Way too many books in 2005


According to Henry Kisor at The Chicago Sun Times Too many new books seem to be trying to catch the eyes of a dwindling number of buyers. Almost 200,000 new titles appeared in 2004, according to the latest count, a 14 percent jump from 2003. A quarter of those titles came from vanity presses and "print on demand" subsidy publishers, leaving nearly 150,000 from legit-- er, traditional publishing houses.


First off, Kisor should know that PoD publishers are not subsidy publishers. They're self-publishing enablers, and that's quite different. With subsidy publishers, the author pays a fee ("subsidy") so that the book will be published in traditional form, hoping that royalties will make up for the subsidy. The difference between subsidy and vanity publishing is tricky...

With PoD, at least with the cleanest PoD arrangements, the author pays either nothing or stated processing or editing fees and the book is produced only as sold. Sure, there are mixtures--PoD publishers who claim lots of marketing prowess and charge pretty substantial up-front fees--but PoD and subsidy publishing are two different models.

Then again, this critic repeats the usual misinformation about Google Book Search that the publishers keep repeating, "Google announced its grand plan to scan just about everything in libraries everywhere and make all this information readily accessible online." Which, of course, Google didn't do and doesn't plan to do. But hey, it makes a good story and puts the critic on the publishers' side, so...