A POD Case History:
The Nitty-Gritty of Costs and Sales Channels

July 2003
by Morris Rosenthal

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I recently signed up with Lightning Source for my first POD book, Start Your Own Computer Business. It’s a short book, only 168 pages, and each copy costs me $3.42 as a short run (one or more copies, shipped to the publisher) or $3.09 as sold into distribution (to Amazon or Ingram). While a copy could have cost less than a dollar from an offset printer in quantity, these sales into distribution are completely hands-off. I just cash the checks.

So why did I choose the POD route? Not to avoid the sunk costs of carrying inventory, though that doesn’t hurt. The three reasons I signed up with Lightning Source were: (1) Access to Ingram distribution, (2) short discounts, and (3) the savings on shipping and handling from not having to take delivery of books sold to Ingram and Amazon. Because barnes&noble.com and other retailers order from Ingram, the only books I handle are the direct retail sales I choose to make.

Between direct sales and distribution, I sold approximately 300 copies within the first four months.

Doing the Numbers with Discounts

The discount that Ingram normally requires from publishers is 55% of cover
price–assuming, of course, that you have enough titles in print for Ingram
to accept you. However, Ingram carries books from its Lightning Source subsidiary on a “short-discount” basis, allowing discounts as low as 25% (any lower and they’ll re-sticker the book with a higher price). While…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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