I’m rarely a fan of self-publishing. While it’s perfectly possible to make some solid money by arranging to publish a book on your own, that just isn’t what happens in most cases. Most of the time, authors wind up shelling out a lot of cash and time on a project they just can’t make money on. Most days, I don’t think that there’s a way to go about selling a book less practically than vanity publishers.
Turns out I was wrong.
Last week, I came across an article titled “Print and Bind Your Own Book – 7 Reasons Why This is the Best Solution.” The idea behind the article is that you can print out the pages of a book yourself (or having a copy shop run off multiple copies), bind them yourself and then sell them.
No offense to the writer, but after following a link to his website (where he sells ebooks on book-binding), I remain certain that binding books yourself really is taking self-publishing a step too far.
The article suggests that book-binding is inexpensive in terms of both supplies and times. Sure, printer paper is cheap… but there’s a reason that publishing companies don’t run off their books on the office’s laser printer. It doesn’t hold up in a book. And the thought that it will only take two minutes to bind a book is something I find absolutely less than realistic — maybe if you’ve been doing it a long time and you aren’t concerned about quality. We’re definitely not talking about a book that will be read, bent back and abused over the course of months, if not years.
Worse, such a book is incredibly hard to sell. With enough time, it’s possible to turn out a quality product, but it’s not a book that can be listed on Amazon unless you buy an ISBN and go through a lot of hoops. At least most vanity publishers will handle all those hoops for a writer who has paid his or her fees.
Book-binding can be a fun hobby — my husband is just one practitioner. But there’s a reason that we rely on mechanized productions for commercial products. A book you bind yourself just can’t keep up.