Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Publishing Evolution #82: Print on Demand

This module on the evolution of publishing will have three posts. Completing all three posts is worth 2 training hours. The module is available through April 30, 2010.

Web 2.0 has made the web a social extravaganza. Its impact on the world has transformed local town heroes into major phenomena through YouTube and Twitter. News travels faster than mainstream TV. And like all the major media industries, publishing has been altered exponentially. Now, any person can blog, write stories, and publish without the requirement of finding an agent or publishing house. The electronic readers have improved and access to their materials increases.

In this module, we will be looking at the changes in publishing, from online to self pub services.

Print on Demand

The stigma of self publishing slowly diminishes (but is not gone). Depending on each authors’ goals, there are several methods to transfer writing from words on a computer into a bound book. When the money to publish is invested by the author, it is called vanity press or self-publishing. With the progress of the Internet, vanity press also incorporates print-on-demand (POD). There’s no stock and no storage, but because printing happens when a book is requested, prices per copy tend to be higher. Yet, with the web technology, now every writer with a dream can be published. Learn more about print on demand from Writer Beware sponsored by Science Fiction Writers of America.

Some companies have been focused on self-publishing for years; the major players come down to Lulu, Xlibris, Author House, iUniverse, and Createspace (Amazon.com). Even Harris County Public Library carries self published materials through iUniverse, Author House, and Xlibris.


  1. Visit each of the websites listed above and see what they offer. Is it higher or the same as traditionally published books? Look at some of their published books. Have you read any of them? Would you?
  2. What do you think of self publishing? As a reader, do you prefer books that have gone through the traditional route and have the confidence of a company’s financial backing, or do you not care how the book got printed, you’re just glad it did?
This module is brought to you by Beth Krippel (ATA)

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