Is there a smokescreen being created by publishers as Amazon threatens POD for out of print titles? A book should never go out of print! Surely this is the publisher’s obligation to keep their back-list available and a move to POD for titles which have ran their course with a publisher is a simple and effective solution to keeping books in the hands of readers and author’s fans. There was an argument which I saw recently that some publishers are worried because the quality of POD is inferior. All the more reason for publishers to source an excellent POD supplier and provide the quality they can control. By the same token Amazon have no right to simply hi-jack titles and print them POD but the onus is on the publisher to ensure that authors can generate income from their back-list.
If any authors are struggling with this issue with their publisher then it really needs to be confronted head-on with the publisher and the author’s agent if he or she has one. Clauses must be added to contracts which guarantee the availability of titles through POD once a print run has been exhausted.
POD used to be a dirty word but I guarantee many readers would not spot the difference between an excellent POD title and a print run book. I can honestly say that many of our POD titles have actually been better than the print runs supplied by one of the UK’s leading printers.
Amazon’s tactics here may be viewed as being wrong but what they are exposing is a very real neglect of many author’s who simply fall off the radar because the publisher is too busy pursuing the next 12 year old literary genius or d-list celebrity memoir. Clearly Amazon cannot simply produce a POD version without the consent of the publisher but this state of affairs should not be allowed to happen in the first instance. Publisher’s look after you author’s and ensure that while under contract their books are always available. It’s that simple really.