Donna Wentworth
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile)

Ernest Miller
( Archive | Home )

Elizabeth Rader
( Archive | Home )

Jason Schultz
( Archive | Home )

Wendy Seltzer
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile )

Aaron Swartz
( Archive | Home )

Alan Wexelblat
( Archive | Home )

About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

a Typical Joe
Academic Copyright
Jack Balkin
John Perry Barlow
Blogbook IP
David Bollier
James Boyle
Robert Boynton
Brad Ideas
Ren Bucholz
Cabalamat: Digital Rights
Cinema Minima
Consensus @ Lawyerpoint
Copyfighter's Musings
Copyright Readings
CopyrightWatch Canada
Susan Crawford
Walt Crawford
Creative Commons
Cruelty to Analog
Culture Cat
Deep Links
Derivative Work
Julian Dibbell
Digital Copyright Canada
Displacement of Concepts
Downhill Battle
Exploded Library
Bret Fausett
Edward Felten - Freedom to Tinker
Edward Felten - Dashlog
Frank Field
Seth Finkelstein
Brian Flemming
Frankston, Reed
Free Culture
Free Range Librarian
Michael Froomkin
Michael Geist
Michael Geist's BNA News
Dan Gillmor
Mike Godwin
Joe Gratz
James Grimmelmann
Groklaw News
Matt Haughey
Erik J. Heels
Induce Act blog
Inter Alia
IP & Social Justice
IPac blog
Joi Ito
Jon Johansen
JD Lasica
Legal Theory Blog
Lenz Blog
Larry Lessig
Jessica Litman
James Love
Alex Macgillivray
Madisonian Theory
Maison Bisson
Kevin Marks
Tim Marman
Matt Rolls a Hoover
Mary Minow
Declan McCullagh
Eben Moglen
Dan Moniz
Danny O'Brien
Open Access
Open Codex
John Palfrey
Chris Palmer
Promote the Progress
PK News
PVR Blog
Eric Raymond
Joseph Reagle
Recording Industry vs. the People
Lisa Rein
Thomas Roessler
Seth Schoen
Doc Searls
Seb's Open Research
Shifted Librarian
Doug Simpson
Stay Free! Daily
Sarah Stirland
Swarthmore Coalition
Tech Law Advisor
Technology Liberation Front
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vertical Hold
Kim Weatherall
David Weinberger
Matthew Yglesias

Timothy Armstrong
Bag and Baggage
Charles Bailey
Beltway Blogroll
Between Lawyers
Blawg Channel
Chief Blogging Officer
Drew Clark
Chris Cohen
Crooked Timber
Daily Whirl
Dead Parrots Society
Delaware Law Office
J. Bradford DeLong
Betsy Devine
Ben Edelman
Ernie the Attorney
How Appealing
Industry Standard
IP Democracy
IP Watch
Dennis Kennedy
Rick Klau
Wendy Koslow
Elizabeth L. Lawley
Jerry Lawson
Legal Reader
Likelihood of Confusion
Chris Locke
Derek Lowe
MIT Tech Review
Paper Chase
Frank Paynter
Scott Rosenberg
Scrivener's Error
Jeneane Sessum
Silent Lucidity
Smart Mobs
Trademark Blog
Eugene Volokh
Kevin Werbach

Berkman @ Harvard
Chilling Effects
CIS @ Stanford
Copyright Reform
Creative Commons
Global Internet Proj.
Info Commons
IP Justice
ISP @ Yale
NY for Fair Use
Open Content
Public Knowledge
Shidler Center @ UW
Tech Center @ GMU
U. Maine Tech Law Center
US Copyright Office
US Dept. of Justice
US Patent Office

In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline


« Anyone Have An Opinion on Createspace? | Main | Cartel Continues to Reinterpret Laws it Doesn't Like »

September 27, 2007

A Couple of PoD followups - Expensive!

