Having worked with a great many of independent authors in the last few years we am struck by the opportunities and difficulties in the arena of book publishing today. With on demand printing it has become possible for anyone to self publish a book with no printing costs up front. You create the artwork, set the inside of the book and save it as a PDF, create an e-pub version, and your book shows up on Amazon and Kindle in a matter of days.
The books are literally printed one at a time on demand, a kind of glorified xerox in a way. But, this type of digital printing is at about 95% of the quality of traditional offset printing which isn’t worth doing unless you print thousands of pieces. The trade off is the per piece price of digital printing higher at at least several dollars a book, whereas offset comes in much lower per piece because so many are produced. However, the independent author doesn’t want to be sitting on 10,000 copies of a book only to find they can sell 250 of them in year.
With on demand printing the author can buy at a special price however many units they need at the time. A clever author will broker ‘one ups’ to independent bookstores directly from their own inventory, and create buzz by doing book signings at local bookstores and libraries. These establishments are usually eager to work with and promote authors in their area.
So all in all on demand printing in print form and ebook on Kindle, B&N and Apple are great ways for an upcoming author to get their own name out there, generate some success, and then be taken seriously by a traditional publishing house if the title catches fire so to speak.