Online Book Publishing: Print-On-Demand Will Double Your Sales
Copyright © Shaun R. Fawcett
This is another in my series of articles that explain the Online Publishing Model and how small-time authors and/or self-publishers can use the OPM as a more lucrative alternative to the often archaic and dysfunctional traditional book publishing model. In short, using the OPM you'll make more book sales and you’ll net more profits, faster.
Typically, you will create your book/ebook in a source word processing program such as MS-Word or WordPerfect. Once you have converted it into PDF format you’ll be ready to start selling it via the three primary channels that make up the Online Publishing Model: 1. Sales-Mini-Sites, 2. Digital Download Distributors, 3. Print-On-Demand (POD) Distributors.
This article explains Channel 3, Print-On-Demand (POD) distribution.
I have to tell you that I was already pretty darn excited when I found out about Channel 2 of the OPM, the digital fulfillment channel. However, when I found out about how I could ALSO take advantage of Channel 3, the print-on-demand channel I was ecstatic!
POD FULFILLMENT: DEFINITION
It's important that you understand exactly what I'm talking about when I use the term "POD fulfillment", as opposed to "digital fulfillment" which I explained in another article that I have written about the OPM.
Print-on-demand (POD) fulfillment refers to when your book is delivered to the customer strictly in printed paper form as a standard book. With POD, when a single order (or low volume order) for your book is placed, just that small quantity is printed, bound, and drop-shipped directly to the customer by your POD fulfillment company. Hence the term, print-on-demand, or POD as it is widely referred to..
A typical example of POD fulfillment in action would be when you provide your POD electronic files to a digital fulfillment company that distributes POD books to booksellers like amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com, for example. Such booksellers would then offer your paperback POD book to those of its customers who prefer a standard printed version of your book.
POD FULFILLMENT: A REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE
For a real-life example of this, take a look at my Instant Recommendation Letter Kit book which is listed at amazon.com. To do this, go to the amazon.com Web site.
Do a "book search" on the phrase "recommendation letter". Instant Recommendation Letter Kit will show up in the first few search results (usually number one or two). Click on the title to the right of the cover and it will take you to the details page. Look immediately below the cover and you will see the heading "Other Editions". The link there will say "paperback" or "digital download", depending on which version you are currently looking at.
The point here is that, via amazon.com customers can ALSO order the paperback version of that book if they prefer it to the digital version.
Once the customer places their order online, the amazon.com electronic ordering system immediately sends an electronic order to my POD distribution company which instantly begins their internal print-on-demand process to produce ONE single copy of my paperback version for direct drop-shipping to the paying customer's address.
This sure beats paying to print and store into inventory, 1,000 or 2,000 copies, or more, up-front doesn't it!
WHY CHOOSE POD FULFILLMENT?
As explained above, when people order a print-on-demand book they get a real hard copy paperback book that they can hold in their hands.
But why choose to produce a POD version when you already offer an ebook version? This is a good and logical question.
The main answer is this: an ebook is NOT a perfect substitute for a printed book.
This becomes particularly clear when marketing the two products through an online bookseller like amazon.com. It turns out that even when amazon offers a 30% discount on the digital download ebook version, about 50% of buyers of the exact same title still choose the more expensive POD paperback version.
So, not only are these people willing to pay more, but they are also willing to wait anywhere from 5 to 7 days for the POD book to be drop-shipped to them.
These are the traditional book buying people. They want a conventional paper book that they can hold in their hands. They want to be able to turn the pages. Many of these buyers don't really understand what an ebook or digital download is all about.
And, even if they do understand the "e" part of ebook they don't want to have anything to do with something that sounds so "techie".
Clearly, if you do not provide a conventional paperback book option via POD for these traditional book buyers you will be leaving that money on the table. Those people will NOT buy your digital download products.
PODS LOOK AND FEEL LIKE REAL BOOKS
So, what does a POD book look like you might ask?
The quality of my POD books when printed is very acceptable. The full-color glossy cover is printed on standard cover stock and the book is perfect bound. The interior is comprised of standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper stock, printed both sides. It's like an excellent quality Xerox job between professionally designed full-color glossy covers. So, people who order them get a paperback of equivalent quality as to what one would normally find on the shelves at a bookstore.
That's just the format I use for my “how-to” books. You can also have PODs produced in all kinds of sizes, shapes and bindings, including hard cover books!
If you want to sell books to the traditional book buying public you have to give them what they want - a printed book. Print-on-demand (POD) is a technology that lets you do just that -- one copy at a time.
The really exciting thing about these POD sales is, as I explained above, they are IN ADDITION to any sales that you will make via Web site or digital fulfillment channels. It really is like "found money".
That’s what makes using the Online Publishing Model so exciting; it gives you three equally productive selling channels for your books and/or ebooks.
About the Author: Shaun Fawcett is the author of numerous “how-to” books on everyday practical writing help. He also writes about how to create and publish books and ebooks. His popular book that explains how to implement the Online Publishing Model can be found at: http://InstantBookWritingKit.com