Drop in POD Prices Could be a Gamechanger
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.