Print-on-demand and donations -- report on DIY publishing business models


5 Responses to “Print-on-demand and donations -- report on DIY publishing business models”

  1. Roy Trumbull says:

    A new author trying to get a decent deal on publishing and royalties soon finds out he has no leverage. And an established author gets screwed by experts.
    Anything that would change the publishing and marketing food chain has got to be an improvement. Please tell us more.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What frustrates me about the discussion of indie publishing is that it’s presented as a binary world, where you’re obliged to either work with a corporate publisher or with a corporate print-on-demand services/e-book distribution network.

    People can produce their own books at home with common materials. For the past year or so, I’ve been showing the whole process I’ve used to write, make, and sell novels by myself; the podcast is available for free on iTunes (“DIY Book”) or on You can also get lots of information from Jim Munroe’s, or just start Googling for “bookbinding jigs” or “perfect binding”. There’s a lot of free information to show authors how to do this.

    Sure, it’s not scaleable, but let’s face it, authors without a platform don’t usually sell majillions of books. And doing everything yourself teaches you about the publishing process from end to end — which is good knowledge to have should you should end up going big. Meanwhile, having a real, physical book to sell lets one start locally and work from there.

    Submitting to others, hoping to win permission/salvation/discovery? Spending all of one’s savings on a predatory publishing “package”? Not fun.

    Making stuff yourself? Fun!

  3. gd23 says:

    Excellent column, thanks for sharing the specifics.

  4. Alternatim says:

    Interesting that you reference alternative payment schemes from the music world (Radiohead, NIN, etc.). Check out what Kaiser Chiefs are doing:

    You pick 10 out of 20 available tracks and design your own cover to make an album. When other people by your album, you get a cut.

    Think this could ever be incorporated into literature: “choose (to publish) your own adventure”? Admittedly, is sounds like a formula for some pretty crappy endings. But it is sort of intriguing to wonder how alternative payment schemes might influence not just distribution but content.

  5. Shay Guy says:

    It’s not unprecedented–pay-what-you-like programs like the Humble Indie Bundle (video games) and Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Nine Inch Nail’s Ghosts I-IV (music) have been runaway successes.

    Certainly there have been successful PAYL programs, but IIRC there have been unsuccessful ones as well. The key question then becomes this: If you decide to implement a PAYL program, what’s the probability of it increasing revenue?

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