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.

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E-publishing, Blogging and Print-on-demand

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