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Old 03-29-2009, 07:32 AM   #1
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Should I go POD as well as digital?

After reading this http://www.enduserblog.com/2009/03/2...ainstream.html by Will Wheaton I got to wondering about also offering the upcoming release of The Song of Insects in pbook format.

There are still a lot of people who buy pbooks and don't want, or have the knowledge and equipment to utilise digital books. Readers, however slight they end up being, that I wouldn't want to exclude because of my own leanings toward digital.

So, the questions to my esteemed fellow writers and readers are these:

1. Have you gone the POD route and what do you think of it?

2. Do you plan on going POD at any time or are you happy with Digital only distribution?

3. If you have gone the POD route, what do you recommend? So far I'm investigating Wordclay, Lulu and Amazon's own offering. Any experiences, good or bad, with these services?
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:05 PM   #2
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Ive heard good things from the POD quality of lulu. I wouldnt pay a dime for the other services that ask you to pay XX$$ to print YY copies and then if they dont sell you get screwed. You can upload to them and when you have a copy sold it prints it digitally and sends it to the purchaser. I think they only up the end price by like 2 bucks or something like that to cover their profit and costs of production. ive never used them, but ever since the guy that invented linux started it i have been almost obscessively following it
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:06 PM   #3
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i also have a sick obscession with collecting true first editions of books....Has anyone seen how much Paolini's first vanity press edition of Eragon is selling for on teh interwebs
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:02 PM   #4
David J. Guyton
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I published a paperback version shortly after my Kindle version. I used CreateSpace (owned by Amazon). The quality is excellent, the setup is easy, and it literally cost me nothing to do. I did have to pay for a proof copy ($5.67) but as soon as I got it and checked it, it was available online for everyone.

Lulu is cheap too, and CreateSpace and Lulu are putting the other PODs out of work. Some of them want several hundred dollars for what Lulu and CS will do for free. Plus they set the price of the book...my 400 page novel was going to be set at $21, and I could charge more to that and scrape the profits off the top.

CreateSpace costs me $10.07 for 400 pages, and so I set the price at $10.99. I don't make a killing, but people are more willing to buy a book for $11 from an unknown author than a book for $25.

FYI,
CS has two different levels, one called the Pro Plan (I think). It allows you to set the book price lower, and costs $50. I have the Pro Plan, but I did it during a promotion period and it was free for me.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions I'd be happy to help. Oh, you might also want to pick up POD People by Jeremy Robinson. It's a very short book about POD publishing and has some helpful hints.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:34 PM   #5
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Thanks Jaxx and David for your replies. I'm just investigating every possible option at the moment as I plan for release. I've set up an account with createspace, but there's a lot of tax nonsense I have to do before I can offer anything with them (being a UK citizen and all).
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:51 PM   #6
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I've done two books with PoD and another on its way. Both through Lightning Source. There are set-up fees, but much lower per-copy print costs that Lulu, and you can set a 20% discount and still get it on Amazon.

You should only go the lightning source route if you expect to sell books. Otherwise the no-setup-charge from Lulu is hard to beat. (Note that Lulu themselves use Lightning Source for their books in distribution.)

Lightning Source do have a UK branch, but you'll need to be prepared to become a 'proper' publisher, buying your own ISBN range, and producing ready-to-print PDFs.

http://www.lightningsource.co.uk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
So, the questions to my esteemed fellow writers and readers are these:

1. Have you gone the POD route and what do you think of it?

2. Do you plan on going POD at any time or are you happy with Digital only distribution?

3. If you have gone the POD route, what do you recommend? So far I'm investigating Wordclay, Lulu and Amazon's own offering. Any experiences, good or bad, with these services?
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
Moejoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I've done two books with PoD and another on its way. Both through Lightning Source. There are set-up fees, but much lower per-copy print costs that Lulu, and you can set a 20% discount and still get it on Amazon.

You should only go the lightning source route if you expect to sell books. Otherwise the no-setup-charge from Lulu is hard to beat. (Note that Lulu themselves use Lightning Source for their books in distribution.)

