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