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The advantage of print on demand (POD) like Traffords, is that you DON'T get
the books delivered en mass. I haven't used Trafford, but know lots of
people who have... I have done books for clients who went for traditional
offset printing and got the books delivered in big cartons. It's what they
wanted and they had distribution already set up... and most of the time, a
captive audience. I'm doing one right now for a church group. The lowest
number I've have done this way is 500 books ... and, btw, the last printer I
went to uses the same setup for such a very low print run as they do for POD
where the print run may by one book.
For those who aren't familiar with it, the big difference about print on
demand is that it's ... ummm... print on demand, not just printing a bunch
of books and sending them off. Cost per book is higher than large run
printing, but you have no big cost up front, no big inventory, no storage
fees, no cartons of doorstops, no late night packing and runs to the post
Someone orders the book at amazon.com, the order goes to Trafford or
equivalent, they print the book and mail it off. A school phones in an order
for 20 books, Trafford prints 20 books and ships them off. You want some
books to sell at the local swap meet, Trafford prints them off and ships
them to you, charging the author's rate.
Marketing and distibution agreements are separate ... I don't know what
Trafford offers, but of course, this can be set up with companies that
specialize in such things or done by yourself. Also, many people make their
own arrangements with both local bookstores and the major online
bookstores... and do the many other marketing things that must be done
regardless if you go the publishing house route, POD or whatever.
There are books that cover this topic quite thoroughly and in much more
detail than I can here. I just bought one at the Surrey International
Writers' Conference (www.siwc.ca) called "Self Publishing in Canada" by
Suzanne Anderson.... haven't actually read it, but have skimmed it and it
seems to hit the major points.
Oh, and if you do go for the big cartons delivered to your door, go for a
book printer, not a regular printer that doesn't usually handle books. Not
only will you get a better price (usually), they know what to look for and
can give you lots of advice.
BTW, print on demand is being used more often by large publishers for their
backlist... and is changing contracts as it becomes very hard to determine
when a book goes out of print when it is always available ... ie: when do
the rights revert back to the author?
And to another comments: no, I don't recommend handmaking LOTs of books or
even getting them made at a local bindery. That's why I mentioned that in
the context of making a few for family and friends. Maybe this person has
more family and friends than I do! ;-)) Handmaking them gets real old after
a couple. Maybe make that one. These small binderies can do a great job
2morrow writing & document design
lhickey -at- 2morrow -dot- bc -dot- ca http://www.2morrow.bc.ca
Johan Hiemstra wrote:
> I'd love to see this topic being discussed a bit further. I've been
> self-publishing my stuff for several years, online however. This
> www.trafford.com seems like a good option to try it offline for a
> change, but I was wondering if anyone here has actually experience
> with them or a similar company.
I looked into Trafford briefly on behalf of a client. While I believe
that they do what they say they do, it's also true that the services
they offer are available at much lower prices elsewhere. In any case,
you don't have to get to very high volumes before it makes much more
economic sense to look at offset printing rather than print-on-demand
(POD). When I priced my client's book, the Trafford POD price was
approximately seven dollars a copy, starting at copy number one and not
diminishing. That was on top of Trafford's fee. The cost to deliver the
same book, offset printed and perfect-bound, was two dollars and change
per copy for 1,000 copies. I didn't price it at a lower volume, but
clearly POD is an expensive way to go for quantities over several dozen.
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