16 Tips for Digital-Printing Success
3. The customer is always right.
It’s crazy to say to consumers, “You can’t have it until we’re ready to give it to you.” Publishers must fill consumer demand, and we have the technology available to allow us to do that … .
4. Bring the front list to the forefront.
Everyone knows that POD is good for backlist applications. … I believe that every publisher should [also] take advantage of POD to supplement for front-list books.
5. Forget quality qualms.
Quality in hardcover is no longer an issue for us. The change [in printing method] doesn’t need to be visible to consumers. The only difference between POD and regular offset is that POD doesn’t do a matte-finish cover, which is a subtle difference that no consumer would notice. We certainly didn’t get any complaints.
6. Mold your mindset for POD.
Traditionally, if you have a problem, you get people together and work to solve it. But, to be successful with POD, you must cut through the bureaucracy. You can’t be tied up by procedure. We did have POD experience, so it was easier for us to break through right away.
7. Help is out there to make educated business and vendor decisions.
I founded the Caravan Project (CaravanBooks.org) … to develop strategies for multiplatform publishing. We brought together … publishers and distributors with the goal of [learning] how to publish, distribute and sell books in all the ways that technology now permits. … Parallel to that, Perseus has created Constellation, a commercial application of Caravan’s nonprofit process that negotiates digital services for Perseus Book Group publishers and distributors. Other good resources for POD information include the ABA, BookSurge and Edwards Brothers.
8. We have much to gain, little to lose.
…The more ways that we deliver—offset and digitally printed books, downloadable audio, e-books—the less likely we are to be buried in returns. If you print 10 books to sell six, you carry a huge burden. If you print 10 to sell eight, you’ve transformed your business. In short, there is no technical or business reason why a publisher cannot take on POD digital printing.