[FoRK] Recommendations / referrals to publishers?

Matt Jensen mattj at newsblip.com
Thu Mar 31 14:02:22 PST 2005

Quoting Ken Meltsner <meltsner at gmail.com>:

> Unless there's a compelling non-financial reason, there is almost no
> case in which vanity publishing makes sense.  The books are poorly
> produced and edited, are not stocked anywhere --

Maybe so, but Print On Demand is a different kettle of fish.  I use Lulu.com for
personal projects, but I'm considering it for a very obscure research piece,
just to get it "out there" and done with.

With a Print On Demand vendor like Lulu, I pay nothing up front. I pay only the
material cost of printing a copy on demand. For a 6"x9" softcover with a
full-color cover, this is about $4 + 2 cents per page.  That's roughly $8 for a
200-page book.

A reader can order your book through Lulu, and they handle credit card
processing and shipping.  If you charge the customer more than the material
cost, Lulu gets a small cut of your profit.  You are literally done after you
upload a file, except for marketing yourself.

If you want your book to have an ISBN number, and to be orderable through
Amazon, it will cost you under $100 (I forget exactly how much.)

Personally, I've used Lulu twice.  First, I collected a few hundred color photos
of the family and printed them up as a softcover, full-color book that made a
great and handy gift.  Roughly 150 pages for $25 per copy (full color!).

Then, I printed a 400-page 8.5x11 "book" that was a collection of 50 or so
papers on a related topic.  I used Acrobat to stitch the PDFs together.  For
around $10, I now have a very handy and trim-looking volume instead of file
folders of printouts.

My obscure research subject is probably only of interest to 20 people or so, so
Print On Demand is perfect for that.

-Matt Jensen

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