The Challenge of Publishing On Demand

February 1997
by W. Paul Coates

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Last year, Black Classic Press took a giant leap of faith. We acquired an On
Demand Publishing system and began shifting our production methods in order
to take advantage of supposed lower inventory costs, less waste, and more
specialized production of our books.

A little background. Black Classic Press was founded in 1978 with the
mission of bringing to light obscure and significant books by and about
people of African descent. We were well ahead of the recent interest in Black
authors. Consequently, we’ve gained a legion of followers, and over the
years, we’ve published and kept in print about 60 titles.

A few years ago, we began to experience problems. Locked into an expensive
system of distribution, we were selling more and more books and receiving
less and less profit. Then our distributor went belly up. Instead of sinking
us, Inland’s bankruptcy served as a wake-up call. It became very clear that
reaching our readership through middleman distributors was okay, but this
method could and should not be our only means of selling books. Besides many
of the books that we wanted to add to our list were obscure enough that they
would languish on bookstore shelves and in distributors’ warehouses. Taking
these factors into consideration, On Demand Publishing became a viable
option, not at first, but after deep thought and much reflection.

First there was the issue of the cost of obtaining the best On Demand
Publishing system available, the Xerox DocuTech 135. It comes w…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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