July 31, 2002
Speaking of alternate means of publishing
The Press has a story about a different form of do-it-yourself publishing called print-on-demand, or POD, which has attracted a number of wannabe authors in Houston. It may be another form of "vanity publishing", as newspaper book editors are wont to call it, but as a blogger with an eponymous domain, I'm hardly one to criticize. I say more power to 'em.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 31, 2002 to Books
There are almost more errors in that story than words.
Self-publishing isn't new. Thousands of excellent books have been self-published. "Print on demand" isn't a new business model; it's just an improved printing technology, which will sometimes be used for effective self-publishing and sometimes won't. Meanwhile, most of the outfits that charge writers in order to deploy this miraculous new "print-on-demand" stuff are simply doing what the writers could as easily do for themselves--arranging to have books printed--while charging a generous markup.
All together now: publishing isn't printing. Publishing is putting books in front of the public. In order to do this, you need to print them, but getting them printed is no big deal, and only a fraction of what needs to happen in order to make any book a success.
I could go on, but I'll forebear. At least one of the outfits named in that story is, in my direct experience, a practitioner of out-and-out fraud. "Mainstream" publishing has a thousand ills, but the outfits that cling to its penumbra, promising to rescue aspiring writers from those wicked publishers with this or that nostrum, are -- in my opinion -- lower than low. They sell printing and worthless "editorial services" and call it publishing. They prey on people's hope.