Monday, June 19, 2006

Options for OP books: e-Books and Print-On-Demand

Dimitri posted today about a need for more electronic book sites. With the ready availability of print-on-demand at fairly reasonable prices, I am not certain that just offering e-books alone is a very good solution to getting scarce books back into general availability. POD, in combination with an author website similar to Fred Ray's (which provides abundant information about the book and extras not able to be incorporated in the printed book), seems to me to be a good way to get wonderful books back into circulation. Unlike the retail version, my hardback review copy of Ray's book was a high quality POD, a great example of what can be done.

Although I am of the generation that's been using computers since grade school, my comfort with electronic media does not extent to wanting to read books off of a computer screen for pleasure. Choice is wonderful, and a POD publisher like Lulu-- which came to my attention as the print partner of Twin Commonwealth Publishers-- offers both printed and e-book versions (with the electronic files price discounted). Here's an example of a Civil War offering, with both print and electronic options.


  1. I agree, Drew. Reading books on line is not my idea of a good time, BUT it sure is convenient if you want to use it for reference. Many of those old books don't have indexes, and the ones they do have aren't very good. I've gotten very frustrated with some of them, wishing I could do a FIND for a certain date or name. Electronic files are also much easier to store.

    As for the POD quality, yeah I was pleasantly surprised also, altho the graphics remain marginal. It's come a long ways in he last 4-5 years, tho.

    Also fully agree that authors should integrate a web site with the book, since you can incorporate a lot of source material and add new research.

    I'm looking at doing an old illustrated book, THE SOLDIER IN OUR CIVIL WAR, on CD, but haven't had a chance to finish it.

    Fred Ray

  2. If done inexpensively, I agree that e-books are a good option for research and reference materials (esp. with the search capability).


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