Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Need information/suggestions about printing 100 copies of 75 page paperback book

Last updated on 1st April 2017

I am exploring possibility of printing 100 copies of a, say, 50 page document, but as a, say, 75 page paperback book in India.

1) How much will it cost? That's the key question for me.

Some more details and thoughts about it. Note that I have never published any regular (paper) book so far in my life (different from many, many software-technical and other documents that I have authored for private and public use).

2) The document that I am considering will be an updated version of this October 2013 document, iami1.wordpress.com Blog – Consolidated Doc. of Own Content (and wiki content), https://iami1.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/iami1-own-content-consolidated-201310241.pdf, which is 34 pages long. I will update it with later content and also modify it somewhat. So I expect it to grow to an around 50 page A4/Letter size document. I will also be changing the title to an appropriate one.

3) The convenience of reading and carrying the typical paperback book is something that attracts me. That is why I am considering the typical paperback book type print possibility (as against A4/Letter size document with spiral binding or stapled). So a 50 page A4/Letter size document may become a, say, 75 page paperback book.

4) I don't want to make any profit from the book. However, if the book does capture some interest and if the costs of the book get recovered, it may permit me to consider printing more copies of the book later on. I will remove all wikipedia extracts from the book (except a few short ones permitted under Indian copyright law - Fair use) as if the book is not free, wikipedia copyright rules will not permit sharing of its content.

5) I would like to provide free reuse permission of my content of the book (as against content which is clearly shown as contributed by others (with permission to share publicly)) to anybody who is interested to do so. I would like to promote interested persons to print copies and sell it (my content of the book), even if it is at a reasonable profit for them (with zero money coming to me).

6) I may go in for an (Indian authorities provided) ISBN number if it is not too expensive. I think this is the website where I need to explore the matter further: http://isbn.gov.in/.

7) I don't think I will need to apply for a copyright. As my blog will show/prove that content of the book was authored by me, I don't think I need to have a copyright myself to protect its content from copyright claims on it by others.

I would be glad to know thoughts and views on the above from people who are knowledgeable about this topic.

I got some very useful information from one source with some valuable experience in this matter. This person also was not looking to make money from the book he got printed & sold but wanted to use sales money to cover costs for future reprints.

He said that he used a Hyderabad based publisher to print a 60 page book. Perhaps a year or two ago, he got the first print done. He had to pay around Rs. 22,000 for 1,000 copies of the book which were delivered to him (in two big cartons). The publisher was not involved in distributing or selling this book.

My friend preferred to use the word of mouth method for sales of the book, and so did not get into any big promotion. He charged Rs. 30/- for the book. The sales revenue helped him plough back the money for a couple of reprints over the past year or two.

He told me that the price per book seemed reasonable only for 1,000 copies. If he had asked for 500 copies instead of 1,000, the price would have been somewhere around Rs. 18,000 instead of Rs. 22,000! He said that they use offset printing for such books. That involves preparing "plates" which take a lot of effort. After the "plates" are ready, printing itself is not that expensive. That is why the 1,000 copies order was giving a far better price per copy than the 500 copies order.

He said the prices may have gone up now at the Hyderabad publisher & printer.

I was also informed that a Puttaparthi small print shop offers similar facility to publish & print using some Bangalore offset printer. The quality delivered is good, I was told. But the price is higher. I was told that a 1,000 copies order of a 60 page paperback book by the Puttaparthi small print facility would cost around Rs. 32,000!

In both the above cases (Puttaparthi & Hyderabad shops/facilities), they can/do act as publishers with their names appearing as the publisher, as per the information that was provided to me.

Here is an interesting but nearly 5 year old article, which is about publishing regular books and selling them for profit/living rather than my particular need of simply having a cheap paperback printer printing my no-frills text book without me having any profit-earning motive. But the article does have some useful info. My self-publishing journey, http://www.thehindu.com/books/my-selfpublishing-journey/article3727190.ece, August 2012.

