Friday, January 04, 2008

Print-on-Demand. It's Here.

Insofar as publishing is "the activity of making information available for public view," the internet has been democratizing publishing for some time now. These days, in Canada at least, anyone can go to a public library, access the Internet, and start a blog at Blogger, all for free. Put another way, with the World Wide Web the barrier to entry for publishing is almost nonexistent, requiring only basic computer skills.

Conversely, up until recently there's been a significant barrier to entry when it comes to good old fashioned ink on paper, especially in book form. Usually an author has to convince a publisher that a sufficient number of his or her books will sell to turn a profit, or failing at this an author could opt for so called vanity publishing, fronting the money to publish a run of their own book.

This is no longer the case. As this article suggests, print on demand technology is here:
New printing technologies are making published authors of legions of aspiring writers, a population that once toiled for years on tomes that might not see the light of day. The vast majority of today's instant authors may sell only a few dozen copies of their books, but on-demand publishing is letting thousands realize the ambitions of generations of would-be writers.
With this technology the economics of scale cease to apply: if all you want is one book, you can have it printed for you; if you have orders for 25 books the next day, you can have them printed... There's no limit and no significant price difference for volume.

The above quoted article links to three sites that offer print-on-demand:

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