Traditional publishers can use print-on-demand (POD) technologies to reduce costs and possibly grow revenues, something I’ve written and presented on a range of occasions.
Although much of this work focuses on the benefits of eliminating inventory and keeping small-demand books in print, POD also provides individual authors options to get published without having to land a book deal. Suppliers like Lulu offer low upfront costs for basic services, while vendors like the ever-growing Author Solutions can match the low end while giving authors plenty of options to splurge at the high end.
Growing both organically and through acquisition, Author Solutions has added iUniverse, xLibris and now Trafford, a short-run printer that has offered authors its own range of services. With its latest acquisition, Author Solutions claims that it will earn $100 million in revenues this year.
While not all of those revenues are directly related to book sales, it’s fair to ask: How many trade publishers will gross $100 million this year? I think we can count them on two hands.