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RetiredName
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PostSubject: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 7:07 am

I'm not sure this has been posted before, but I will post it since POD is one of the most confused terms among new authors.

POD means Print On Demand. This means, books are printed when ordered. Most often, it is done via digital presses in which the book is printed and bound and then spit out.

But POD could could mean when a book is ordered a bunch of monks in the basement create a copy or one copy is run via an offset press (hideously expensive but possible).

The good thing about digital pressex is that it saves on warehousing and stock. The bad thing is it offers no economy of scale; one copy costs the exact same as printing ten, or twenty. Foir small print runs (less than 100) it's actually cheaper to print via a digital press.

Offset offers economy of scale; the more you print, the less the cost per copy.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 8:32 am

The small print run in off-set printing is expensive because the costs to set up the printing is the same for 100 books as for 1000 books. That set-up cost has to be paid irrespective of the cost of the print-run.

e.g. Cost to set up printing: $1000
Cost to print one book: $3

Cost to print 100 books: $1,300 Cost per book = $1,300/100 = $13
Cost to print 1,000 books: $4,000 Cost per book = $4,000/1000 = $4
Cost to print 10,000 books: $31,000 Cost per book = $31,000/10,000 = $3.10

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POD 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ POD 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ POD 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ POD 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ POD 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ POD 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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lin
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lin

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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 10:03 am

It basically refers to producing books with toner rather than ink.

Unfortunately the term is taken as synonymous with "rip off" by a lot of people, including many who should know better.

My extensive experience in doing small press runs myself indicates that you are better off using photocopy (toner-based) for runs under about 1500. Above that it starts getting more cost-effective to go offset.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 4:59 pm

I don't know if you were making an analogy but offset presses don't use toner. They use ink. Kind of like giant ink stamps.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 5:54 pm

That's right. And POD "presses" like you're talking about use toner.

We call them "printers" actually.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 7:02 pm

Gotcha. I'm easily confused.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 7:16 pm

I have also heard that POD can mean "Publish on Demand". I think it
came up in my early days with PA. Is there a difference, other than
semantics?
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyMon Dec 29, 2008 8:33 pm

You zip off a book and toss it in the mail to a customer. Have you printed it or publshed it?

It's just one more little cupcake of confusion on this issue.
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Gina
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyTue Dec 30, 2008 4:29 am

More and more of the books I buy are POD books. The University of Hawai'i Press uses it and so do a number of other academic publishers. Few academic books sell in large numbers, and they sell over a prolonged period of time, so it makes good sense to use POD.

A colleague was going on about how POD books are all self-published bundles of tripe, so I took her to her own bookshelves and took out a dozen POD books that she'd willingly bought. She had no idea that POD was just a description of the printing process. She thought it was a disease that needed to be wiped from the planet.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyTue Dec 30, 2008 6:37 am

Publish On Demand is the same thing, though less often used.

Like I said, POD can take many forms. If you make a book by printing one up and stapling it up, then sending it out, that's publishing on demand.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyTue Dec 30, 2008 7:00 am

Technically, one supposes. But the term generally refers to the technology involving extremely high speed laser printers and binding machines coupled to software that access hard drives to manage manuscript material.

There's enough confusion of that term without exacerbating it. Speaking as somebody who has sold tens of thousands of self-publshed, largely self-poduced books, lemme tell you that very few will create them one at a time as orders come in.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyTue Dec 30, 2008 7:07 am

Good points Gina. The fact is, many large houses, noticably Harper Collins and Kensington, but may others as well, are using POD technology.

It really offers them an ideal model, when you think about it. Knock off the advances and run the higher unit cost, no capital outlay POD books initinally, then switch to web for higher volume profitablity if the the traffic bears it.

Meanwhile the confusion of the term continues is some pretty odd places. The SFWA, generally very cool and knowledgeable about writers warnings carries this totall antequated alert which equates "POD" with "Vanity Press".

Almost all POD books are printed at the same company, by the way, Lightning Source (generally called LSI) although there is a much smaller outfit calle Paw Prints. The funny thing about LSI is that they are a virtual monopoly, but don't use it in an evil way like, oh, say amazon or microsoft.
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flashgordon
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyThu Jan 01, 2009 9:35 am

lin wrote:

Almost all POD books are printed at the same company, by the way, Lightning Source (generally called LSI) although there is a much smaller outfit calle Paw Prints. The funny thing about LSI is that they are a virtual monopoly, but don't use it in an evil way like, oh, say amazon or microsoft.

True, LSI has not gone evil yet. The reason LSI is so great is because not only do they get you in to Ingram, but they also have printing and wholesaling in the UK and now Europe, and are soon expanding into Australia. Truly international when combined with some good online marketing.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyThu Jan 01, 2009 2:57 pm

POD technology has it's place in publishing; I think it's cool technology. But until it can offer the economies of scale offset can, it will be remain still used in limited venues.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyThu Jan 01, 2009 5:48 pm

There are both economies and diseconomies of scale (ECON 101)

For instance, the interest on the capitalization: all those books sitting around instead of money in the bank.

Another: warehousing. You run 10,000 copies of 20 titles and you better rent some storage somewhere. And that it's dry and fireproof and bugproof.

Risk: you really, really sure you're not going to end up eating 9,985 books?

That kind of balancing act alone, between lower unit cost and high investment costs, is the sort of thing people hire accountatnts to figure out.

Or course, it's hard to know what "limited venues" means, but this is a coming means of production being used by everybody from high school emo poets to the largest publishers in the world.

I'd say an analogy is silk screen printing. It's easy to look at it and say, it can compete with offset. But it DOES compete with everything from fine art lithography to rotogravure (in fact, when was the last time you saw real rotogravure) to label stamping.

As I end up saying over and over: it's a tool. Any artist or professional acquaints themselves with all the possible tools at his disposal, learns about those that might fit his needs, and learns everything he can about the ones that might help him express his work.
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Gina
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyFri Jan 02, 2009 8:32 am

lin wrote:
Any artist or professional acquaints themselves with all the possible tools at his disposal, learns about those that might fit his needs, and learns everything he can about the ones that might help him express his work.

Exactly, which is why I have more pencils than just that lone HB... big brushes and little brushes... watercolour paints, gouache, acrylics, oils, etc. Horses for courses. One size doesn't fit all. Publishing's no different.
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Ann C. Crispin
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PostSubject: Re: POD   POD EmptyFri Feb 06, 2009 8:20 am

The "rub" regarding POD books is that bookstores recognize the imprints of the major POD houses and most (especially the chains) have a policy against ordering them and placing them on the shelves. A lot of POD published books aren't returnable, and bookstores know that. It's more of a risk for them.

Shelf space in bookstores is becoming increasingly "tight" and the competition is getting fierce.

-Ann C. Crispin
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