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Kathleen Walls Discusses Choosing a POD for Your Book Publishing

by Mary Emma Allen on October 28th, 2008

In a previous post, From Author to Self-Publisher to Publishing Business, I discussed with Kathleen Walls the process in developing a home based publishing business, Global Authors Publications (GAP) from her Florida home.  Today, Katy will expand upon choosing and working with a POD publisher and getting one’s books distributed.

Katy founded (GAP) for publishing her books and soon expanded to publish others.  Previously we discussed how Katy became involved in self-publishing and founding GAP.

Mary Emma - How did you choose a POD (Print on Demand) publisher?  In other words, what should an author look for whether they are publishing their own books and/or another author’s.

Katy -I think here you mean printer. It’s a good distinction. Many people even on publisher forums confuse the two.

Pod or Print on Demand is just the technology used to produce the book. A POD printer prints a book as it is ordered using digital technology.

An offset printer prints hundreds or thousands of books at one time. You store cases of the book until you sell them and then have a new edition printed.

Theoretically you could use a POD printer and an offset  printer for the same book. For my newest book I considered doing just that. I wanted to do these books in color. You can’t do justice to a flower or a butterfly in black and white. Color is much more expensive and difficult to produce in a book so I considered doing a black and white version with my POD printer, Lightning Source, and an offset printing with the image pages in color with a local printer. I ended up not doing it but it is a logical possibility.

Lightning Source would get the book listed with Ingram or Baker and Taylor, who are the main distributors and necessary for anyone wanting to be in a chain store.

However, the important thing about not confusing a publisher, POD or otherwise, with a printer.  A publisher will need to transform the document an author gives him or her into a complete book. A printer will print exactly what you (the publisher) sends them. They will only demand that it is the format their machines understand, then it goes to press. If it is in a wrong format they send it back to the publisher or author to correct.

Mary Emma - Do all PODs help you distribute your books?

Katy -Most claim to but unless they use Lighnting Source which is owned by Ingram, it is difficult to develop a relationship with Ingram. Baker and Taylor is easier. They will deal with a one book publisher. Ingram demands that a publisher have at least ten books out.

Ingram and Baker and Taylor are distributors. They make your book available to bookstores that wish to order it.

A wholesaler is a company that actively sells you book to stores. Usually they are regional and it is a toss up as to whether to try and set yourself up with them. First disadvantage with a wholesaler is that they demand upwards of 60%. Most distributors get 55%. They keep 15% and pass on 40% to stores. Stores will expect that 40% when you sell to them directly also.

The next thing you want to consider about a wholesaler is that they usually demand exclusive right to sell your book. That means you cannot take it to a local store and sell it to them for that 40% discount. Also many wholesalers request an upfront payment annually to register your book with them whether they succeed in selling any copies or not.

Mary Emma -  Thank you, Katy, for sharing this information with us about book publishing.  In our next discussion with Katy, we’ll consider what you have to do to promote your book.


Tags: GAP, Global Authors Publications, Kathleen Walls, POD, print on demand, writing and publishing

POSTED IN: Writing & Publishing

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