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snip of logoWe’ve launched!  Our new e-commerce platform, PG Direct, is now live!

So what exactly is PG Direct?  What can it do for you?  Imagine sending your book files to your printer, who could process and print your titles, and THEN market and sell your title through an e-commerce bookselling platform…all with one easy seamless process.  Well, that’s the beauty of PG Direct!  We’ve made bookprinting and selling far more efficient…. and simpler than ever with an all-in-one solution.

Why did we develop it?  You probably realize that the bookselling environment is rapidly changing and becoming even more competitive. Today it’s not enough to be “just a printer,” we must also be a logistics expert that delivers content, no matter the format.

You might say we reinvented our own supply chain. Behind the scenes, we already had a nimble manufacturing platform in place, so it was a matter of leveraging our technology expertise to create a user friendly shopping experience for readers and consumers.  As PG president, Nick Lewis, explained,  “It was not a huge leap for us to add e-commerce functions to our capabilities, and as far as we know, we’re one of the first US printers to offer this bold, new sales model to our publishers.”

This new sales channel simplifies– even disrupts– the supply chain; in short, we’re bypassing the middleman – like Amazon, for example. Each of our customer segments—publisher, consumer, libraries and others  —will likely benefit by working with us directly through time and cost savings.

Bypassing the middleman results in a streamlined, more profitable cycle for publishers.

Bypassing the middleman results in a streamlined, more profitable book creation process

What are the advantages?  It’s a unique opportunity to reach a broader audience. Publishers will experience more exposure and visibility for their titles, while readers will enjoy perks like discounted retail pricing, free USPS shipping (for purchases over $30) and fast production times. Our streamlined process cuts out unnecessary expenses like overprinting, transportation, and storage costs, and we handle all the clerical tasks too. No more administrative time-consuming jobs like taking orders, processing credit cards and shipping books.              

There’s an environmental bonus as well. Kathleen Lewis, Vice President of Publishers’ Graphics, noted, “Consumers will recognize that our process helps save energy while keeping the printed book beautiful and affordable. With a direct to consumer supply chain, we are reducing waste, saving energy and resources– resulting in a very small carbon footprint. It’s the complete package and an earth-friendly solution that we think consumers will appreciate.”     

 

PG Direct Publishers and About US BannersFull circle with PG Direct.  It all comes back to creating great looking books. Ones that you’re proud to sell and distribute. By skipping the middleman, the savings are passed on to the end-consumer so both you and your readers benefit.  It’s a full-circle, full-service solution with mighty benefits. 

Visit PG Direct and learn how we can help you sell and distribute your titles.   Or call us at 630-221-1850. 

 

 

                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do I market and sell my book?  By far,  it’s our number one question from authors. So after connecting with Alexa Whitten I knew I found someone who could expertly answer that!  Alexa is a head book coach at the Book Refinery, where she offers help with writing and publishing services for all aspiring authors. Here are her proven strategies:

Writing a book is such a powerful way of showing off your expertise, but many fall at the last hurdle –

Download a handy infographic

Step by step guide to market your book

There is not much point in going to all that effort, if your marketing isn’t spot on, and you are not able to get your book into the hands of your targeted readers. Many people wrongly assume that if they list their book on Amazon, they will become wealthy – but unfortunately that is not true. Amazon has had some terrible press recently (and rightly so, in my opinion) as they expect self-published authors to give a discount on the cover price, and the actual money made, once they take their cut, is pennies. Amazon is more interested in getting books out FOR CHEAP – and they will browbeat the supplier (or author, in this case) for the privilege.

So, instead of turning straight to Amazon, give these 7 simple strategies a try – and get the maximum profit for the book you’ve worked so hard to produce.

Number 1: Create a landing page for your book. This is most effective, especially if you can obtain a URL that is close to your book title. It costs roughly $20 a year for a domain, and it looks really smart when you use the URL in your advertising. Then you create a simple landing page (check out this site for what a good landing page should contain) and have a clean, easy to use, system for people to buy the book.

