The POD in the Shadows

Peas in a Pod by photobunny_earl via
Peas in a Pod by photobunny_earl via

Print on Demand POD publishing gained a new degree of legitimacy and recognition on 23rd August 2010 when Publishers Weekly announced a new feature service PW Select: A Quarterly Service for the Self-Published.

In recognition of the boom in self-publishing and as an acknowledgment that valuable works are being published outside traditional publishing, PW is giving self-published authors a chance to present their titles to the publishing trade. Call it what you will–self-published, DIY, POD, author-financed, micro-titles, or relationship publishing–the phenomenon is upending the publishing world.

Our readership–agents, booksellers, publishers, distributors, librarians, and media–constitute the ideal audience, always on the alert for new talent, worthwhile books, and marketable products, and the PW Select Announcements issue is poised to both take notice in the publication of such books and to select titles for review.

A ‘processing fee’ of US$149 including 6-month subscription to the digital edition of Publishers Weekly, valued at approximately US$97.50 entitles an author to a listing of their book – “title, author, illustrator where applicable, pagination, price, format, ISBN, and a description of the book’s contents“.

This listing is included in the “PW Select” supplement, and online database. In addition, each quarter a minimum of 25 of the books listed will be reviewed in the supplement.

Writer's Market 2011The PW Select supplement is expected to contain news and features about the self-publishing world, the important players, and interviews with self-published authors.

By making this move, Publishers Weekly raises the bar for Self Published authors, and blurs the distinction between Self Published Books and “Proper Books”.

Only time will tell whether PW Select is read by those who move in the world of Proper Books or just stays within the POD world as part of the Vanity Publishing money mill.

Version one of the future includes Proper Book publishers reading this new supplement, considering the reviews, and approaching the authors. A retailer or two may do something after reading the supplement, but the whole sale-or-return problem with Print on Demand publishing rears its head there.

Version two of the future includes Publishing Weekly just milking the POD authors for their US$149, for which they receive their name and title in the trade press albeit a supplementary annex to the trade press, in an extension of the pay-to-play Vanity Press model.

Only time will tell.

jon m wilson Written by:

As half of the team behind, I am a serial starter of things, beginner of projects. I work in bits and in bytes, in words and paragraphs; I work in wood, metal, and paper, in fabric and in leather; I work in fits and in starts. Most of all I work intermittently and inconsistently.

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