Thursday, April 17, 2014

You have just completed your book...now what?

You have spent months, if not years, researching, writing, designing and editing your book. It is now finished and ready for sale.

Congratulations!

Now what?

You undoubtedly want your book sold and in the hands of readers. You want it distributed through retail channels, online outlets and other avenues that sell books.

Many options exist to distribute your book through these diverse channels. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages and understanding and choosing the correct one for your particular needs can be overwhelming. 

Traditionally, books have used a distribution channel consisting of book distributors and wholesalers.

Book distributors actively sell books to bookstores, retailers, libraries and online stores, usually from a catalog. Personal sales calls and visits can also occur as long standing relationships typically exist between a distributor and retail outlets. Distributors offer a full range of services to stimulate demand and sell books through the distribution channel.

Book wholesalers make books available to retailers but do not typically engage in actively selling books to the retail market. They process orders and ship books but do not generally create demand for books. They do not offer the full range of services that distributors provide. Publishers and authors still have to pitch, market and sell books to book retailers. But wholesalers might offer a relatively inexpensive method compared to distributors to have books made available to a multitude of potential buyers.

With the growth of self published authors has come a viable alternative method for authors to reach potential book buyers…directly online. Social media and single focused book sites offer book reviews and relevant articles and the opportunity to sell directly to readers. For example, bookhitch.com allows authors and readers the opportunity to “meet,” sell and buy without having to go through distributors or wholesalers.
                                                                                               
And, should authors choose to sell books from personal websites, companies such as NetPublications’ NetSource distribution service can establish a shopping cart connection allowing the fulfillment of orders and processing of payments placed via authors’ websites.  

Each of these methods offer a unique value proposition and each must be thoroughly considered and evaluated to understand which offers the best distribution route, and value, for an individual’s particular situation.

But, ultimately, they all allow authors the opportunity to put their books in front of an audience of potential buyers after the solitary time spent writing and completing their books.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Your books cannot earn revenue if your books are not in print.



Over the years, museums, historical societies and cultural sites have published town histories, event books, documents, journals, meeting records and cookbooks.

While these printed books and documents serve to preserve history and to offer insight into past lives and events, they also represent an opportunity to create needed revenue for these institutions.

Now, however, many of these publications are either out-of-print or exist in very low quantities. And, if these books are not in print, they are not available for sale.

Today’s printing technology allows for these “old” and treasured books to be reprinted quickly and easily while permitting the printing of books for the very first time.

Digital printing provides the ability to scan pages of previously printed works and put them into digital image formats. A case in point was the reprinting of a book that was out-of-print for over fifteen years and has now resulted in sales of $1500 a year for one historical society.

Real-life nostalgia articles on "how it was back then" can be reformatted as books. Fragile and fading original documents can be preserved and protected, and their reprints utilized for museum and store displays or sold on-site at the gift shop or at special events. Books and documents can be printed as needed, in small quantities, ordered online with excess inventories stored and fulfilled by an outside vendor.  

Museums, historical societies and cultural sites can take the first step to uncovering overlooked and potentially valuable documents by conducting a thorough inventory of their books and documents to identify those that will be in demand and capable of generating additional revenue.

Summer and the tourist season are upon us. Now is the time to start preparing to generate revenue from books and documents that can easily and quickly be reprinted.

NetPublications Historical Publication Services

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking to better manage your printing budget?


Perhaps there is a better use for your money than investing in printed pieces that sit in inventory. Most likely they will be there for quite some time before eventually being discarded.

This is the likely occurrence when offset printing is chosen as the method to print books, journals, newsletters, brochures and assorted marketing pieces when only smaller quantities are required.

l        Since offset printing has high front-end costs, the per-unit cost can become expensive when short print runs are needed. Larger print runs can bring down the per-unit cost but could result in pieces that are not necessarily wanted. The result – printed pieces sitting in inventory that eventually become outdated.

l        Digital printing and “Print-on-Demand” eliminates such inventory and large upfront printing costs by removing the need to print thousands of pieces at a time, allowing you to print only the exact amount you need, when you need it.

l        Running on digital presses that can be set to print quickly, books and other printed materials can be available for next day or even same day delivery, assuring that they are where they need to be on a timely basis.

l        And, with short run printing, materials are “up-to-date” and more relevant as they can be updated regularly, on a more frequent basis, than mass-run items.

Budgets can be further maximized when variable data printing is used in direct mailing efforts. Variable data printing is a direct result of digital printing. Variable data printing enables the mass customization of documents as opposed to the 'mass-production' of a single document. Instead of producing 2,000 copies of a single document, delivering a single message to 2,000 customers, variable data printing could print 2,000 unique documents with customized messages for each customer.

As the costs to print increasingly rise and the objective is to maximize budgets, “Print-on-Demand” can help by eliminating expensive up-front costs, allowing efficient short-runs and printing only when needed, making large inventories obsolete.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Select a Binding for a Book

Not all book bindings are created equal. When considering a print project, it is important to be knowledgeable about the available options. There are three basic type of bindings utilized in book manufacturing - case, paper, and mechanical. The decision on what type of binding to use should be determined prior to a job being printed so that layout and design staff can make the proper accommodations.  
To guide in choosing a binding, the following factors should be taken into account: 
Trade and mass market paperback books (novels) generally use perfect binding, also referred to as adhesive or notch-bound binding.  This popular, soft-cover application uses paperboard or thick paper stock and involves gluing or adhering the text to the inside spine. With this type of binding, large quantities of books can be produced quickly, with lower costs, but the book cannot lie perfectly flat when open because the spines and covers are glued together. A perfect-bound book accommodates approximately 1500 pages. 