The author, Rasana Atreya, writes that she turned down a publishing contract from one of India's largest publishing houses because she wanted to have the rights to her ebook, which the publisher was not agreeable to. She was inspired by Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath, two authors who seem to be well known to have taken the self-publishing route.

The author wanted complete control over her book - pricing, cover design, marketing etc. The article covers how she went about it for her ebook using private one-time cost services and Amazon, and seems to frankly mention her fears and challenges.

The author warns about companies that call themselves as self-publishers but actually become the "publisher of record", and that there are some horror stories of manuscripts being stolen and fudged sales data with some of these self-publishers.

But perhaps the author has been too critical about "self-publishers". I think that so long as they clearly state their offers to publish and print a customer's books, and then do it as per the offer, they are acting ethically. Of course, manuscripts being stolen would be a terrible thing but then one should not blame all "self-publishers" of doing such stuff unless one is sure. BTW these "self-publishers" are also looked down upon by regular publishers, as vanity publishers who allow people to publish their books for a price paid by the author! I think that is being unfair. So long as it is clear that the author paid for publishing and printing his/her books, I think it is fair and ethical. Otherwise the author is locked into the preferences that big publishers have for books/manuscripts and the printing & distribution lock-ins that big publishers will impose! Why should an author who has the ability to pay to publish his/her book not do so but be at the mercy of big publishing companies' preferences and lock-ins?

I got some info. from browsing the net for Indian self-publishing companies.

1) Power Publisher is quite a well known self-publisher in India. Here is their package/offer chart: http://www.power-publishers.com/choose-your-scheme/. The cheapest package is around Rs. 15,000. The issue here for me is that Power Publisher seems to be the guys who will be printing the books when they feel appropriate and sell through their channels. The author gets 2 complimentary copies! This does NOT seem to be what I am looking for. And then it seems to me that control over the book's printing and distribution rights will be, at least to some significant extent, with Power Publishers. That's a BIG PROBLEM for me. Two sentences from its legal terms and conditions page, http://www.power-publishers.com/legal-policies/terms-a-conditions/, are given below:

"I, the author of the book, or my nominated family member will be the copyright holder of the book." - That's good. So Power Publishers does not get the copyright.

"The book cannot be printed and distributed by two different companies in the same language and the same country at the same time." - This is the PROBLEM for me. One has to withdraw the book from Power Publishers before some other person prints & distributes it. In all probability, my book will not have big sales - it will appeal only to a niche audience and will not be having any real promotion, except some word of mouth stuff and social media announcements. But I want the FREEDOM to allow any person to print my book and even sell it for a reasonable profit (with ZERO money coming to me).

2) EDUCREATION publishing came up in Google Search results as an Ad. if I recall correctly. It offers a Rs. 4,999 package to publish "Plain Text Books"! An "AMC" is listed at Rs. 1000/- yearly. So lets make the total figure, Rs. 6,000 for a year. Well, I want to print a plain text book! No frills, no pics, just text. And the price is attractive! But...

The legal agreement, https://www.educreation.in/data/legal-agreement.pdf, seems to be more author friendly than the previous publisher mentioned above. But it states on page 2, "Author is furthermore not allowed to reprint or digitally distribute the formatted/ designed book or a part of it, in the form, such it indicates to be as printed or distributed by Educreation or else otherwise to use the cover page prepared by Educreation for any other purpose except what conducts as to genuine promotion of book." The English language here seems mixed up and that's a concern as it is a legal agreement! But the key point is that the legal agreement will interfere with the FREEDOM I want for me and others to be able to print the book, unless I ensure that ZERO input is provided by them on the book and that they acknowledge in writing that that gives me the freedom to allow others to print and distribute the book. This seems to be a problem area.

The legal agreement has a scarier sentence, at least for a low-profile reclusive guy like me, "Author also grants Educreation a complete freedom to use his/ her name, photograph, statements, reference, etc. on any place/ location/ platform on the aspect of book promotion as and what deem fit for the purpose at its sole discretion."

