There is a discussion on Scribophile about Print On Demand, specifically, can you make money with it? Here are some of the comments:
> One entry says:
I formatted and uploaded my book to Amazon paperback format today. I went to price the book. Amazon informed me that the print cost as about $7 bucks. I chose 60% royalties. And the lowest Amazon would let me price is $13. And at the $13 price point, I make exactly $0 dollars.
Ok, I figured that the missing $6 would go to shipping. I went to order a few copies for myself, and Amazon is charging shipping on top of the base price. Also, I have heard something about “author copies” that cost less. (Is this a real thing?)
> Re: CreateSpace.
It’s really ridiculous how much they charge for POD. At first it seems very reasonable – they get 40% and the author gets 60% BUT added to their 40% is a “flat charge” of $.85 on books 180+ pages and a per page charge of $.012 per page for 180+ pages. After all is said and done the author only get less than 15% – after US taxes it’s less than 10% – UGH. All of this was based on a price point of US $8.99.
Also I believe the author copies are $4 and change – but I’m sure that people that are more “in the know” can answer better.
> I don’t actually . . .
self pub through Amazon. I use Lulu.com, once you approve your book then they link it to Amazon and couple of bookstores. If you order your copies and sell yourself you can make quite a lot of money.
Does anyone here do POD? It occurs to me that to set up at a sidewalk/school arts/craft fair with copies of your book would at least have your thing seen by a lot of people. Best would be to get yourself written up in your local paper and blow it up into a poster.
> Here are some words of wisdom from Jay, formerly of Book Country:
As someone who has a work available in POD you will be in that great fraternity of the self-published. No one on planet Earth will be aware that you have a book available for sale, other than because you sent them to that Internet sales page. Does my telling you that I have one of my novels available free on Smashwords motivate you to rush over there to read it? Probably not, and that’s free.
Would it make you rush were I to tell you it’s really good (just as every self published novel’s blurb does)? Again, probably not.
How about if I tell you that you can buy a printed copy for twelve dollars, plus shipping? Not much of a plus, when you can buy an award winning author for a lot less in your local bookstore, and pay no shipping fee.
I don’t mean to be discouraging, but my view is that if we can write well enough to be worth the money—professional level writing—we can sell our work to a publisher. And if not…
Well, I disagree with that. Trad publishers are looking for work that is commercial, highly salable, according to their idea of that elusive quality. That method bypasses a lot of good stuff.
> And, a rebuttal:
That’s a pretty gloomy outlook and incorrect IMHO. I have a friend who has written a series of 6 novellas, no more than 30 minute reads each that sell for $1.99 for digital copies and $9.99 for print, she’s making a cool $60k/yr. Self Published and POD. It just takes a little work. If you’re a midgrade author with a “normal” publisher you’re not going to do any better than that and still have to do 90% of your own advertising and promotions.
Several people on Scrib say that small publishers use POD, CreateSpace, whoever. Is this true? Atthys, you should know the answer to this. I have imagined that POD must have a giveaway lesser quality of materials. But if a legitimate small publisher uses it, that can’t be true.
> Finally, another rebuttal . . .
to the first rebuttal to Jay’s gloomy words: Jay’s post is the cold, hard truth. Sad but true and what aspiring writers need to know.
I want to know if POD is a waste of time or not. Who’s dipped a toe into this fountain? Somebody thinks it useful. I begin to see POD jobs move through our compositor process at work. All but first-run titles are followed by a description, pbk (paperback), rerun, enlargement, create final file (for fully illustrated books set up by the publisher’s designer, tricky text wraps and the like), etc. I see, not often, but more and more: POD.
I suppose these jobs must be from small publishers. Next time I get hold of one, I am going to look at the info to see who the client is. Here’s an interesting thought: can it be that even large publishers are going this route, small runs, to manage inventory and returns?
Why do we label them POD? Is there some technical difference between the set up of a traditional print run and POD? Are costs trimmed/shortcuts taken in one way or another? Are hawking-their-wares authors the main market for POD? Is this the new generation of vanity press? It seems to me more valuable as a sales tool than anything else. I’m going to pay more attention to our POD jobs, try to figure this out.
> A final Scrib post sums it up for us:
Q: How is a writer supposed to make any money?
A: Day job.