I'll say right up front that POD, as a technology/business model is good for some projects: If you're a seminar leader and have books to hand out; if you're a poet; and genealogy-related books/projects, for instance.
e If you want a mainstream, traditional career (especially where fiction is concerned), then go with literary agents or smaller publishers (because most of the majors just aren't handling slush anymore).
Here's the first article:
New POD Options: Perseus and Edwards Partner on In-House PrintingI know the major publishers also use POD for short runs.
The Perseus Books Group is returning to print-on-demand via its own facility with a new partnership with printer Edwards Brothers to set up a digital print center in the publisher's Jackson, TN distribution center. The in-house operation should be set up by this fall, and in the meantime they will use Edwards Brothers' outside machines to "ramp up titles in the program."
Perseus will offer the service to all of their distribution clients and use the capability for their own imprints. CEO David Steinberger says it's "the first of a range of digital services that we are making available to our independent publisher clients."
Steinberger says they are able to offer digital printing solution to clients "on attractive terms" drawing on the scale of their overall operation. Client pricing is designed to cover the company's direct and related costs. "The only way we will make money is if this leads to greater sales for the independent publishers we represent. Those greater sales will mean more money for independent publishers, for us and for booksellers."
The offer is non-exclusive, so nothing prevents clients from continuing to work with other vendors such as Lightning Source and Booksurge at the same time. Steinberger notes, "our in-house publishers currently print tens of thousands of units per month through digital print. We expect that volume to increase significantly with clients joining in."
Perseus was an early player with in-house on-demand printing, at one time running their own facility in Boulder, Co. After closing that operation they moved to a Donnelly-based short-run printing solution.
Here's the other article:
More New POD Options: Ingram Works on ABA Store-As-Publisher ProgramABA in this instance standing for American Booksellers Association (since I work for a corporate lawyer, I knew it wasn't American Bar Association, heh).
At a session at the ABA's Winter Institute, representatives from Ingram and Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville presented an experimental program designed to make it easier for member stores to set up their own publishing programs in conjunction with Lightning Source.
The vision is that independent stores can serve as "niche publishers focused on regional and local interests," leveraging relationships within their communities and using their expertise to identify public domain material appropriate for reprint. Conceivably, stores can also offer their own "self-publishing" services to patrons looking for a place to launch and sell their manuscripts.
Ingram projected set-up costs of approximately $150 to $200 to make a book ready for print-on-demand fulfillment. While stores can elect to publish for all customers by setting the retail and wholesale prices, the p&l is clearly most advantageous when the store is selling the books directly at retail as well as publishing them.
As presented, the hope is to formalize a program by this year's BEA. Moderating the panel, the ABA's Len Vlahos underscored that it's an idea that "bears further investigation" though the organization is not sure yet if the concept "really works economically yet" for member stores. There are also a number of questions about rights, clearances, royalties, liability and other components of the publishing process that the organization may or may not provide formal guidance and guidelines on.
But for stores excited by the possibilities, Ingram made clear that they offer such services already, even without a formal ABA program. For that matter, though Lightning Source is not trying to aggressively compete with the pod self-publishers that comprise a significant part of their customer base, the company does already deal with individual customers on a direct basis.
I think I'd still go with Lulu if I were interested in self publishing.