Number 2: Your List. Now depending on what kind of book you’ve written, I am going to assume you have a list of people who you regularly keep in contact with. Don’t have a list? Well, start!  Begin  by getting people to ‘opt in’ to your business website by offering something of value for free at the front end. In fact, you could offer the first chapter of your book – ask your designer (or whoever created your book) to make a nice PDF version – that includes the contents and the first chapter – then offer it, for free, with no obligation. You can do this in print ads too. Once you have searched out and ‘found’ the people who are technically interested in your writing (by requesting the free chapters) you then know they are the figuratively ‘raising their hands’ for more info.

Number 3: Publications. So, where do your targeted readers hang out? What papers do they read, what magazines do they buy? If you know that, then test small ads (or better still, try and get an editorial piece in the publication itself) offering your book and sending them to your landing page. Do your research and find out what your readers read. Also, offer the publication something of value – a reader offer. It’s a win, win situation – the magazine gives something of value for their subscribers, you get to distribute your book to targeted customers.

Number 4: Book Launch. Now most book launches are very self-serving – they promote the book, with little take away value for the attendees. If your book is aimed to get leads (written to position yourself as an expert) then use your book launch to continue that premise. Here’s an author who did just that – you can read all about it here. It doesn’t have to be about just  ‘your book’. Try and step into the shoes of your attendees, and gain leverage on that audience.

Number 5: Social Media. Now this is a no brainer. No matter what book you’ve written, social media is a great way to advertise your book. But be careful, no one really cares about your book per se. They care about the RESULTS it provides, so make sure you communicate that in your posts. Make it about the reader, not about ‘selling your book’. Offer competitions, reader specials (first 10 responders get 50% off cover price) and engage with your social media followers. With so many other people vying for attention, make sure you come from a different angle, and highlight the benefits of your book.

Number 6: Radio. This one can be really effective, as long as you approach it in the right way. Firstly try and get the names of the people at the local radio station – dealing with the right person holds lots of credit. Make sure you pitch your ‘talk’ or ‘interview’ as a benefit to their listeners. Again, people don’t want to hear you prattling on about your book…however, they would love to hear you talk about how you can help them in the area that your book is covering. Make sure you convey this to the radio station – and I’m sure they will be biting your hand off for you to come in and fill in a half hour slot. Make sure you advertise your books landing page when giving out details. (This is where having a URL with your book’s title is very effective, makes it much easier for the listener to remember.)

Number 7: Affiliates. In any line of business, you will have companies that offer parallel services to yours, and it’s these people you can approach to offer a special deal to their customers. This could be a very effective way of getting in streams of new clients and even if you offer your book for free, look at the revenue that could be gained from the back end. One new client could easily pay for the free books you might give away. Your joint alliance partner will also be offering their customers a great deal, as they are offering something of value – for free. It really is a win win.

You can find out more about Alexa and her company on her website: www.thebookrefinery.com

Visit pubgraphics.com for more information.

As 2014 comes to a close, we’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on what we’ve seen this year, both in the print/publishing industry and at Publishers’ Graphics.

A good time to reflect on 2014Here’s a few things we’ve noticed:

Print still rules. We’ve seen no let-up in sales of our print books, in fact, just the opposite.   Several recent studies seem to confirm this, like this article: Teens Still Prefer Print.

Bookselling is back, or more specifically Indie-bookselling is back.   Publishers and readers are searching for new outlets, other than Amazon, for reviewing, finding and buying books. And while there are still a fair number of bookstore closings, there are many openings too, like this one in Chicago, about to launch its 3rd location.

Social sharing continues to grow. Social media continues to disrupt traditional marketing, and for millennials especially, might soon outpace other forms of communication, marketing and advertising. By the way, we’re getting more active on Twitter; you can follow our tweets on @podprinter.

Greater demand for multi-channel distribution. Publishers (and authors) know they need to get their titles into a lot of different channels to drive sales and build awareness. We are well positioned for this need!   Watch for announcements early next year!

PG Highlights:

Customer service survey. We initiated a satisfaction survey with every order that we shipped.  We wanted to know what customers thought of our service, turnarounds and quality of products. We read each and every survey!  Keep them coming!

