Friday, October 04, 2013

Print on Demand takes on a new meaning

It's been busy over here in the flatlands, and with the fine weather that's continued to bless us, we've been doing quite a bit of 'boaty' work. Getting the barges, both big and small, prepped for surviving the rigours of winter is quite a job as I've explained in earlier posts. This is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging so much lately. Another is that I've been busy finishing the sequel to Watery Ways while there's a lull in my studies. Waiting for results can be nerve-wracking so immersion in another kind of writing is nicely therapeutic.

In between all this, I've been in communication with a number of people about promoting my books. On 24 September, DutchBuzz radio in the Hague aired a short interview I did with them in July about Watery Ways. It was great to meet Lily-Anne Stroobach, the programme's producer. We had a wonderful time talking about all sorts of things that were not relevant to the interview, because she is a South African and so we had a lot in common. The link to the podcast of the interview is in my sidebar here if anyone interested.

My other upcoming event is still in the planning stages, and this is a book presentation at ABC Treehut in Den Haag. I went to see them to talk about what we could do together a couple of weeks ago, and I met the charming and kind Agnes, who will help me organise things. I also met a lovely gentleman by the name of Jo who was commissioned with demonstrating their fantastic express printing machine.
Jo, standing with justifiable pride before express printing machine

I'd heard about it via DutchBuzz, but I'd never seen anything like it before. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an instant print-on-demand process. If you have written a book, you can take the file to Jo at ABC and have it printed, bound and trimmed in a matter of a few minutes. The results are excellent: very professional and very good quality. The other almost magical feature of the machine is that you can watch it all happening. The casing is glass (or maybe perspex) so the processes are visible. I loved watching it and I could get very excited indeed about using this printer as well. Imagine how quick it would be to get proof copies of a book for sending out to publishers or Beta readers?

The marvellous thing is that you can see what is happening
as the book is being printed.
I am hoping to incorporate a demonstration of the machine into my presentation. I can either offer guests a signed copy of African Ways hot off the press, or use it to demonstrate the printing of first proof copies of Harbour Ways. In any event, I think it's a fabulous concept and a very welcome addition to the POD possibilities.


  1. A very interesting post.
    I understand that many big publishers now use print on demand instead of commissioning second print runs.

  2. I love that machine.What great fun it would be be working it. It seems work on a barge is never done, a bit like a house,we have so many jobs to do this week end it's making me tired thinking about.I'll need to listen to the podcast.

  3. Good point, Christina. That's probably the case! I think for small publishers POD is the norm these days, isn't it? That's what ABC told me in any event, but that maybe because in the Netherlands, the total market is only a little bigger than the population of Greater London!

    Anne, it was just fantastic to watch! I know the feeling about the work too…yes, the thinking makes me tired as well :)

  4. what a fantastic machine! Here in England we have to use people like Createspace or Lulu, and it takes weeks to get the book, but hey, at least we can DIY, which is progress.
    I am really enjoying Watery Ways Val, so much so that I am there in spirit. I can help with scrubbing the hull...

  5. Oh what fun - a machine like that! (It would bring out the child in me - I'd want to feed it paper for hours and watch it digesting into a real book - trouble is, I'd probably write rubbish just to enjoy the process and and up with a pile of (what comes out at the digestive end ...)

  6. Anita, thank you so much for your kind words about Watery Ways! I also use, but this machine offers great new opportunities, doesn't it?

    Jo, you and me both…haha…I could watch it for hours! And end up writing nothing because of wasting time watching it print everyone else's stuff :-)

  7. Oooh how nice to get a copy that fast!!! I know some people are snotty about POD but it makes sense..and stops the wasteful pulping of big print runs that don't sell!!After all, we buy bread on demand....

  8. You've been a busy woman! How cool you got to see that book printer in action :)

  9. Carol and Carol, that's lovely! Thanks to both of you. It is a very cool machine. Just as well I don't live too close to it or I'd become a printing addict!

  10. I've never seen anything like the POD before. I agree with Carol about actually being able to view the whole process! Best of luck with the rest of your sequel Val!


  11. I'm all for anything which is about printed books as opposed to downloads - I'm not against digital but I love books and if this helps to keep them alive and available then it's great!

  12. Julie, the print on demand business is growing. It's better even for small publishers who can just have the books printed when they've been ordered., but this brings it to a more individual level again!

    Chris, I agree fully. I do now have a Kindle, but will always buy a print copy of a book I want to keep, even if I've read it on Kindle first!

  13. I'd love to see that, it would be fascinating. Print on demand - I'm now thinking drive through book shop - that's an idea!! You have certainly been busy so thank you for your lovely comment about Scarlett Rose xxx

  14. Haha, Fran. I like that idea! Like McDonalds. Give them your memory stick with your book on it at one window, go to the next window and get your book! Lovely! Give Scarlett Rose a kiss for me! xx

  15. What a fantastic idea. This is the future, isn't it. How very interesting!

    Congrats on the interview and I am sure that you will have a brilliant time at your event... look forward to hearing more in due course.

  16. Hi Val .. I've seen these around on blogs etc, but not actually working ... interesting to see your book coming out as a book.

    Great idea for small print runs ...

    There's a publishing house here that does POD for people - mostly academic works and I spent some time investigating for a cousin of my mother's who is in Canada ... she went in other directions ..not sure that was right - but we'll find out in due course, or not as the case may be!

    They hold the books on a file format and then when someone orders they do the fulfilment and take a commission ... it seemed reasonable and they were professional.

    There are opportunities out there .. good luck with your exams, and then the ongoing writing ..

    well done on doing the radio interview too ...

    Cheers Hilary


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