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My, how the world of publishing is changing!  The print version of my novel Divas Never Flinch is about to come out.  I don’t know about you, but I envisioned huge presses running at astronomical speeds slapping out a book, to then be bound, and the cover added.  I asked my publisher how many copies would be in the first run. I expected the publisher to have a warehouse filled with printed books to be sent out to bookstores all over the country when they were ordered.    I had to be set straight, and was given a crash course in publishing in the world today.

First, the publisher has no inventory of books.  My publisher works through a distributer who also actually prints the books.  But do they have a warehouse full of printed books?  Again no.  It seems the world of books today is print on demand.  Say Amazon wants to have 100 books.  They contact the distributer and order 100 books.  The distributer goes to their print department and orders 100 books which are printed out on demand and sent to Amazon.

Bookstores used to order books for their shelves, and after a period of time would return any that were unsold.  About 40% of the books returned were damaged and unable to be sold again.  Wasteful and unprofitable for the publisher.   So now my publisher no longer accepts return of books.

And of the 250,000 books in print a bookstore might carry only about 60,000.  Hardly a lucrative outlet for most books.  Today most books  – ebooks or printed books – are sold online – Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Smashwords being the major players.

Now here’s what’s interesting.  The printing of the books on demand has a new tool.  There is a machine called the Espresso printer.  This printer has access to all the ISBN books and when a book is ordered the number is entered and the book begins to print.  The printing, the binding, the cover, the lamination all done in about 7 minutes, from start to finish.  Here is a link to a YouTube video.  It is really interesting and well worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec2BZA50EaY

I’m sure this is not an exhaustive look at what is going on in publishing today, but it sure opened my eyes.  I know I have a lot more to learn, but I wanted to share this as I find it most enlightening.

 

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