The New York Times had an interesting article this morning. Entitled "Technology Rewrites the Book," it talks about how the latest POD (print-on-demand) software is making it easier for consumers to print their own books.
Author Peter Wayner says, "The print-on-demand business is gradually moving toward the center of the marketplace. What began as a way for publishers to reduce their inventory and stop wasting paper is becoming a tool for anyone who needs a bound document. Short-run presses can turn out books economically in small quantities or singly, and new software simplifies the process of designing a book."
Wayner points out that the technology has gone far beyond aspiring authors. Now anyone needing a polished document can produce one. This includes professionals like architects, builders, designers--anyone who regularly works with clients and makes presentations. It also includes people interested in selling top-of-the-line consumer products like coin or stamp collections.
Other uses include community projects like Junior League cookbooks. Hobbyists would also benefit from the technology, which permits them to show family and friends their photos, model airplanes or recipe collections.
The latest POD technology makes it relatively easy to produce a quality, bound book at a reasonable rate.
Notice I am not including aspiring authors. The reason I am not is because, even if they now have a way to produce printed copies of their work, there is still no system by which they can successfully market those books. I personally do not believe in selling books by hand out of the trunk of your car--UNLESS you are doing so as a part of a publisher's marketing campaign during a book tour.
I think that day is coming. Sooner or later a viable system will evolve by which authors can self-publish AND market their work. That day is not now, but it is probably not too far in the future.
And, please, do not email me with the address for PublishAmerica, Xlibris or any of the other vanity presses. Yes, they can produce a bound volume at a hugely inflated cost. No matter what they promise in their sales pitch, they cannot provide a valid sales mechanism. Most bookstore chains will NOT touch a self-pubbed book although you might be able to talk your local store into carrying a few copies.
The one thing I celebrate is that, as newer desktop technology becomes available at a reasonable rate, those vanity presses with their outrageous fees will die a slow death. Thank you, God!
Here's the link to the story: