In late summer I noted that Andrew Sullivan was preparing to release a book via print-on-demand (POD). That day is now here:
The Dish is very psyched to announce that the first edition of “The View From Your Window” is now available for purchase. You can preview the book here at Blurb.com, the print-on-demand company that is publishing the book. It’s 200 pages of window views, selected from all the submissions sent in over the past three years, with the front image and the back one picked by you, the readers of the Dish.
If that’s not smart enough, Sullivan and his team are leveraging Sullivan’s platform (his built-in audience and online presence) to improve things for his customers. This is not simply another retail opportunity, it is a community gathering and co-operative effort:
$29.95 is not a bad price for a 200 page, four-color coffee table book/toilet-browser. But new technology can bring this price down. Here’s how:
If we order a mass offset printing, each unit costs a lot less (just like in old-style publishing). It will take a little longer than ordering the book yourself right now, but the savings could be considerable. The Dish is not looking to make money off this – we’ve decided to forgo any profit to get you the book you created at the cheapest price possible. So if 1,000 of you pledge to order the book, we can slash the price; if 2,000 do so, we can slash it some more. The goal is to bring the price of the book to under $20. Perhaps well under.
A few years ago, this book would have been published by a traditional publisher, on the publisher’s terms, or it would not have been published at all. Today Sullivan’s team is determined to push the envelope:
No old-media publishing house would give you those options. The combination of a blog and print-on-demand publishing can. And if this model works, it could help launch a whole new wave of books created with user-generated content and priced with crowd-sourcing efficiencies. We hope the Dish will help pioneer this, and help do to the book publishing industry what blogs have helped do to MSM establishment journalism. A four-color 200 page book is an ambitious place to start, but, as always at the Dish, our attitude is: why the hell not?
Why the hell not, indeed. We all profit by watching how this project unfolds. Whether you want to buy a copy of the book or not, take note of what’s happening here.
This is what you find when you walk a ditch.
— Mark Barrett