Brian Rush, an alert reader, showed me the error of my ways with yesterday's post. Here's what I said:
"I make the assumption that you all understand that 'on demand' publishers charge the author for their services and the finished books and the price can be high."
And Brian said:
"There is no reason for anyone to 'understand' this, as it is not true. What you are calling 'on-demand publishing' is actually vanity publishing, an entirely different subject. 'On-demand' refers not to a type of marketing arrangement but to a publishing technology which allows books to be printed only when purchased. It is not exclusively used by vanity publishers (the ones that charge authors a fee). It is also used by traditional publishers (so far mostly small ones), and by self-publishing outlets that do NOT charge authors a fee, but instead take a percentage of all sales (which is also what traditional publishers do).If you want to give people advice about self-publishing, I would suggest learning a little more about the subject. I pretty much stopped reading at the point I just quoted above."
Brian is correct, harsh, but correct. Mystery Writer used the term "on demand" and I heard "vanity." I believe that's what she was talking about. But we're not sure. If you're reading this, Mystery Writer, could you get back to us with more details?
Here's a good definition of Print on Demand from About.com:
Print on demand (POD) refers to digital printing technology that allows one or two copies of a book to be printed at a time, dispensing with the expense of warehousing books. It also allows a publisher or author to have books printed only as they are ordered, which means that at the end of the year, a publisher doesn't face costly returns from bookstores. In recent years the quality of print-on-demand books has improved to the point that there often is little difference between them and the average traditional print book.
About.com says this about self-publishing:
Self-publishing is the act of publishing your work independently of an established publishing house. In the past writers unable to publish their work through larger presses have gone through vanity presses, but with print-on-demand services, there are more options today for writers interested in self-publishing than before.
Hope this clears things up. Thanks, Brian, for calling us on this.