Coming to appreciate the virtue of producing only the copies that are purchased.
I know nothing about publishing print books, so I'm intrigued by this piece. Two questions, maybe for a Part II. You said "friends had plans for their paperback editions scrapped because not enough of their hardcovers sold," which leads me to wonder why hardbacks are published in the first place. I never buy them, and I much prefer the lighter weight paperback for holding and reading. Second, for print on demand books such as yours, do you retain control over the quality of the paper, the ink, and the cover? I've rec'd many substandard books lately that appear to be printed on very cheap, thin paper, with plasticized paper covers, which I hate.
I’ve done most of my books with publishers except my last one - indie but with support from Page Two (expensive lovely) for a bunch of reasons including distribution because I had a track record with bookstores. I printed 9000 copies and ended up having to pulp a 1000 which hurt so bad. Never had that happen. I’ve sold almost 12k of the book in ebook, audio and print but having to lose those print books made me want to never do a print run again. So thanks for writing this !!
"I stopped trusting mainstream publishing’s taste and questioned many of their choices, including how many copies of a given title to print." I totally agree. It doesn't help that trad publishers are reticent to take on memoir from anyone without a smash tik tok account and/or starring in a blockbuster... And then essay collections. Don't even get me started on how impossible it is to sell such a collection. (For me and those I know, anyway.) CNF writers do not fit well in the current landscape, imho. Much more reasonable to go niche or indie, in which case POD is the norm. Thanks for these thoughts!
Great post! I was supposed to be at Rough Draft back in Sept, 2019, but instead had surgery, yeah, that was fun. Perhaps, I will get another chance with my next novel due out May '25. From the same indie press that produced my first book, so, hopefully, I've learned a thing or two.
Really appreciate this. It helps me establish a healthier version of success. Do you think this applies mainly to nonfiction/memoir? Is fiction moving in this direction too? (I’ve never read small press fiction only memoir.)
Civilization will be saved by print.
So if mainstream publishers did print on demand what would it look like for selling copies at bookstores?
It’s a wonderful thing to contemplate
i think it’s awesome, too! backed the campaign the other day and can’t wait to read the books
Will definitely contribute!
How is the print quality of POD these days? The only books I’ve come across have non-sharp type, like an ink jet printer. So hard on my eyes that I don’t even try anymore.
Great post, Sari! I am contemplating print-on-demand as well as crowdfunding next year. It's exciting times!
The book event sounds like it went well! And you also sing? You must share! 😉 POD is smart for all the reasons you mentioned but also it's the most sustainable for the environment. Thanks Sari!
So great to read this! I’m an Australian writer and my book came out via a big publisher here but I am going publish print on demand for US/UK next year and what you’ve described is exactly why. Thank you! 🙏