The most expensive (and durable) binding option is case binding. It results in a hard binding or hardcover book made from thick cardboard wrapped in cloth.  A trimmed book is bound by rigid boards (binder’s board, chipboard, pasted board) on each side and then glued directly into a spine.  A case-bound book is traditionally the most aesthetically-pleasing binding application, often used for coffee-table books, first-edition fiction, or collector’s editions of classics.  It accommodates about 1500 pages.

Mechanical Binding uses some type of mechanical device to hold pages together, typically with a type of snap-on mechanism, rod or ring.  Examples include:  
  • Saddle Stitching (Saddle Wiring) is commonly used for smaller documents, such as booklets or catalogs or magazines with no more than 70-90 pages and is stitched together with staples.  With this type of binding application, you cannot showcase the book on a shelf because there is no spine.
  • Plasticoil Binding or Coil Binding consists of a continuous, spring-shape, crush resistant material that allows a book to lie flat when open. It is appropriate for documents such as technical manuals, notebooks, and calendars. This type of binding is usually available in multiple colors.
  • Ring Binders are used for documents that will be assessed, photocopied, and updated frequently, such as a cookbook. Full color spines and covers can be printed for a professional presentation for a business. 
This video gives a brief overview of book binding.






Thursday, July 5, 2012

Metadata and Book Discoverability

The jury is out on metadata and the book trade with the verdict that more is more:  lots of metadata equals increased book sales

Metadata is a book's DNA-the descriptive characteristics that are specific to each book, such as title, ISBN, formats, publication date, and price.  These core items are the basics for getting a book discovered online, but are no longer sufficient in an increasingly crowded web community.  In order for a book to be found through search engines, which is how most consumers browse for books, it is now recommended that core metadata be enriched or enhanced to include page counts, related editions, awards, prizes, jacket blurbs, series, media mentions, interviews, and reviews.  This shift in thought is precipitated by a move to a more consumer-centric model of book selling; book data that was once reserved for dissemination to the trade (librarians, distributors, and retailers) is now being used to guide everyday readers about what books to buy.  Online consumers are savvy and sophisticated shoppers, and it is crucial to provide them with detailed and accurate information so that a book title can rank high in the search engines, get found, and be purchased. 

It is instructive to view good metadata as part of an overall digital book marketing strategy along with blogs, websites, and social media. The adage "content is king" aptly applies here and a book's metadata descriptors are an important part of that content mix. The more metadata and keyword-rich content an author or publisher can provide about a book title, the better.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Federal Government and Book Selling?


The lawsuit by the Federal government against Apple and some eBook publishers regarding eBook price fixing did not alter the upbeat mood of this year’s BEA (BookExpo America), but murmurs of conversation were detected reverberating through the cavernous halls of the Javits Center. The “comment period” on this eBook case expires on June 25.  So far, the Department of Justice has received over 150 letters totaling 200 pages, and expects more before the deadline. The initial agreement between Apple and five publishers allows the publishers to set the selling price of their books that are sold in the Apple store (agency model).  In return, Apple receives 30% of the sell price, which is a very nice piece of revenue.   In doing so, the publishers agreed not to sell their eBooks at a lower price elsewhere.  Amazon wants to set the prices for eBooks, even if it is at a loss.  So publishers are now faced with breaking their agreement with Apple, or not selling their eBooks on Amazon.

The Justice Department doesn’t seem to grasp that the publishing industry is in a state of major flux due to the Internet.  Publishers are fighting for survival and authors are selling their own materials online - eliminating the “middleman” distributor.  Amazon also has programs that help authors do this type of direct selling. So why not let the publishers figure out which model works the best for them?  Why do we need intervention by the Federal government regarding book distribution?  This viewpoint was echoed on June 7 in a complaint by Barnes & Noble, which stated that any settlement “would represent an unprecedented effort to “become a regulator of a nascent technology that it little understands.” Antitrust laws are based on the premise that government intervention is needed to ensure competition, but the market can determine that without the government’s help.  We just need to be patient and let the marketplace work things out for the publishing industry. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Print on Demand - What Is Means for Your Print Job

The basic concept of  print-on-demand or POD is that material is printed when there is a need for the material, thus eliminating inventory.  For the most part, POD is a very good system; it allows publishers to reduce the amount of money they have in inventory for items that are not being used.  Print-on-Demand also offers the flexibility of customization.  More generic materials can be easily adapted for a sales rep, region, or industry. In certain parts of the country, the term PQN (print quantity needed) is sometimes used to describe the same system.

Some businesses utilize print-on-demand  in conjunction with "micro-warehousing"  where quantities of materials are stored for immediate shipment and then monitored through computer software programs that keep inventory levels at a set point.  This ensures that there is sufficient quantities available to fulfill orders as they are placed.

Jobs that are produced in the POD process are not effected by quality; POD is more a business model for how that print job is managed. In most cases, due to the smaller quantities involved, digital printing technology is commonly used for print-on-demand, but there are some products and quantities that lend themselves to other types of printing processes.