We bought a company! With the purchase of Commercial Letter in St. Louis, we made our second company acquisition.

We moved a company! We completed the physical move of Commercial Letter to the PG offices in Earth City in early December. This involved a major renovation of the PG offices to handle the added staff and equipment.

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The end of the year… a good time to reflect on 2014.

We’re evolving…. into a one-stop solution for our customers. Direct mail, list and data services, book and journal printing, and mailing, warehousing and distribution services are all part of the mix now.

We installed new equipment. We added two new Xerox 150 printers in our Carol Stream, IL headquarters, expanding our portfolio of high speed book printing equipment.

Tradeshows and conferences. We attended some high-profile conferences this year including the London Book Fair and Book Expo America in New York City.

We look forward to providing the best products and services possible in 2015.  Great things are coming up in 2015!  Stay tuned!

 

From time to time we like to print comments from our customers, and this is one the nicest—if not the nicest—we have ever received.  This letter comes from Dr. Susan Swartwout, the publisher at the Southeast Missouri State University Press.   So please bear with us as we do a little shameless self-promotion!

Jounals and book printing

Journey is an annual literary journal that publishes original writing by students of Southeast Missouri State University.

I first learned about Publishers Graphics from an Illinois journal editor in 1994 when I was an assistant editor, looking for a good printer for a poetry journal. When I became the publisher of the Southeast Missouri University Press—publishing books and several journals—I continued to rely on Publishers Graphics for high quality printing at very reasonable prices. According to state regulations, I have to acquire three bidson many of our publications. Publishers Graphics consistently offers the lowest bid and is awarded the job.

Their online quote system is fantastic. Instead of waiting a week for a print quote, I have the emailed quote in my mailbox within two minutes of submitting the specs in the online form. The quotes are stored for 30 days, and the quotes that I accept are kept online so that I can easily click on the title and get a quote for reprints by changing only the quantity. The reprints are ready in a short turnaround time. This is extraordinarily convenient for keeping a small but sufficient inventory.

And did I mention friendly and supportive? I never have to wait long for an email response to a question, and I can count on Publisher Graphics associates to be courteous and always willing to help.

Beautiful books that get loads of compliments, great pricing, fast quotes, good turnaround, friendly, and great support:   I highly recommend Publishers Graphics. They’ve been a major contributor to the success of our University Press.

About the Southeast Missouri State University Press:

Southeast Missouri State University Press, founded in 2001, serves both as a first-rate publisher in an under published region and as a working laboratory for students interested in learning the art and skills of literary publishing. The Press supports a Minor degree program in Small-press Publishing for undergraduate students in any major who wish to acquire the basic skills for independent-press publishing and editing.

Recognition won by our books include the John H. Reid Short Fiction Award, the Creative Spirits Platinum Award for General Fiction, the James Jones First Novel Award, the Langum Award for Historical Fiction, the Missouri Governor’s Book Award, the United We Read selection, and the Kniffen Book Award for best U.S./Canada cultural geography.

POD, print on demand

A trio of recent titles from the University Press at Southeast Missouri State

 

What is an ISBN number?
The “International Standard Book Number” is a 13 digit number issued to identify your publication.  This number is linked to all the information about your book including; the title, author, binding style, etc. This is different from a copyright or a barcode.  This number is owned by the person who obtains the ISBN.  An ISBN number can’t be linked to more than one book.

ISBN with price

Why does my book need this?
An ISBN number is not required but is good to have when distributing your book.  It is unique to each title and version of a title printed, so if you have a hard and soft cover version of your book – you will need two different ISBN numbers.

Can you sell me an ISBN number?
PG does not sell ISBN numbers; to obtain an ISBN Number, you can contact Bowker.  They offer services to obtain ISBN numbers in a short period of time.  Publishers’ Graphics does offer services to convert the ISBN number into a barcode.  We offer the barcode associated with the ISBN number with or without a price.

What do all the numbers mean?

