Saturday Q & A With the Book Designer 02

by | May 21, 2011

This week I’m tackling the whole issue of print on demand distribution and how it works. This is one of the most common questions I get asked, and I’ve been wanting to lay this out in a step by step way.

Unlike last week’s video, this is more of a mini-webinar, and I would be interested in your feedback. Do you find this a better learning experience? Let me know.

If you have a question you’d like me to address next week, leave it in the comments. (If you can’t see the video, please reload or refresh the page.)

Discussed in this video:

  • The main actors involved in the print on demand cycle
  • Why the ISBN is central to print on demand
  • What print on demand distribution really means
  • Why the economics of print on demand are so attractive
  • How to follow the money through a print on demand transaction

Additional resources:

If you would like a more complete treatment of these topics, make sure you’re on my newsletter subscriber list. You’ll be the first to hear when I issue the next two in my Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guides: Print on Demand and Book Distribution and Discounts.

Subscribers get articles, tips, discounts and special offers that don’t appear elsewhere, so go over there and sign up.

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14 Comments

  1. Anthony StClair

    Many thanks Joel. It’s helpful to see the money flow, especially, as authors can better understand where their costs are.

    Thinking about the 20% discount used in the example, my spidey-sense is telling me one of your upcoming Q&A’s will go into more of the ins and outs of various discount levels? I bet that’d be helpful to many authors trying to navigate that important decision.

    Reply
  2. Laura Matson Hahn

    question: can you list with more than one POD? Such as Amazon AND Lightening Source?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Laura, thanks for visiting. Amazon, of course, is not a print on demand supplier, but a retailer. I have heard of people listing their book on both CreateSpace and Lighting Source, although I still don’t see why that’s a good idea. But it can be done, since these arrangements are all non-exclusive.

      Reply
  3. Laura Matson Hahn

    Thanks, Joel — you are clear and informative. Very much appreciate your blog

    Reply
  4. Debra Weiner

    Joel–another very helpful clear and concise resource! One question: in the barcode graphic that you have in this slide presentation, it looks like the barcode contains both the ISBN number and the book price. In our recent conversation I believe that you recommended not to have the price be part of the bar code? Is that correct? I want to make sure about this before finalizing files with LSI.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Debra, you’ll notice that the right side of the barcode, with the “90000” above it, does not include a price. If you wanted to embed the price into the barcode, this would say something like “914.95” where “9” indicates the price is in dollars and “14.95” is the retail price. In practice, I rarely embed the price in the barcode, preferring this type, with no price indicated.

      Reply
  5. Bob Mills

    Joel,
    Thanks for this information, I’m working on my first self-published book so it’s very useful. I’ve just started looking at distribution/pricing and it seems that Lulu expect to take 20% of my profit margin (ie what I get minus print cost) if I only sell on their site. I’ve asked them for more detail but they’re slow responding. Can you comment ?
    Thanks
    Bob Mills
    England

    Reply
  6. tomz

    Joel – I thought this video was very well done. It would have been very helpful when I first got into POD. Are you going to do a post on epublishing and what steps are involved?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks, tomz. I have a succession of videos coming out on various topics and e-books are in the mix. I’ve learned so much from watching other people’s videos and listening to their audios that I want to bring this kind of training to readers here. All feedback is appreciated.

      Reply
  7. Michael N. Marcus

    Excellent explanation, Joel.

    However, in your discussion of fulfillment, you have the printer shipping a book to the bookseller, who then ships it to the reader.

    This could be done for some resellers, but adds expense and time. Lightning Source usually “drop-ships” directly to the reader, so the bookseller never handles the physical book.

    If a POD book becomes popular, Amazon may order some copies to keep in inventory. This can save a day or two in getting books to readers, and allows Amazon to ship orders for multiple books in one box.

    I’d love to see an an explanation of the path for moving files and money with e-books.

    Michael N. Marcus
    https://www.BookMakingBlog.blogspot.com
    https://www.Self-Pub.info
    — Create Better Books, with the Silver Sands Publishing Series: https://www.silversandsbooks.com/booksaboutpublishing.html
    — “Stories I’d Tell My Children (but maybe not until they’re adults),” https://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661750

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Sure, you could do it either way, since books follow both routes. I like this one because it makes a nice circle.

      Reply
  8. kalamworld

    THANKS FOR BLOGGING YOUR ARTICLE…YOUR ARTICLES REALLY HELPS ME TO ANSWER MY HOMEWORK..I HOPE YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR DOING…YOU CAN HELP A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT NEED SOME ANSWER TO THERE QUESTIONS.…THANKS S LOT!!! GOD BLESS YOU.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      If I can help even one student with their homework, I’ll feel like I’ve done a good thing.

      Reply

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