If you are an upcoming/casual author, the chances of your books making it to the stand is very less. Not because of the quality, but any publishing house will insist on a minimum number of prints (5000 atleast) to even give your book a second thought.
dogearsetc, Goa based startup is attempting to change that with its print-on-demand offering.
Print-on-Demand? What’s that?
Modeled on the lines of lulu.com, the service allows authors to publish their books/publications one at a time (i.e. on-demand) and hence eliminates any upfront cost in publishing/managing inventory. Having said that, the cost of book in PoD is higher than the bulk printing cost, but that gets offset by the least number of copies you need to publish.
Here is a quick QnA with Leonard Fernandes, founder of dogearsetc:
Qn: Please explain how “print on-demand” process works.
The process is quite simple. If you have written a book and wish to publish it you can just send us your manuscript in soft copy. The manuscript must be “ready” i.e. w.r.t. layout, grammar, etc. We can also help you get it ready but that costs you. There are no charges to submit a “ready” manuscript. The books are then placed online (on http://www.dogearsetc.com) for sale. After a sale is made, the book is printed, bound and dispatched to the customer. Like I said, we also help the customer with grammar, layout and cover design. But we charge for these additional services.
The basic service of print-on-demand is not charged. Once the customer pays for the book (author decides on the book price), the book is shipped to the customer and the author gets her/his (pre-determined) royalty.
Qn: What’s your target market?
My target customer is one who is looking at a very small, niche, audience. If your book will sell more than 1000 copies, print-on-demand is not the way to go. Target customers include:
- translators of titles in regional languages into English (and vice versa)
- authors of books with niche appeal
- people seeking to gift personal collections of poems or photographs
- authors of business presentations/ college theses or project reports
- first-time authors
- companies seeking to publish in-house documentation (such as SOPs and annual reports)
- publishers who wish to keep slower moving items “in print” after earlier print runs are exhausted and who wish to aggressively promote their backlists
- authors of travelogues, cookery books, weekly column and other compilations
- professors in educational institutions who wish to publish their research and findings
In my opinion, the service has hit the right note at the right time and is filling a gap worthy of cause, but has a long way to go as far as execution is concerned. They need to build lot more cool apps (like integration with one’s (photo)blog where one could directly order prints) and should give lot more options to self-publishing publishers (themes/self-promotion kits etc). Moreover, apps like these should power the casual publisher community.
What’s your opinion?