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  1. #1
    Eric George
    Guest

    Lightning Source

    I was browsing the Lightning Source site the other day. It is a part of the industry that I know nothing about.

    From their blurb, I understand that they are trying to displace the conventional print run. They say they are printing 120,000 books per week on a POD system and normally respond to orders within one or two days. If this is true, why would anyone want to warehouse books? Much better to print them as the small orders from bookshops dribble in, and send them out on a non-return basis.

    Is this the future? If so, the publishers will no longer have to figure in the cost of an initial print run, just promotional copies. Printing costs can simply be expensed. I wonder what effect it will have on us. If any.



  2. #2
    Ron Starkey
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    Eric,

    I think it is ONE future (and one present, for that matter) for publishing. POD quality is getting better, and the lack of need to warehouse a quantity of books is the main allure behind it. That and the fact that initial setup costs are much less than traditional offset printing have made it a growing source of published material. POD enables a book to be published without the usual tens of thousands of dollars required to bring it to press, which has sparked a surge in the self-publishing area. Traditional publishers even use POD at times, but offset printing is still the norm and will be for some time, I imagine.

    The reason for this is that POD costs per book are higher, so the book either has to be priced higher or the publisher has to take a smaller profit (and their profit margins aren't grand as it is). Because of this, books being printed in large quantities will not be done POD unless that's the only way they were set up.

    So, if your blockbuster bestseller is to see the light of day, let's hope it comes from an offset printing press and not POD. That will mean its first print run is large and its price is competitive. Bookstores, as a rule, don't tend to carry POD titles, either, for a variety of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the actual book itself (that is the writing), so that's another reason we want yours to come to the market through traditional avenues.

    All the best and good luck with your writing.

    Ron

  3. #3
    Robert Raven
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    Eric,

    Do the math.

    RR

  4. #4
    Eric George
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    I can't do the math...

    On one hand you have printing and inventory costs, plus inevitable returns problems plus major risk.

    On the other you have a higher production cost but no money tied up from your initial print run plus no inventory cost. Returns might be renegotiated in the new system. The only money at risk is your investment in marketing.

    All of these costs will vary from publisher to publisher.

    I can imagine the situation where only the John Grishams of this world get large print runs. Everyone else will be either POD or at least a combination of conventional and POD.

    One obvious plus is that there will be no need to make a decision on a second print run for marginally successful books - once the rush is over everything else can be POD. And - most important - books will not go out of print. They can remain on the publisher's catalogue for ever, selling a few copies per year.

    The difference in cost for conventional and POD production will inevitably diminish as the POD system and equipment is refined. As long as the presses can be kept rolling, the only difference will be the continual changing of the data input - and I don't know how that is developing.

  5. #5
    Gopher Gold
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    Eric,

    One advocate of POD printed books who uses Lightning Source directly (and quite successfully)can be found on this site:

    www.fonerbooks.com

    He also has a lot of detailed info on how the pricing system of POD's can work to your benefit, too lengthy to describe here.

    But the cons of this method can include poor quality cover production and interior design; and very small capability of interior graphics and photos

  6. #6
    Gridley Scmidlap
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    It's pretty obvious Eric has drunk the Kool-Aid and nothing will sway him from POD triumphalism. Reality never gets in the way.

  7. #7
    Kim Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    I believe we have to ask ourselves here, had digital printing technology(POD)been available prior to the traditional long run method, would its viability be questioned at all?

    I think not.

    To eschew POD, is comparable to one insisting on using a standard typewriter today. Or, sending every message through the post office instead of by email.

    In fact, if this line of thinking had prevailed a hundred years ago, we would still be travelling by stage coach. ;-)

  8. #8
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    The probability is that print-on-demand techniques will improve to the point that they will overtake print-run technology altogether--in both quality and cost effectiveness. Print-run technology has already absorbed electronic plate making.

  9. #9
    Kim Richardson
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    Agreed. And this will revolutionize the publishing industry as we know it, and level the playing field for all writers.

  10. #10
    Zig Jaques
    Guest

    Re: Lightning Source

    Well that may be, but most experts disagree. As it stands the technology is just a photocopier.

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