So this does not seem suitable for me.

But I must mention its "Digital Print on Demand" page, https://www.educreation.in/self-publishing-in-india/book-print-on-demand.html. It says, "With us the production cost of your 100 pages A5 Variant (5"x8") book will be Rs. 43 only (Taxes extra)". And follows that up by saying that authors can make order(s) of set of 30 copies at production cost! So if one rounds the quoted production cost to Rs. 50 then one can get a set of 30 copies at Rs. 1500/- (plus shipping and taxes)! That is so attractive to read from my needs perspective. But then one wonders what the reality is. It almost seems to be too good to be true. And anyway, the legal agreement thing puts me off.

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote (slightly edited) over email (and was OK with sharing) in response to initial part of this post sent to her over email:
Ravi, this is a very good idea.  OMKAR in Bangalore does very high quality production and very affordable prices.  I suggest you call and talk with Mr. Babu.  www.omkaroffset.com

When I got my ISBNs they were free.  But they are ridiculously difficult people to communicate with.  I finally realized how UNIMPORTANT  ISBNs are  and gave up using them as has become the fashion these days..

Hope this helps.

They want you to have camera ready discs...but you need to be there when they do the book. They use pagination set up systems that will cut words just to fit the page! I always sat there in the composition rooms and read every single page myself to guarantee perfection of the product for my many clients.

After making books with various Bangalore printers and at the top Hyderabad printers I stuck with Omkar.  They are easy going, flexible, and understand the work they are doing.  Their binding is wonderful too.  Your choice of paper is very  important for the long-life of the books.
---end Terry response---

Ravi: I thanked Terry "a ton for the info." BTW Terry is an accomplished writer with superb English (way better than mine), and is very articulate. She offers services to those who would like to publish successful books. From her website, http://terryreiskennedy.wixsite.com/redcloverproductions: "My writing has drawn me to every state in the United States of America, including First Nation Territories, Puerto Rico, Nova Scotia, Canada, Mexico, Poland, Fiji, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand Sri Lanka and India where I have a home. I have read from my anthologized essays, fiction, and poetry on radio, on television, and at places as diverse as prisons, public squares, cafes, Harvard University, Boston City Hall, and at Native American Indian Reservations.

I love working with people who want to get their book or film projects out to audiences whether they are still in the idea stage or are finished but need some design, layout, editing, publishing, and marketing assistance.

I am a non-smoking, non-drinking, vegetarian and I support my lifestyle through my own work as a wordsmith and I know that I can turn your dream of publishing a successful book or documentary come true."

Ravi: Going by Terry's suggestion I browsed the website of Omkar Offset Printers, Bangalore, http://www.omkaroffset.com/, and found it to be a printing only facility. No publishing stuff. Its samples go from calendars to annual reports to brochures and books. I think this is what suits my needs but I don't know about the cost. I need to look for a low cost and reasonable quality (top quality will be expensive; I am willing to settle for reasonable no-frills quality) offset printer and NOT a "self-publisher".

Perhaps I should call Omkar people up (Contact page provides the info.) and simply ask them how much printing 100 copies of a 75 page (no pics, no colour, no frills, only text) paperback book will cost.

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
What a great service you've provided for me.  Thank you.

Yes, call OMKAR; you will be surprised at how inexpensive they are.

Ravi responded (slightly edited):
Oh! I really don't know how many people read my long posts carefully and note its contents. I was very glad to share your views and your services.
But I have noted that Omkar does provide good and reasonably priced OFFSET printing (and perhaps is NOT YET into print on demand). So, if there is any OFFSET printing I would like to do, I plan to contact them.


  1. Dear Ravi,I am not sure, if it is already too late to comment in this post, but I will highly recommend you to go through the following article on 8 factors to consider before self publishing your book. https://publishindia.com/self-publishing/8-fact-checks-self-publishing-in-india/

    1. Thanks Adamya. Had a quick look at it now. Plan to go through it more carefully later on.