POD: what was ‘weird’ and scorned has become the new ‘mainstream’

Back in 1995, when I launched Trafford Publishing as a service to publish books and business documents for government agencies, businesses and individual authors, nearly everyone in the book industry scoffed at the idea of print-on-demand [POD] publishing. The concept was looked upon as either not feasible, or improper, or both. Funny how life moves on, eh? Today, some 14 years later, Bowker (who keep the Books-in-Print database and assign ISBNs in the US) announced a major milestone: for 2008, new POD titles surpassed new non-POD titles. Below is their media release — and note that Bowker still hasn’t got its own head around the new reality, and are separating new titles into “books” and “On Demand and short-run books”, as if the former term wasn’t inclusive of the latter term. Those elitist sentiments take a long time to die out (maybe it will take another 14 years?).

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — (Marketwire) — 05/19/09 — Bowker, the global leader in bibliographic information management solutions, today released statistics on U.S. book publishing for 2008, compiled from its Books In Print® database. Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker is projecting that U.S. title output in 2008 decreased by 3.2%, with 275,232 new titles and editions, down from the 284,370 that were published in 2007.

Despite this decline in traditional book publishing, there was another extraordinary year of growth in the reported number of “On Demand” and short-run books produced in 2008. Bowker projects that 285,394 On Demand books were produced last year, a staggering 132% increase over last year’s final total of 123,276 titles. This is the second consecutive year of triple-digit growth in the On Demand segment, which in 2008 was 462% above levels seen as recently as 2006.

thanks, cheers,

Bruce

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