Goa firm launches print-on-demand option for authors

By Frederick Noronha, IANS

Panaji : A firm here has launched a cheap and hassle-free online publishing service which allows people to create their books themselves and on their own terms.

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CinnamonTeal Print & Publishing Services have started what they claim is India’s first Print-On-Demand (POD) service.

This service allows authors to publish their books, one copy at a time, thus eliminating upfront publishing costs and the need for maintaining a large inventory of books.

The costs per book work out to be higher than bulk printing costs, but there is a saving since there is no need for bulk printing or huge stock of unsold books under this process.

Popularised the world over by ventures such as the internet-based lulu.com and createspace.com, POD is essentially a service for authors whose books target niche audiences and hence must be published in small quantities.

“Such books may range from a compilation of your mother’s recipes to your research reports to corporate manuals,” CinnamonTeal’s Leonard Fernandes told IANS.

Authors submit a completed manuscript to CinnamonTeal by e-mail or post. Pre-publishing services such as copyediting and proofreading are also provided for a fee.

Upon submission of the completed manuscript, the book is immediately available listed for sale on dogearsetc.com, an online bookstore.

Authors can decide the price for their book depending on the amount they wish to earn per book. Once an order is placed for a book, it is printed and bound and dispatched to the customer. Authors control the contents of the book and retain the rights to the book.

Leonard and Quenie Fernandes, who started the cinnamontealbooks.com venture, told IANS they felt India’s culture and linguistic diversity was well suited for such services, catering to very small, niche audiences.

“In the traditional publishing industry, many authors are rejected because publishers feel that the manuscripts will not sell in requisite volumes and those that do get selected have to make do with small percentages of the selling price as revenues,” said Leonard.

CinnamonTeal, he said, will “plug this gap” by offering authors the opportunity to have their books published on the “authors’ own terms”. He said their format could also help traditional publishers keep their backlists in print.

“The experience so far has been positive. There have been no enquiries for novels but most of the projects underway are for newsletters and journals by educational institutions and NGOs. There have been a couple of books of poetry,” Leonard said.

The duo believes that writers who they could net include translators, authors with niche appeal, creators of business presentations, college theses or project reports, first-time authors and companies seeking to publish in-house documentation.

They are also targeting authors of travelogues, cookery books, weekly columns and other compilations.

“This idea exists abroad, lulu.com being its largest proponent. However, we felt that it had a lot of scope for application in India, given its diverse demography. With so many languages and so many dialects, books that appeal to a small minority can be published,” said Fernandes.