News: Most New Titles Now POD

Publisher’s Weekly reported yesterday that most new titles produced each year are now produced using print-on-demand or short-run methods, according to industry service provider R. R. Bowker. During 2008, the number of new titles printed using traditional methods fell by 3%, to 275,232, while the number of new titles printed using print-on-demand or short-run methods rose by 132%, to 285,394. Overall, the number of new titles rose by 38%, to 560,626 titles.

I’m not quite sure how much the LDS market is like this, but I suspect its in a similar range. Most small LDS publishers already use print-on-demand to produce their books, and it could be that the majority of new LDS titles are already produced by print-on-demand (to my knowledge, no comprehensive database of LDS titles exists to provide this information). If this is not yet true, it is surely because of the dominance of Deseret Book in the LDS market (since Deseret Book does not yet use print-on-demand, as far as I can tell).

Of course, the biggest effect of print-on-demand is that it lowers barriers to entry into the market — it makes it possible for virtually anyone to publish a book. Like in the U.S. national market, the LDS market has seen an explosion in small publishers and in self-published books in the past decade.

But this growth also has its share of problems. Most of the new publishers and almost all of the self-publishers have little or no idea how to market their books either to the LDS market or nationally. And the LDS market has been resistant, at least, to these new publishers and titles.

Now, with a majority of all titles published in the U.S. produced by print-on-demand, doesn’t it seem likely that the need for channels that allow these titles to reach the LDS market will lead to some kind of development?

Number of On-demand Titles Topped Traditional Books in 2008

By Jim Milliot — Publishers Weekly, 5/19/2009

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6 thoughts on “News: Most New Titles Now POD”

  1. I am one who last year utilized the POD services of Amazon.com (through CreateSpace) to get a tax book for beginning writers and artisans (Making Expression Less Taxing, a Freelancer’s Tax Resource) published. My costs were very minimal and I must say, just selling a few copies makes the entire enterprise already profitable, but it’s not buying any significant new assets.

    I didn’t shop the book much before hand, but the agents and publishers I pitched to passed on it, many thinking it was a too targeted market, so more experimentally than anything else I decided to do it all myself. It is available only from Amazon as a trade paperback ($15.95) and as a Kindle ($9.99).

    The problem, as you indicate, is marketing. So far it hasn’t sold itself. I probably don’t have the energy or will to market it like a younger person would though.

    I believe the ebook market will quite soon pass the POD market.

  2. Yeah, I hear you, Th. But… (Incidently, your link to Angela’s post didn’t work for me. I’d like to read the post.)

    Profitable means not only yielding a positive bottom-line, but also providing some advantage. How can a person measure the intagibles (advantage) of experience over against time and effort? It’s subjective.

    For me, compared to not doing it at all, it was profitable. Maybe not more than a big black bottom line though. On the other hand, I’m retired with a pension and time most other people don’t have.

    Also, how many writers have written, rewritten, polished, and submitted over and over again works without anyone willing to take them on? Is it better just to move on and do something new, pitching ad nauseam and waiting for an agent/publisher, or to move on and do something else like self-publishing and utilizing the benefits of POD?

    I know there are varying viewpoints. Like most things, it all depends upon all the accompanying facts and circumstances.

  3. .

    Sorry—-I’ve been having a really hard time typing href correctly lately. (link)

    I know my own viewpoints on this are changing rapidly. Publishing is pretty dysfunctional now and alternatives are proliferating. Sticking with my 1995 opinions would show rather a lack of sense.

  4. Walt, you are absolutely right. In many cases, self publishing is a better alternative than not seeing the manuscript published at all.

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