Morris Rosenthal, one of the leaders in the print-on-demand business model for self-publishers, has written a very thought provoking post on his self-publishing blog about the POD business model he helped foster and promote. Rosenthal's piece, The Decade of POD Publishing Gives Way to eBooks, is a summary of his latest thinking about the world of self-publishing.
In February of this year I wrote a less insightful post, Does POD Still Have a Place in Self-Publishing, that poses the same question Mr. Rosenthal is attempting to answer.
Technology has certainly changed how we consume our reading material and readers seem to be embracing the new ereader devices. This past Christmas season Amazon's Kindle was the most gifted item from retailers.
While the Kindle (and Nook) boom is great for authors who self-publish due to the increased access to readers and ability to experiment with pricing for best results, what place does paper edition books occupy in a business plan for a self-publishing author?
Just 18 months ago if I had been asked should an author bring out an ebook edition I would have responded with an unequivocal yes, but after the print version. Now I would advise either a simultaneous release or the release of the ebook version first. Some experts, which I am not, are starting to advocate releasing the ebook version and waiting to see if there is demand for the POD version.
For now, the type of non-fiction books I write are best served, for the most part, with paperback editions due to the graphics and photographs. Ebooks simply are not quite as good yet as traditional paper books in this area, though the technology is improving in leaps and bounds. Once the technology catches up, I am fairly certain I will follow the trend of ebook first and POD later, if ever.
For now, every author probably has a different experience, based on genre and type of interior the book has or must have. Do what fits your business model the best and will generate the most sales or the highest level of revenue.
At any rate, read what Morris has to say about the subject. It will make you think about the future of your self-publishing business.