Friday, 23 July 2010

Printed publications for your business

My publishers Oaksys Tech (OTL) agreed to publish my book series because they were interested in having the capability to print manuals for their clients. There were a variety situations where they have found this useful. Their business is the design, creation and operations of financial market trading floors and data centres. During such projects OTL are often asked to produce formal printed operational manuals, training material and procedure manuals. There has also been a requirement to produce documentation for Business Continuity Planning (BCP). The usual response, depending on the client, was to produce photocopied binders and/or electronic documents such as pdf files either on a CD or on an Intranet Web Site. 
The principals of OTL decided that in some circumstances there was a strong business case for a properly printed and bound book. Typically this was when there would be a wide range of geographically dispersed recipients, such as in branch offices of banks and insurance companies. It is further characterised by the need to have the potential to supply high volumes at short notice to dispersed locations to a closed community.
After some investigation OTL have settled on two suppliers for printed book production. These are Lightning Source and Lulu.  Lulu is targeted more at the low end market, it is easy to use and has zero set up cost other than an implied commitment to buy a proof print of the publication. For small runs is ideal. However its print cost per page is higher than Lightning Source. Lightning Source has a much commercial/industrial feel to its business operations and they do charge set up fees which total around £100 (GBP) per publication and the publisher is expected to stand on their own two feet when preparing print ready material. Print costs are around a penny per page for black and white. There are a range of book binding options. In the end the choice of printing company comes down to the size of the print run and the physical size of the book you want to produce.  You can use both Lightning Source and Lulu to provide distribution of the printed books at a reasonable cost; you don't have to hold stocks of the books in a warehouse or store room as they both operate a print on demand business model.

If you want to sell the publication both suppliers have arrangements where the large book vendors order direct from the printer without the need for intervention by the publisher. The printers pay you the difference of the wholesale price less the the print (and distribution) costs.


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