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Re: Self-published best-sellers?

I thought the replies to some of these posts might be helpful to the list-

"Zack, could you please elaborate on what you consider as a "digital
printing press in quantities as low as 10"? Are you referring to Docutech,
which is a souped-up version photocopier? "

The digital press is a Docutech 6135- Color will be produced on a Xeikon
Engine. These are both true digital presses while photocopiers are analog.

"I would think that at a quantity
of 10, your unit cost would be phenomenal."

Unit cost is an interesting thing- if you look at the traditional publishing
model here's the breakdown-

25.00 casebound book 300 pages, 6x9. qty. of 10,000 - (These figures for
conventional offset)
Author                                  - 2.50          10%
Printer/Binder          - 2.50          10%
Publisher                               - 7.50          30%
Distribution/Sales      - 12.50 50%

The problem with the model is that the publisher has all unsold books
returned by the bookstores. The numbers are of course different for perfect
bound paperback, but the percentages are close. My daughter just bought a
copy of "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury in paperback for $14.00. Why are
they charging $14.00 for paperback? It was printed digitally, probably in a
run of 1000, and the price reflects their higher unit cost.

The company we are starting will basically have 2 levels of involvement in

1)To take a manuscript or word file, format the file to a 6x9 layout, use one
of 20 or so cover designs in color, print the initial 10 books, and maintain
the digital file for hopefully larger reprints(100 to 1000). The initial
outlay under this scenario would probably be about $350 depending on options.
Reprints woud be in the $7-9 range depending on volume.

2) To take a completely typeset book  and color cover in digital file format
from the author- Costs for the first 10 perfect bound books with color cover
would be about $150 dollars. Reprints would be in the $7-9 range depending on

"I am a small self-publisher specializing in art and design sourcebooks and
although I would like to do conventional, ie. quality, printing, the
initial cost outlay has prevented me from making much headway."

We printed some reproductions of manuals for the Monotype Museum in England
on the Docutech with a high quality offset sheet. The quality on text when
produced by a good operator is as good as the average offset job. Halftones
are comparable up to the the 133 line range.
This project would never have been produced conventionally because the total
world demand for this book is around 50 copies.

"I have printed some books at Kinko's on the best quality paper they had
just to get some prototypes in order to do advance sales, but the books run
me about $10 apiece. There is still the problem of printing colour on the
covers. Even colour copies affixed to the covers cost me more than I really
want to pay. The whole operation is neither cost-efficient nor visually
effective. But it does for now."

Our books will be perfect bound with color covers (with lay flat laminate if
needed). This will be cost effective for the self publishing author, but not
under the conventional retail model. If the book has the volume and needs to
fit that model, we will print it conventioanlly.

I'd like to know more about your plans. Where are you located?

I live in Nashville. My partners are in 2 other cities, and the web site we
are developing will be hosted in a fourth city. Virtual companies are the

Sorry to ramble on forever-


Zack Hamric

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