Lightning Source do have a UK branch, but you'll need to be prepared to become a 'proper' publisher, buying your own ISBN range, and producing ready-to-print PDFs.

http://www.lightningsource.co.uk
Thanks for the heads up on Lightning source. That might become an option for the other two writers I'm involved with at a later date, if and when we set up a collective.
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:01 PM   #8
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Oh, and there's a good POD mailing list/Yahoo group

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pod_publishers/

Quote:
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Thanks for the heads up on Lightning source. That might become an option for the other two writers I'm involved with at a later date, if and when we set up a collective.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
After reading this http://www.enduserblog.com/2009/03/2...ainstream.html by Will Wheaton I got to wondering about also offering the upcoming release of The Song of Insects in pbook format.

There are still a lot of people who buy pbooks and don't want, or have the knowledge and equipment to utilise digital books. Readers, however slight they end up being, that I wouldn't want to exclude because of my own leanings toward digital.

So, the questions to my esteemed fellow writers and readers are these:

1. Have you gone the POD route and what do you think of it?

2. Do you plan on going POD at any time or are you happy with Digital only distribution?

3. If you have gone the POD route, what do you recommend? So far I'm investigating Wordclay, Lulu and Amazon's own offering. Any experiences, good or bad, with these services?
I have three books in digital form--Kindle and Mobipocket. Kindle sales are good. But I can't crack the code for MP. I have decided not to go POD--or any other form of physical book. But my reasons may not be the usual ones.

I am a former publisher (Cobble Hill Press) and am spoiled. I expect to see a physical book that has fine design and is beautifully crafted, inside and out. So far, the POD and other books I have handled are--to put it plainly--junk. And yet many authors don't seem to mind. I am not going to name any specific books here, but even some of the so-called experts release POD books that should make them ashamed.

So I won't be doing anything but e-books--even though that will certainly limit sales.

Last edited by sigrosenblum; 03-30-2009 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:58 AM   #10
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Thanks for the reply Sig. Would you say that the 'junky' nature of the POD books you've come across are because of the actual process, or the lack of knowledge and skill on the content producers who submit their work for POD publishing?
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:46 PM   #11
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One of the reasons I decided to offer RTF versions of my novels was to allow purchasers to do what they wanted with them... including "format-shifting" them to paper, if they saw fit, without my input.

Of course, I'd already decided that I didn't like the environmental costs of printing my books, and had committed fully to digital. So far, none of the latest POD companies or equipment has changed my mind. But that is just my stand, and I won't soapbox it here.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
One of the reasons I decided to offer RTF versions of my novels was to allow purchasers to do what they wanted with them... including "format-shifting" them to paper, if they saw fit, without my input.

Of course, I'd already decided that I didn't like the environmental costs of printing my books, and had committed fully to digital. So far, none of the latest POD companies or equipment has changed my mind. But that is just my stand, and I won't soapbox it here.
You bring up a good point, Steve, the environmental costs didn't enter into my equation. But they are now. Must see if I can dig anything up on what environmental costs are involved in going with POD.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
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You bring up a good point, Steve, the environmental costs didn't enter into my equation. But they are now. Must see if I can dig anything up on what environmental costs are involved in going with POD.
Well, since you're only doing a single book at a time... mostly just paper and electricity. Doing larger volumes of books basically multiplies 1-to-1 as you print. For me, it's the avoidance of paper production that I am concerned about... very polluting process, that. (There have been other discussions on the environmental impact of paper production about these parts, which can get... vocal. )
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:56 AM   #14
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Thanks for the reply Sig. Would you say that the 'junky' nature of the POD books you've come across are because of the actual process, or the lack of knowledge and skill on the content producers who submit their work for POD publishing?
I'd say both. And no doubt a book designer could do a better job with even the worst POD producer than a "mere" author with no specialized design knowledge or skill. If I ever must absolutely positively need to go POD, I would hire a top designer to run the job through. But so far I am living with digital only.

But then my sales goals are modest. And my promotional energy limited. If an author wants to go all out, then every format and every promotional tool is essential, I suppose. But just talking about this gets me exhausted!
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigrosenblum View Post
If I ever must absolutely positively need to go POD, I would hire a top designer to run the job through. But so far I am living with digital only.
That might give a lot of editors and print publishers employment for the future...
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