Print-on-Demand Update May 2021

Print-on-Demand Update May 2021: There are a couple of things going on right now that are affecting POD releases, so I wanted to provide a quick overview of where things stand. This affects titles that haven’t been released as POD yet, rather than titles that are already available.

DriveThruRPG Cost Increase

Yesterday DriveThruRPG told publishers that print-on-demand costs will be increasing. This is something that I’ve been waiting for, honestly. The global supply chain has been disrupted for months by the pandemic and Brexit. Printers have been shut down as non-essential, or operated with minimal staff to comply with safety and social distancing measures, so they continue to be backlogged. It’s the same with any goods or services; when the demand is greater than the supply, the price goes up.

Mainly, I’ve been waiting to see how much the cost will go up before releasing any new titles. I needed to know how it was going to affect my bottom line, as well as product pricing (i.e. how much you pay for a book). The increases aren’t unreasonable, and I’ll be taking a small hit on my side.

tl:dr Dancing Lights Press price points will not increase. 

We’re Moving to a New Studio

Dancing Lights Press is moving to a new space. This is something I’ve been planning for several months, but the timing remained in question. I didn’t want to order proofs if I thought I was going to be somewhere else by the time they arrived. It already takes up to two months from the time I order a proof from the printer to the time I receive it. I didn’t want to add delays for forwarded mail to that already complicated mess.

tl:dr I’m not ordering any new proofs until we’re in the new place. 

Things Already in the Pipeline

Someone out there is yelling “but you said you ordered the proofs for [book] months ago, and it’s still not available as print-on-demand”. Yup. There are reasons for that. One is that I received the proof and realized that I screwed something up. It wasn’t right. I made the necessary correction on my side, but haven’t ordered new proofs for the reasons cited earlier.

The other is that the printer has upgraded their equipment. I don’t want to go into great detail about it, but the template I use to lay out POD books is apparently not compatible with new systems. This is inference, because I’ve never been able to get a straight answer. But some of the existing POD titles got taken down by the printer as having errors, and new books laid out using the same template as existing books look like dogpile. This has meant rebuilding a lot of POD files, which takes time.

Setting Expectations for Print-on-Demand

I’m working on it. I want to have all of the major best-selling titles available as POD by the end of the year. Once we’re moved, and I know the new files will pass muster with the printer, we’re back in business. Keep in mind that I’m aa one-person operation, so this will take some time. But I’m working on it, and want to get everything resolves as soon as possible.