If you are a self publisher, or interested in just putting a few of your own books out there using a Print on Demand service, you must read this post.

Looking to avoid The Man? Want to go your own way and own the whole enchilada? When you sign on with a POD service, you’re just signing on with another The Man.

Some months ago, I posted this (very well trafficked) info on iUniverse and their business practices. If you have not already read it, you should. Here’s a sample:

iUniverse charges you $699 to tell booksellers they can return your book if it doesn’t sell.

Returnable books is standard in publishing, except for the comic book direct sale market. Why on earth anyone would charge you $699 for this service I cannot fathom.

Except they want to make a buck from your ignorance.

First off, you guys gotta realize that once booksellers see your book coming from iUniverse, they know it is self published and are far less likely to stock it. Booksellers know Vanity Press when they see it. OK? Let’s just get that out of the way right now.

Scour the shelves of any retail bookstore outside the direct market, and I defy you to find five copies of anything self published. I’m not saying it never happens, I am saying it is sort of like, I dunno, having a meteor hit your house.

Now author Tracy L. Darity has posted an extremely important overview of the Print on Demand service and their biggest scam: outsourcing work, allowing other printers to handle your book. With no payments to you. Especially if the printer is selling the book as “used”.

Read the whole thing.

Although the on-line agreement has a clause indicating they can allow any third party to assist with fulfillment, the truth is only books I order are fulfilled by them. It appears all other orders i.e. a physical bookstore or on-line seller; the book is most likely printed by a third party source. It is then up to that TPS to notify the POD that they have generated a book. There are two huge problems with this arrangement: 1) if the company printing the book never notifies the original POD, the author will never get paid because there are no checks and balances currently in place to track the activity. 2) The printer, at their discretion, can alter the format of the book. By alter, they can change the physical size, reduce the font size, use a poorer quality paper, or choose not to coat the cover.