A Snarkling wants to count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin:
If you sold over 1,000 copies of your iUniverse book, would it be considered a real publishing credit, or would it pretty much still be regarded as a funny paper?
Let's start with some hard truths: most books-80%- published by iUniverse and their ilk, sell fewer than 200 copies. (Hello Aunt Gertrude? Wanna buy a book?)
Less than 1% sell more than 1000 copies.
Xlibris published 10,269 titles through March 25, 2004. (emphasis mine)
352 or 3.4% had sold more than 500 copies.
1,463 or 14.3% had sold more than 200 copies.
The average per-publication sale number of an Xlibris title is about 130 copies.
source: --The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2004. via DanPoynter's site Thanks Dan!
My gripe with POD publishing is not that it doesn't sell, (it doesn't) it's that most of it is crap. It's mostly crap because "authors" are not subjected to much of a review proces --in fact that's their big selling point. Most POD companies make their money on the sign up fees authors pay. For them, 10 authors of crap who sell 100 copies are MUCH better than one author of not-crap who sells 1000 copies. (I can lay out the math for you on that if needed, just ask)
The source of the comment was an earlier post about a Friends of the Library contest offering an iUniverse publishing contract as a prize. That a Friends of the Library group could in fact offer a publishing contract with every confidence it would be accepted is prima facie proof of my position.
So, you can sell 10,000 copies and my default position is: "it's crap". You’d have to show me the book to get me to change my mind. And, there are books that aren't. I read one this summer that wasn't. The blogger over at PODdyMouth has found six or seven while slinking about the blogosphere.
Most of those probably haven't sold anywhere near 200 copies I'll bet.
And by the way, using POD technology is not the problem here. It's just technology. It's the business model and editorial acquisition policies of the companies that are the problem.
The two things, POD the technology, and POD the business model, have each been shortened to POD and they seem to be used interchangeably and synonomously but they aren't.
My disdain is for the sleaze parlors who say "you can be an author without working at it".
I have too much respect for my clients, and writers in general to think that's anything but crap.