Too freaking expensive
For years now, but only about once a year, I get asked whether I would consider providing print versions of my ebooks. I understand the desire of my customers: print has its superior points over ebooks, the 'e' being short for "ephemeral."
The primary reason: I can't be bothered. The amount of time to set this up would not pay for the one time a year a customer wants it. Now, I design my ebooks so that you can print them out yourselves: all my ebooks are PDF files designed to print on 8.5" x 11" paper, double-sided.
Nevertheless, I looked into it further last week after I got this email:
Recently purchased your ebook for BricsCAD V15, and was wondering if you’ve ever looked into having a place print out and bind a hard copy of your books?
I’m not lazy it’s just my employer doesn’t have a color printer and I currently don’t have one at home. I guess being old fashioned that a book in the hand still appeals to me, but if it’s a copyright thing I won’t look into it.
First off, the copyright on my ebooks allows you to make a print copy for yourself, as well as a back up copy. I sometimes even print out one of my ebooks when I need it for reference. Fast laser printer, and it doesn't take too long.
I wondered, however, how much it would cost to have a third-party print the book to which he was referring. Customizing BricsCAD V15 is 522 pages long -- yup, a monster of my own making, and still only $40. (Buy your copy today.)
There are many print-on-demand services out there, and I chose one at random that allowed me to request a quote online. After going through many Web pages of options, I picked a wire-bound (so that it lays flat), 522-page, cheapest color printout. Because I picked the service at random, the final price was in pounds as the service was located in England. Here is the quote:
Translated into US dollars, that's $168. For one copy delivered to my customer. Either that price is way overboard, or else I am vastly undercharging for my ebooks!