Co-op publishing. The publisher and the author split the publishing costs. This often means that the publisher pays all the costs, but the author is required to purchase a few thousand copies of the book and possibly an expensive marketing package.
Do-it-yourself printing. Most copy shops (like Kinko’s) and office supply stores (like Staples) offer book-binding services. Or the authors purchase binders or report covers and fill them with three-hole-punched sheets of paper. If they use clear-front covers, the authors can design an attractive cover page using either a color printer or specialty paper.
Offset vs. Print-on-demand. Traditional mainstream publishers use offset presses to print large quantities of books (at least a few thousand). Smaller independent publishers and subsidy publishers often use Print-on-Demand (POD). With POD, books are printed only when they’re ordered, so the publisher doesn’t keep copies in a warehouse.
E-book publishing. An e-book publisher can take a Word or PDF file, design an electronic cover for it, format it to look like a book on screen, and convert it to Amazon’s mobi format (for Kindle), and/or epub (which can be read on any e-reader other than the Kindle). Some subsidy publishers offer both print and e-book options; others do only one or the other.
DIY electronic publishing. You can convert your Word or WordPerfect file to a PDF document (which can be read using Adobe Acrobat, so anyone with a computer could read it) and sell it on your website, blog, and e-newsletter.
Independent publishing is one of the newer terms for self-publishing.
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—Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series, is a full-time freelance editor/writing mentor and teacher. She is the founder and director of the Christian Editor Connection and The Christian PEN.