Thursday, December 4, 2008

Print On Demand

Just some thoughts on print on demand book publishing. As I have only written my first book, and since I have virtually no academic credentials for writing the sort of book I have written, I am considering self publishing (via Amazon's CreateSpace) my book. There are, of course, many downsides to doing so, but there are upsides as well.

On the downside, the book will not be considered a real book. That is, a book requires that it be published by a reputable publisher who will print it and distribute it in bookstores. That is what being published is all about. Unfortuantely, this is a long, drawn-out process. Submitting printed, double-spaced manuscripts by mail, and waiting four months for a reply (probably a rejection) is rather discouraging. But success (i.e., being published) does come to those who wait, and to those who perservere. If accepted by a publisher, the book will be in the bookstores in as little as eighteen months!

The upside of print on demand is that my book can be available in a very short period of time (only as long as it takes me to get the files ready and submitted for publication). I've recently been pursuing the POD avenue and I have found it to be quite satisfying. I enjoy working with the files, getting them laid out in book format (including the footnotes, which I prefer, but which publisher no longer seem to approve of). After three years of writing, it was very nice to hold a copy of my book (the proof copy) and to see it just the way I wanted it to look.

The best, and most appealing, aspect of POD is that the financial cost to me has been zero. In the past, self publishing and finally seeing my book in print would have cost me about $5,000. This, to me, is revolutionary. The fact that I can write a book and have it available on Amazon cost-free is amazing. Of course the book isn't yet available on Amazon, but if I do decide to go the POD route, it can be very soon.

Another amazing phenomenon is that my book is available online in a very readable PDF format, which looks exactly as the printed book does. That, to me, is very cool. The only reason I ever wrote the book in the first place was so that the ideas within it could be made available to those who would be interested in them. Haveing the book available online for free, and having the book available in print on Amazon ($16.00) would accomplish that goal to a degree. I would rather have the book properly edited by a publisher and available in bookstores, but with self publishing the ideas are at least out there. And the book can always be published by a publisher at some future time, because, by self publishing, I still retain all of the rights to my work. I hate to think of a publisher publishing the book, only to bury it after a short run. Never to be seen in print again. With POD the book could stay in print virtually forever.
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