Why a post about POD books — digital printing — is wrong.
POD books. Yet another article I am writing about print on-demand, books produced by digital printing. Why? I recently read a post from a major provider who made it seem like this method of producing books is everything to every author. It is not.
There are perfectly valid reasons for using a print on-demand provider. The provider I referred to cites ‘misconceptions’ in their post, but let’s cut through to the truth, for both on-demand and on-press book production.
There are four ways to get a book produced.
1. Digital printing — POD books.
Toner on paper. Some digital printing service providers do short runs on press. Quality is often the biggest issue. You can get a few books for a modest cost. Beware of being paid only royalties. Authors should keep all their profit.
If you use an on-demand service, do you actually get your book into brick-and-mortar bookstores, or just have access to those bookstores? We have a secret for you. If you have your own ISBN and bar code, you already have access to brick-and-mortar bookstores. You are in the database already.
2. Printing on press on USA.
The cost higher than with Star Print Brokers Asia printing, but we do print in USA too. But, USA printing offers fewer options, and the quality is not as good as with our printers.
3. Printing on press in other countries.
The cost is usually less than in the USA, but quality, and standing behind their books can be a problem, even if they say they will! If you see a book we printed in “XYZ country,” that doesn’t mean that all printers in that country are reputable or provide quality, service, and options. All printers are not the same.
4. Printing on press in other countries using Star Print Brokers.
This is where we shine! Low unit cost, highest quality, many options, 8-10 weeks delivery to door. It’s a little longer, but the trade-off is up to a 70 percent cost savings.
Now, for the post I read, “The 5 Misconceptions about Print On Demand (POD).”
#1 – Independent bookstores won’t carry POD Authors
In fact, the following are the reasons that bookstores would be hesitant to stock POD books.
- Even in the rebuttal, the article said that bookstore owners have pressure from online sellers not to stock POD books with digital printing. True. It’s not a misconception.
- The second reason was that bookstores have limited shelf space and they limit their stock to books that sell. True again.
- They go on to say that many stores won’t take a chance on a new author. This is also true.
- They cite book availability, as with POD books. We compete. I have yet to know any of our authors who have a book that sells well, and waits until they were down to the last 10 books before reordering. They want to have plenty of stock on hand to sell more books.
We know from our authors, that if you have a high-quality book and is professionally designed, bookstore owners will not reject it outright. They more often than not love to carry quality books from local authors with interesting subject matter.
#2 – Distributors don’t carry POD authors
Again, more reasons why distributors, this time, are hesitant to work with POD book authors.
- Most distributors prefer to work with publishers with a number of titles. True.
- If a book is being requested by bookstores, distributors are more likely to carry the book. True. But, how does it get requested? Either from already having a large following or advance, effective marketing. So, how does this make the case for POD books?
- The post continues by saying that if an author uses a distributor, it’s up to them to market their books. True. Again, how does this make a case for POD books? They also say that authors should avail themselves of advertising opportunities. Most often this means that you are given the opportunity to buy an ad in a distribution catalog. In our experience, for most, this just doesn’t pay.
- Realize that when you publish a book, you buy an ISBN. Once you have that, you are in the database that all bookstores use. The trick is to have unique or trendy subject matter that will be found in searches. Also tie your keywords to your website, Amazon author page, and your book.
#3 – POD books aren’t good quality.
Well, they aren’t! Digital printing is not commercial offset printing at all.
- Toner on paper. POD is outputting pages, usually a page at a time, from an output device that is more like a copier than a printing press. Go ahead and ask for book samples. Then wipe a moist finger across the page, and watch it smear. That won’t happen with ink on paper, when printing books in signatures on commercial printing presses.
- Binding. The author of the post didn’t even address binding! Why? For the most part, POD book bindings are inferior. The quality of soft cover binding depends on the provider. Books with a smaller page count can be glued. Usually the pages don’t fall out. But, all of those individual pages can fall out with larger page count. I can’t give you a page count as binding viability depends on the thickness of the paper, the dimensions of the book, and other factors. But, I can tell you that printing in signatures and binding soft cover or hardcover books with Smyth sewing, will solve that problem. POD providers usually don’t do that. We do.
POD books with digital printing are a reasonable choice if printing a soft cover book with a limited page count. However, I would never print a hardcover book at one of these service providers. Typically they do ‘side sewn’ bindings, or if they have the books bound properly, it is costly.
#4 – The cost to print on demand is too high.
- They say their unit cost is slightly higher than with larger print runs. We need to qualify that. Is it comparing POD books to printing in the USA? If so, they are probably right. However, the more books you print the lower the unit cost. You really need to get a book quote. The books that we print in Asia with selected printers (good, quality printers) will usually provide a lower unit cost with higher quality printing and binding. Well, that is when you use Star Print Brokers. And, you will pay no more for our services.
- The cost to print on-demand is often high, certainly on hardcover books, and depending on the provider, with soft cover books too. Do yourself a favor. Compare pricing with Star Print Brokers.
#5 – There is a limited number of trim sizes available with POD books.
Well, they are limited!
- If you want a 11.8 x 11.8 book, Star Print Brokers can manufacture it; or 11.8 x 14, 5 x 10.125, or 4 x 4. We are much more flexible than any POD book provider who has a limited list of book dimensions.
Star Print Brokers provides more options.
We also provide many more options than you can find almost anywhere else. Make your book special.
We have minimum quantity requirements.
It’s the nature of manufacturing any book of quality. Our minimum quantities are 1,000 hardcover books or 2,000 soft cover books.
But, realize that if you decide to go with a short run for example, of 500 books printed on-press with a POD provider, those 500 books may very well be the same total cost as 1,000 books printing with Star Print Brokers. Total cost — not unit cost.
So what are you waiting for? Get a quote from Star Print Brokers. We won’t bug you, send pestering salespeople after you, or sell your email address. Promise.