I Missed This; Did You?

I try to say on top of publishing industry news, both for the Christian market as well as for the general book publishing market. I say I try, because every once in a while, something slips by unnoticed.

Something fairly big happened in the publishing world in September and I was completely oblivious to it until just recently. Either I have been extremely obtuse, or this company has not done a good job of marketing their new program. Of course, I like to think it is the latter.

Print on Demand (POD) publishing has become very popular due to the low investment cost in publishing a book. Ingram was the first to see the large potential in POD publishing and created Lightning Source Inc. for publishers to place books into Ingram’s distribution channel on a POD basis. Amazon.com followed Ingram’s lead and created BookSurge for publishers wishing to have their books available for sale on Amazon.com via POD.

In September of this year, Baker & Taylor launched their own POD service for publishers. This service, called TextStream, is Baker & Taylor’s version of Lightning Source.

Small publishers know that Baker & Taylor does not stock titles that do not have sufficient demand. For publishers of titles with sales that do not meet Baker & Taylor’s threshold, Baker & Taylor will place your book in their system as orderable. Then when they receive an order for your book, either from a retailer or a librarian, they will send you a purchase order. You, the small publisher, process the order and ship Baker & Taylor the ordered book, who in turn ships the book to the retailer or librarian.

What ends up happening in this scenario is that the small publisher has much of their profit eaten away by shipping costs. It is more costly to make 10 separate shipments of a book then to just ship one set of 10 books.

Enter TextStream. Now small publishers can place their titles in TextStream and when an order comes in for the title, Baker & Taylor has TextStream print the book and then ships it directly to the retailer or librarian. This is much easier for the small publisher who no longer has to deal with purchase orders trickling in and numerous trips to the post office. It also saves money, putting more profit in the small publishers’ pockets.

Did you miss this news or was it just me?

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