Drop in POD Prices Could be a Gamechanger

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Gutenberg's POD: prohibitively expensive

LightningSource Inc., a subsidiary of Ingram, has been E-Reads’ POD printer of choice since our founding in 2000. And because – through no fault of LSI’s – the high cost of on-demand printing has prevented the process from achieving its full commercial potential, our hearts beat a little faster when LSI announced in Publishers Weekly a number of initiatives suggesting POD prices could come down.

From the outset of the Digital Era, we have made our titles available in print on demand and steadfastly predicted that POD will become the principal means by which most books are distributed (See A World Without Inventory, Part 1 and Part 2).

However, progress has been compromised by the high cost of on-demand printing is a one-copy-at-a-time process, as opposed to traditional press runs. As with any form of individualized manufacture, the price per unit is very high. Where a 5,000 copy print run of a typical novel might cost $.50 or $1.00 per copy, a POD of the same book might cost upwards of $5.00. The result is 300-page trade paperbacks that cost $20.00 compared to $12.00 or $15.00 for that book produced as part of a long print-run.

In essence, Ingram has licensed print technology developed by the German company EPAC, and acquired two EPAC printing plants. “Incorporating the use of EPAC technology is expected to increase the number of copies Lightning can print cost-effectively,” PW reports. Ingram Content Group chairman called the EPAC print technology “groundbreaking. With our years of print experience, Ingram will take the promise of print-on-demand to the next level.”

We look forward to standing beside LSI when it happens.

Details in Ingram Acquires Two EPAC Plants, Licenses POD Technology.

Richard Curtis

Expert Publishing Blog
Richard Curtis

About Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis is a leading New York literary agent (www.curtisagency.com) who foresaw the Digital Book Revolution and launched an e-book publishing company early in 2000. E-Reads (www.ereads.com) is one of the foremost independent e-book publishers in the industry, specializing in reprints of genre fiction by leading authors in their fields. Curtis is also a well-known authors advocate, author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction including several books about the publishing industry, and prolific blogger – see his hundreds of other blog posts here.

2 thoughts on “Drop in POD Prices Could be a Gamechanger

  1. Peter Turner

    Interesting post. One thing that Mr. Curtis is perhaps misstating is the relative cost of a POD book versus traditional offset. While the printing costs are profoundly different, the supply chain (warehouses, freight, returns, wastage, etc.) have not ever been serious estimated. Comparing POD print costs vs.offset printing costs are apples and oranges. As eBooks eat up some significant percentage of the print market, I would look to some publishers abandoning the supply chains for what may be attractive POD model.

  2. Matt Gersper

    Great article. I am interested in a print of demand source for my book, The Belief Road Map. Can you recommend a company and contact person?

    Matt Gersper



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