Marlow books (was Childhood favourites)

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at
Mon Feb 17 12:35:47 EST 2003

On Sun, 16 Feb 2003 18:14:16 -0600, Margaret Ball wrote:

>> My sister (who has had several books published, mostly under her
>> maiden name) offered "Maker" to Antonia Forest's own publisher, but it 
>> was rejected because of "insufficient projected sales".
>You know, every five or ten years the publishing industry makes a big
>noise about how new computer technology is going to let them print books 
>on demand and then you'll be able to buy a copy of anything anybody has 
>ever put on disk.  Wouldn't it be nice if they actually DID it one of 
>these days?

The *printers* exist now, today.  Right now, there's printers that can print
one-off books relatively cheaply (cost between $6 and $8 per copy to
print--which is why they're around $10 or $12 purchase price).  The printers
are in the $100k range which is doable for a business lease.  In the next
year or so (the tech exists, but there's a patent issue) you'll see a
printer that can print a paperback (up to large trade-paper sized) in a
single process (i.e. including the cover, cutting, and binding) hit the
market and its price should also be in the $100k range.  Good stuff.

What I'm saying is that the hold up isn't the technology.  Even the
different formats aren't hard to reconcile because everything is electronic
and a matter of conversion even when there's differences.  The hold up is
copyright.  And author rights.  You see, it used to be that a publisher kept
the copyright until the book went "out of print" at which time the copyright
would revert back to the author.  Only now, with these printers that can
handle one-offs relatively economically, a book never really goes out of
print.  Which means that authors need to be sharper in negotiating when the
copyright reverts back to them.  And books signed under out-of-date
assumptions are going to have to work out how they're going to proceed now
that things have changed.

Jacob Proffitt

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