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Comments on my post about CreateSpace led me to look at Another PoD organization, it also features non-exclusive licensing and is more focused on books and a "global marketplace" (whatever that means). It doesn't have the Amazon tie-ins. On the other hand you're not losing 45% of your gross to the Amazon structure either.

lulu claims to distribute through "60,000 retailers, schools and libraries" which sounds impressive but is really a tiny number when spread out even across the English-speaking world, let alone globally. Having a copy of your book in a school or town library isn't likely to do much for your sales or name recognition, either. lulu's manufacturing costs seem (at first glance) to be even higher - 100 copies of a 400-page paperback come in at just under USD 11 per book.

A FoaF did a monetary breakdown of the CreateSpace costing for various media and it comes out to nearly unworkable, especially for books. The price you'd have to charge end customers would put you at a severe disadvantage when compared with standard preprinted publications from known names. What ever happened to PoD being cheaper?

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


1. walt crawford on September 27, 2007 10:53 AM writes...

I don't remember when PoD was supposed to be cheaper. It's inherently more expensive to produce books one at a time using laser-printer technology than to run off hundreds or thousands of copies using standard printing processes.

To me, Lulu and CreateSpace make no sense if you're (a) expecting to sell thousands of copies, (b) ready to front manufacturing costs, (c) ready to use accrual accounting and stock inventory, (d) ready to handle fulfillment. There are far cheaper self-publishing methods.

Lulu and CreateSpace come in where none of those are true, in which case both are in fact quite workable. You're paying for a whole infrastructure, with fulfillment being a big part of it. Not appropriate for many purposes; very appropriate--and workable--for some. I've published 13 books traditionally (that is, using traditional publishers) and two non-traditionally; both work, but for different purposes.

Permalink to Comment

2. walt crawford on September 27, 2007 11:10 AM writes...

Should have read the linked commentary first. He's right, in a sense: If your novel is good enough to get published by a publisher, the PoD services don't make competitive sense. Nor are they designed to. (Lulu's founder has said his goal is to sell a hundred copies of a million books rather than a million copies of a hundred books--he's looking at small-sales niche markets).

My books are in a professional field where (a) $29.50 for a 200-page trade paperback is fairly standard, (b) a "big seller" might earn back $3K-$5K for the author over its life, (c) there aren't many big sellers. I had two book ideas (so far) that seemed worth pursuing but where I couldn't suggest sales higher than mid-three-digits. That's where Lulu and CreateSpace come in. They're not in direct competition with traditional publishers, as far as I can see...(and Lulu, at least, makes it quite clear that they're delighted if your Lulu-sourced book gets picked up by a major publisher and put out in a mass edition, improbable as that is).

The moral to this story: Book publishing isn't one market. Different rules apply for different niches.

Permalink to Comment

3. Kurt on September 27, 2007 12:30 PM writes...

POD isn't supposed to be cheaper, per unit. Assume it was: then large publishers would immediately adopt the cheaper publishing technology, and *poof*, it would no longer be cheaper.

POD is cheaper than ordering 1000+ copy print run, of which you only sell 50 or 100, and then have to pulp 900+ copies.

Permalink to Comment

4. Anonymous on September 28, 2007 9:42 AM writes...

walt: thanks for sharing your experiences. You're right that the expectations and economics are very different in trade publishing than in conventional fiction/nonfiction books.

I do wonder though about "a hundred copies of a million books rather than a million copies of a hundred books" - isn't that the same long tail that Amazon is already making a mint off of?

Kurt: PoD was initially promoted as cheap. Even if it was it's hard for existing publishers to shift their entire infrastructure, not to mention pissing off the same retail outlets that they'd want to use to sell PoD books.

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

If It's Not One Clause It's Another
At the End of this Hypothetical Day I Might Be Destroyed
Belgian Court Acquits Pirate Bay Founders
Sometimes Saying Nothing is Saying Something
Europeans Make Really Stupid Copyright Decisions, Too
Dogs Now Fight in Slightly Cleaner Pit (Thanks, Amazon)
Future of Music Summit 2015 this October
Licensing Doesn't Outlive Patents