FAQs on Publishing
A: New technology allows publishers to print commercially viable books one at a time. Traditionally publishers had to print and maintain an inventory of books to supply customers. This meant large dollar amounts in storage and inventory fees with no guarantee that the book would sell.
A: A customer places an order with their favorite book vendor (i.e. Amazon.com or their local bookstore). The book vendor searches their distributors’ catalogs for the book printer and places the order. The book printer prints the book and drop ships it to the book vendor. Depending on the printer, the turn-around time can be anywhere from 24 hours to a couple of days. Then the book vendor provides the book to the customer.
A: The publisher prepares the book as for any printing process (off-set or on-demand); completing rights acquisition, ISBN assignment, book design, layout, typesetting, proofing, and editing. The publisher then supplies either a digital file or a scan-ready hard copy of the book to a print-on-demand capable printing company. The printing company enters the book into its digital filing system and prints a final proofing copy for the publisher, if requested. Books are then printed when customers order them. For a fee, printers keep the book file active in their filing system and the book will appear in the distributors’ catalogs available for printing at any time.
- No inventory of books to store.
- No large costs sunk in inventory.
- Shipping and distribution handled by the printer and distributor.
- Can afford to keep books “in print”.
- Turn-around time for printing is a matter of days rather than weeks.
- Fast order fulfillment for unique “small run” books.
- Easy ordering and book fulfillment using book vendors you know.
- Reasonable prices for “small run” books which would otherwise have to be of higher price in order to be commercially viable.
- Books available which would otherwise not be.
A: Contact companies that specialize in “self-publishing”. A few example companies include: AuthorHouse, Cork Hill Press, Lulu, and Xlibris. You will pay them to provide you publishing and some marketing services, in return your book will be in print.
A: We wrote a book about self publishing which discusses Print-on-Demand called Publish Today! A Helpful Guide to Book Publishing for Authors and Self Publishers. Check it out at the link below for more information and to order. We wrote this book to answer the questions we got at book signings and seminars. We generally find most books on publishing to be too vague or overly optimistic about a topic. So we give you what we have found out over our years of publishing—the straight, unadorned truth.
Before we published our own books, we researched the topic extensively. Among the many books about publishing we read was “Print-On-Demand Book Publishing” by Morris Rosenthal published by Foner Books which we found helpful. Mr. Rosenthal provides useful websites, sample calculations, and strategies for print-on-demand publishing.Publish Today! A Helpful Guide to Book Publishing for Authors and Self Publishers
A: Legally, a person’s right to a copyright is established by their work on the copyrightable material. Official copyrights are useful in lawsuits against copyright infringers in the sense that the copyright provides a legal record of the person’s intellectual property right. It is not strictly necessary to support your legal claim, but it is a helpful piece of evidence. It currently costs $45 to register a copyright with the Library of Congress. You obtain the copyright after you have a copy of the “best” version of the work (usually meaning after the book is published and if you publish the book in both hard- and soft-bound copy, the hard-bound copy is the one you send to the Library of Congress). Forms are available for download at http://www.copyright.gov/forms/.
A: ISBN’s are used by bookstores and on-line book vendors to track book sales. They are also used by libraries. If you are publishing a book you intend to distribute to your family or use as a fundraiser at your church or even to sell at workshops or seminars you present, you do not need an ISBN. However, if you plan to sell the book through bookstores, you will need an ISBN.
You have to be a publisher to assign ISBNs. You have two basic options:
1. set up a publishing company and purchase a block of ISBNs through Bowkers (the only place authorized to sell ISBNs),
2. find a printer/publisher who will provide an ISBN as part of their publishing process. There are a number of firms which provide this service. You can find them by searching on the term “self publishing”.