Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sad Truths About Print-On-Demand

Here are some salient bullet points from interviews with POD experts and insiders at a new site I discovered that looks pretty good.


• Xlibris (and all POD publishers) own the printing file and will not give them to the author even though it looks as if it is included in initial setup.

• Average number of books sold is 150 out of which 64% are bought by author. Half of the remaining books sold are sold through the Xlibris website leaving only 18 books/hundred sold selling through any other commercial channel.

• Average expenditure per author is $1400 plus the cost of the books bought.

• Average 256 page trade book has a retail of $21.99 vs. market price of $14.95.

• “It’s a challenge to sell books above the market price”.


• Only 14 titles made it into national distribution at Barnes & Noble

• If you want to be in Barnes & Noble at a national level, you have to be traditionally published.

The bullet points from Susan Driscoll's interview concerning publishing Amy Fisher’s memoir are very telling;

• Amy Fisher’s book was an IUniverse experiment in traditional publishing.

• Book was printed offset to begin with, not POD. Plan was to follow with POD later as demand died down.

• 20,000 copy first printing.

• Book was sold as returnable, not the normal non-returnable

• Retail price below a normal IUniverse book of the same size and page count.

In other words, Susan Driscoll knows that the only way to make money from self-published authors is to get them to pay for extravagant optional services up front because their books have negligible sales potential. Driscoll’s revelations about the Amy Fisher book also shoots to hell the utopian nonsense that POD represents the future of publishing. Driscoll and iUniverse secretly know that all the pie in the sky glop they use to sucker writers into buying their services is a bullcon.

Jan Nathan, the Executive Director and founder of PMA, the Independent Publishers Association:

• Libraries and bookstores will not normally carry POD titles.

• The math just does not work with POD.

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Good Advice for Writers. Hell, Good Advice, Period.


If you get the same criticisms over and over again, you're doing something wrong. Either figure out what's wrong and fix it, or resign yourself to getting the exact same criticisms for the rest of your life.

And no, bitching about how you keep getting the same criticisms won't help.

Neither will claiming that people say those things about you because your work is too trendy/too old-fashioned/too ethnic/too mainstream/too edgy or because you're female/male/black/white/poor/rich/vegan/vegetarian/carnivorous/a pet owner/short/tall/young/old/pretty. You're a bad writer and your personality is grating. Fix it.

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