Each ISBN number is basically a code that refers to information that publishers and bookstores need to sell your book.  Here’s a breakdown:

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The following link can also help provide you with more details on ISBN numbers. http://isbn.org/

As a publisher you might be hearing a lot these days about PUR binding.  And you may also be wondering whether it makes sense for your titles.

PUR binding is one of the strongest and most durable binding methods on the market

PUR binding is one of the strongest and most durable binding methods on the market

So what exactly is PUR? Polyurethane or “PUR adhesive” glue came along in the late 1980′s and was used in other industries such as furniture and automotive before being discovered as useful in book binding applications. Its main advantage, a lower freeze point and a higher melting point, has significant advantages, especially for publishers who ship books globally.

Today PUR adhesive is gaining traction in the marketplace as publishers and consumers desire books that will keep the pages bound together more securely over the life time usage of the book.  In fact, since installing its PUR binder over three years ago, PG now uses PUR adhesion for about 40% of its books — both hardcover and softcover.

Even fans of Smythe binding, in which the signatures of the book are sewn together, are recognizing PUR’s value, and are moving over to it.  According to an article in American Printer, (October, 2003), here are just a few benefits of PUR binding:

  1. Lie-flat qualities
    When applied at its recommended thickness

    Even large page count books can be PUR bound and maintain lie-flat quality

    Even large page count books like this textbook can be PUR- bound and maintain lie-flat quality

    — 0.01 inch — PUR is considerably more flexible than standard EVA hot melts. This ability to lie flat when open allows for hands-free reading.

  2. Heat and cold resistance
    PUR adhesive has a lower freeze point and a higher melting point than any other adhesive on the market. Books bound by PUR will not fail at extreme temperatures — even over 200°F or under -40°F. These properties were especially important to customers who send books globally where temperature extremes are commonplace.
  3. Less wrinkling of backbone
    Binding cross-grained paper with standard hot melt adhesives causes considerable wrinkling in the book’s gutter area. PUR’s lower operating temperature, however, doesn’t drive paper moisture away from the backbone. PUR is also somewhat malleable as it cures, allowing the paper fibers to return to their original orientation.
  4. Less “chip-out”
    Since PUR is applied at half the standard thickness of hot melt, there is much less chance for the material to build up on trimmer knives and nick the cover material during trimming.
  5. Square backbone
    Because only a small amount of PUR needs to be used for binding, less adhesive is squeezed out when the cover station and side clinchers attach the cover and form the back.
  6. Cost savings
    One of the most significant reasons for considering PUR adhesion is the cost savings. According to a study in Europe, binders can realize a cost savings of 30 percent to 40 percent by milling off the backbone of the folded signatures and then gluing them with PUR.*

*from American Printer, October, 2003

Most authors would agree that after writing a book, the biggest challenge is how to market the book. Competing for publicity and media attention is difficult and time consuming, often with little to show for your efforts.

That’s NOT true in Sabrina Penn’s case!  Her efforts have yielded video reviews at two large metro TV stations.pam grier2

Sabrina Penn’s children’s book, “A Cowgirl Named Pammy” was just printed, and within a two week period, she landed two TV interviews.  Morning anchors at TV stations in Chicago and Denver promoted the book during their AM programs and provided information on where to purchase the book.

Illustrated by Michael Sein-Colon, “A Cowgirl Named Pammy” tells the story of Pam Grier, the first African-American woman super hero in Hollywood action movies.  Sabrina said, “The key to my success with the media was simple: I created a brief summary of my book and emailed it to select media outlets.  Since Pam Grier had lived in Colorado, I knew there would be some interest in that market, so I contacted the Denver area stations.”

She advised, “Let the media feel they are getting the first news out.  Offer a free copy of your book. Email them more than once.”  Sabrina even suggests taking out a few ads about your book, first locally, then in larger markets.

book 11In addition, utilizing social media is critical. Sabrina claims, “Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are important, along with finding blogs related to your subject area.”  She suggests: “Make appropriate comments on their blog posts and add links for your book in the comment section; I do this all day long!”

Sabrina closed by saying, “Most importantly, believe that your book is as important to the media as it is to you, and you will succeed.”

“A Cowgirl Named Pammy” is available in the PG Bookstore.

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