figures—his prior calculations had been based on out-of-date information. Based on the new figures, Beatts now calculates that, at an average rate of 1 book an hour, the machine would pay itself off...

The Espresso is too expensive for independent bookstores, says owner of San Francisco’s Borderlands Books
May 22, 2012 | 12:48 am

GEDC0263A few days ago I mentioned the Harvard Book Store, which features an Espresso Book Machine which it uses to help it stay relevant in its market, and pondered why it is that more stores aren’t following its example. As it turns out, Alan Beatts has a definitive answer to that on the blog of his San Francisco bookstore Borderlands Books. Beatts ran the numbers for the cost of the machine, materials, and operations, versus how long it would take to pay down those costs at various rates. He determined that if he averaged one book an hour over...

Espresso Book Machine not without its drawbacks, University of Utah librarian reports
May 14, 2012 | 12:15 pm

Speaking of the Espresso, a digital publisher’s paen to self-publishing through it led me to a blog post from last year in which librarian Rick Anderson of the University of Utah’s Marriott Library discussed the Espresso’s pros and cons in a bit greater depth than I’ve seen other posts go into. The problems Anderson found mainly have to do with a few technical glitches in the device itself, particularly due to the desert climate of his library being drier than the Espresso was originally designed for. Also, the device has a 45-minute-to-1-hour warmup time due to the glue...

Mike Shatzkin discusses the motives of Amazon
April 30, 2012 | 11:50 pm

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin’s latest column is a look at the motives behind Amazon’s competitive behavior, and how it might end legacy publishing. Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that Shatzkin spends the first half of the post giving the devil his due, explaining why Amazon has been looking so good to so many people with manuscripts they want to get out there. If you’ve got the manuscript in hand and you have a choice between [spending months to go from manuscript to published book and earning lower royalties] and having books to show your...

The other Amazon-publisher disagreement: print on demand
April 29, 2012 | 2:02 pm

Everyone is paying attention to the e-book pricing fight against Amazon right now, but Bloomberg Businessweek reports there’s another disagreement going on between Amazon and the publishers behind the scenes that nobody has really noticed: the question of print on demand. Amazon already offers its own print on demand services, used for mainly for small independent or self-publishing, and the technology has gotten a lot better over the fifteen years since it was introduced—print-on-demand titles are by now largely indistinguishable from large-print-run paperbacks. The rub is that Amazon would like to expand its print-on-demand operations so that it can print copies of...

U Star Novels puts your name in public-domain books
April 22, 2012 | 11:52 am

ustarnovels_logoI’ve mentioned a time or two the personalized Disney’s Jungle Book children’s book tie-in that my parents got for me one Christmas. Printed in a rough font that I retrospectively recognized as coming from a mainframe line printer, it would never pass muster in the print-on-demand world of today, though as I pointed out when I first mentioned it, there are print-on-demand operations that exist to do much the same thing today in more polished form. Well, lately I’ve heard (via Galleycat) about one that takes the cake for sheer chutzpah. Rather than producing original fiction with the names...