Taking Self-Publishing A Step Too Far

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.

Photo Credit — xxrobot


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  2. Amy   •  

    I can’t imagine having to create my own books from scratch. It’s hard enough work getting one written in the first place. It could be fun if it is a particular hobby of the writer, but otherwise it sounds like time that should be invested in writing.

  3. thursday   •     Author

    @Amy, I totally agree. Spending time that could be spent on your next book gluing together books instead just seems to imply that someone has already sniffed a bit too much glue.

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  5. Gabriel Gadfly   •  

    The only thing I could see this being useful for would be as a short-term promotion effort. Print a few short stories or poems, bind them together, and give them away free, with the url or address on your title page where people can find more of your stuff.

    I can’t believe anyone would actually try to sell these for profit, but then, some people are stupid.

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