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E-publishing, Blogging and Print-on-demand


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A presentation made to students in Lady Shriram College on 31st January 2009, as part of CII's short term course on publishing.

A presentation made to students in Lady Shriram College on 31st January 2009, as part of CII's short term course on publishing.

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  • 1. E-publishing, Blogging, Print-on-Demand Badri Seshadri New Horizon Media
  • 2. Traditional publishing
    • Author has an idea and approaches a publisher – directly or through an agent.
    • Publisher has an idea and commissions an author to do a book.
    • A manuscript is created, edited, packaged, printed and marketed.
    • Author gets paid an advance (or not), and royalties from the publisher.
  • 3. Author’s nightmare...
    • Most manuscripts get rejected – probably 99.9% get rejected?
    • Extraordinary delays before a book is edited and brought out.
    • A publishing house may not always add value to the book.
    • Even it is published, it may not be promoted properly and sale may be low.
  • 4. Self publishing...
    • You pay someone to edit and convert that into a book.
    • Pay a printer and get a few hundred copies printed.
    • You struggle to convince some shops to stock a few copies.
    • If you are lucky, you may sell a few copies and collect some money.
  • 5. Blogging
    • A self-expression medium.
    • Easy to set up, easy to use and update.
    • More than a million new blogs are started a day.
    • You can write anything you want. No one to censor your writings.
  • 6. E-publishing
    • E-publishing normally denotes digitising what is already in the print format.
    • But, it can now extend to cover any content created in an ‘electronic format’.
    • PDF files, HTML files, specialised e-book formats.
  • 7. Blogs to books
    • You may want to write a novel, a science topic, an engineering idea...
    • You already have a blog. Post your stories or theories there regularly.
    • Promote the idea to your friends.
    • Build a strong audience base. 50 or 100 will be great to start with.
  • 8. Feedback and fine-tuning
    • Your readers can give you good feedback.
    • Take the feedback into account and rework your writing.
    • Complete your work. Re-read and re-write.
    • Get editorial help from somebody and polish your writing.
  • 9. E-book
    • Package the entire content into an E-book. Make the layout appealing.
    • Take professional help to design an attractive wrapper.
    • Make it into a PDF file or other popular e-book formats.
    • Post the e-book for free online download!
  • 10. Also make money
    • Open a paypal account.
    • Link the download of your e-book to a nominal payment (Rs. 50 or Rs. 100).
    • Even if each chapter is available online, people may want to pay and download it.
    • They may want to print it and read in paper.
  • 11. Print-on-demand
    • If people ask you for physical copies and are willing to pay for it, go for POD.
    • A POD printer may take the e-book and give you a perfect-bound paper version.
    • There may be a minimum order size (50 or 100 copies).
  • 12. Marketing the POD book
    • Mark up the price appropriately, add the shipping cost and offer the print version along with the e-book version.
    • If any online bookshop is willing to showcase the book, even better.
    • You will have to ‘fulfill’ your own orders.
    • You need to pack it and ship it, when you get an online order.
  • 13. Traditional offset printing
    • Traditional offset printing involves
      • Film making and Plate making, or computer to plate (C2P)
      • Printing the text forms (usually 16 pages)
      • Wrapper printing and lamination
      • Folding and binding (paperback or hardbound)
    • Minimum order quantity will be 500 or 1,000 copies.
  • 14. Print-on-demand
    • No plate making necessary
    • High speed, high quality digital printers can print the single colour text and four colour wrapper.
    • Binding process is the same as in offset printing.
    • Minimum print order can come down to 50 or 100.
  • 15. How is it possible?
    • High quality digital printers from Xerox.
    • HP and others make them too.
  • 16. Comparison
    • Cost per unit in digital printing is always high. But you can print in smaller lots.
    • There is no lead time. PDF files can be printed immediately.
    • There is very little or no quality difference.
    • Untrained persons cannot distinguish easily between a digital and offset print.
  • 17. Opportunities for a publisher
    • To test market a product: Print 50 copies to test what people say about the product.
    • To create dummies to show the author or a publishing partner.
    • Quick turn-around for launch functions, before offset copies arrive.
    • Prudent to print and sell ‘low selling books’ only through POD.
  • 18. NHM Malayalam book launch
    • We produced 50 copies of every title, took them to distributors and select readers.
    • This gave us an idea about what kind of numbers we needed to print in the offset.
  • 19. Author/partner dummies
    • See samples.
    • Co-produced Tamil translations of Pearson’s “Rules of Work” series.
    • To show Westland, how Dhoni – Tamil translation will look like...
    • To author Thota Tharani, a sample of his book
  • 20. Book launch
    • We have a short lead time for a book to be launched.
    • The date is fixed, but the book may not be printed in time.
    • We produce the digital copies that can be showcased in the launch function.
  • 21. Amazon POD opportunity
    • NHM has a deal with Amazon and its subsidiary BookSurge, a POD provider.
    • NHM books are available in the Amazon platform in the electronic format.
    • When someone orders the book on Amazon, BookSurge prints one copy at a time (POD) and ships it to the end user.
  • 22. Costs of Amazon POD
    • Per b/w page, $ 0.012 in USA, £ 0.01 in UK and € 0.04 for Europe.
    • Colour pages will cost more.
    • Wrapper and binding cost.
    • There may also be a set up cost per book.
    • Probably not available to individuals, available only for publishers.
  • 23. Opportunities for an individual
    • Don’t wait for a publisher to accept you.
    • Sites like will help you create and market the book.
    • In India, I have noticed
      • (Goa)
      • (Bangalore)
    • There could be more.
  • 24. Marketing e-books
    • Kindle (Amazon), iLiad, Sony PRS-505 and such can help expand this area.
    • Not yet a rage in India.
  • 25. Self-publishing to a super seller
    • Once your book has sufficient traction, you can convince a publisher to take up your book, add value, and republish it in their imprints.
    • To make a book successful, you need the marketing support of a publisher.
    • In India, online alone won’t work. In US, it probably can.
  • 26. Blogs as ‘talent search’ platform
    • I trawl the blogs to identify good writers.
    • I invite them to talk to me, to find out if they can write good books.
    • We have so far located around 10 authors from Tamil blogs.
    • Their books can be marketed very well online.