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Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab

The New York Times published a very interesting and thorough article yesterday about the growth of the POD industry and how traditional markets are even suffering.

It begins…

The point may soon come when there are more people who want to write books than there are people who want to read them.

It also includes a nice success story about Jim Bendat’s self-published book about presidential inaugurations.

“I wanted the satisfaction of holding the book in my hands,” Mr. Bendat said.

“O.K., it’s not a best seller,” Mr. Bendat said, “but I’m happy for what’s happening.”

Don’t miss this quote from Lulu’s own Bob Young…

Indeed, said Robert Young, chief executive of Lulu Enterprises, based in Raleigh, N.C., a majority of the company’s titles are of little interest to anybody other than the authors and their families. “We have easily published the largest collection of bad poetry in the history of mankind,” Mr. Young said.

Overall, I found it to be a very nice and enlightening article and definitely worth the read for anyone who has already self-published or might be considering it.

Read the full article here.

4 Responses

  1. I went back to the article to read the 100+ comments people had posted to it and the very first one caught my attention immediately, pointing out some of the problems you can face with traditional publishing….

    This story fails to report how rude the big publishing houses are to aspiring authors, how many “book stores” such as Barnes and (not so) Noble, are more interested in selling merchandise than books, while failing to report how distribution companies such as Baker and Taylor will demand books from authors at a 55 percent discount, make the authors pay for postage and to pay for the return postage of any books not sold in a short period of time.

    — John Meyer, Oceanside, Ca

  2. Another great comment posted to this article…

    They call us author-preneurs.

    We writers are a sensitive breed of people with and internal voice demanding to be heard. I am the voice of a Silenced child…a voice that walks softly across a page, spelling out sound, telling secrets, thoughtfully, quietly.

    Ask yourself, if a tree falls to the ground and no one is around, does the tree make a sound? If someone writes a story, a poem or a letter and no one gets to read it…is that voice heard?

    So we, who have a voice demanding to be heard, become author-preneurs. We plant seeds, water, harvest and distribute our valuable produce and we could use a little support here!

    Thanks for your article.

    — Janie Lancaster, San Marcos, CA

  3. Very interesting article. I thought that the following comment in the section regarding self-publishing as perhaps a better mechanism for niche market publishing during economic downturns almost humorous.

    For many self-published authors, the niche is very small. Mr. Weiss of Author Solutions estimates that the average number of copies sold of titles published through one of its brands is just 150.

    Author Solutions is trying to give the impression that the average number of copies sold per title is 150. I noticed they didn’t specify which market that was.

    The other comment that caught my eye was that of Blurb:

    “It used to be an elite few,” said Eileen Gittins, chief executive of Blurb, a print-on-demand company whose revenue has grown to $30 million, from $1 million, in just two years and which published more than 300,000 titles last year. Many of those were personal books bought only by the author.

    $1 million to $30 million on 300,000 titles??? Do I need to say more? It definitely behooves the self-published author to do their homework and investigate and validate every charge.

  4. [...] Gone Wild: More POD Success! Posted on January 30, 2009 by shannonyarbrough In yesterday’s post about an article in the Times I failed to mention the POD success story of [...]


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