Book distribution giant Ingram has just reduced prices on color POD by about 2/3rds, Todd Allen reports at Publishers Weekly.

Ingram Content Group has announced a new “standard color” pricing model for print-on-demand technology that has reduced costs by roughly two-thirds, making color POD an economical publishing option for the first time. Achieved through advancements in inkjet technology, the price drop means that a greater range of book content can be printed in color and done faster around the world.

Depending on the exact dimensions of a book, color POD for a single 120 page trade paperback would previously run in the general range of $12-$13.50, making such books prohibitively expensive.  Standard Color reduces the cost of a single book to the general range of $4-$5, with a short run of 500 books pricing out at below $3/copy for a 6”x9” trade paperback.

Comments in and below the article indicate this could be a real game changer especially for comics and other heavily illustrated books. Several comics publishers have already adopted a POD model — CO2 and First (which doesn’t have a website we could quickly find after a few minutes of Googling)— and POD is already huge in the self-publishing and Kickstarter worlds. This price drop has been long predicted — the long tail is about to get even longer.


  1. That is actually huge news, and wonder how it will in turn effect cover prices for both color and B/W books that are offered on Amazon, via POD publishers such as iUniverse, or even prints that come out of Zazzle…


  2. I thought “high speed inkjet” was a typo. I’d never heard of this technology, though I’ve seen some of HP’s high speed digital presses that use a liquid toner. I did a quick search and it looks like this is what they’re using:
    based on this article:
    it’s rated at doing 500-700 pages/minute. wow! can’t wait to see how this continues to shake out.

  3. very interested in seeing the print quality and hearing some info on how archival this printing method is.

    For runs under 500 pieces this could be great thing.

  4. Here’s where it gets really interesting:
    (I’ve written this before, and I’ll stop repeating it when I finally see it.)

    Warner Brothers Entertainment has a huge catalog of movie titles. Most are not economically worthy of being mass-produced for sale in stores. WA thus offers these titles as “Made To Order”; they manufacture a copy as it is ordered, and ship it out to arrive in less than a week of ordering. The retail cost is about the same for regular DVDs, the costs are greatly reduced for WA, so profits are big.

    Now, look at DC Comics. A catalog going back 75 years. Lots of stuff that wouldn’t sell as a collection or a reprint comic. But stuff that people might like to read.

    So, imagine:
    0. DC has scanned EVERYTHING in their archives. Comics. Ads. Photos. Movie posters. Catalogs. Design guides.

    1. You’re interested in a certain type of comic. Maybe it’s blue kryptonite stories. Maybe it’s Wayne Boring Batman craziness. Maybe it’s Alex Toth. Maybe it’s DC toys from the 1950s.

    2. You do a search on YourDC.com and find all the results. DC offers low-resolution scans that you can read online. (Supported by ad revenue.) You read and scan.

    3. You place the stories you want into a portfolio. You then sort the titles and select the media format. If it’s a DVD or download, the files are copied as is. If it’s a book, a simple layout will be shown, and you can design the book. A table of contents is created, you select a cover design, dimensions, format…

    4. You pay for the item, and it ships immediately.

    5. You then have the ability to promote your book on the DC forums. Others can order a duplicate copy, and you get a finder’s fee for every sale. (Just like Amazon’s associate program.) Or you link to a specific story (“Look at this crazy Batman story I found!”) DC gives you “geek cred” to use on later purchases.

    6. DC allows customers to index the content. Fans make wikia pages for every story or photo or whatever. Text is keyworded, themes are defined, tags are applied.

    7. Since the images are digitized at high resolution, they can be reprinted as posters. (Marvel already does this for some covers.) Instant Pop Art! Maybe users can edit the image, change colors, blank word balloons (but not change the text).

    Yes, this is a bit scary for a corporation. “What, let the consumer produce product they want? That’s our job! We make it, you want it!” However, Warners would control everything created (via the EULA/TOS nobody reads), and can offer the product to others. The creator is credited, and gets royalties, and maybe gets a freelance gig.

    The long tail could thus wag the dog. Or at least be used to jump rope.

  5. @TorstenThe only problem I see with your model, is that most people honestly do not know what they want, nor does any more than a small minority of potential readers have the time and/or interest in composing their own selections like so.

    People paid to see the Justin Beiber movie in theaters. Think about that.

  6. Torsten, that’s brilliant! I’m probably not alone in wanting trade book print copies of various storylines that either cost ridiculous amounts used or can only be located by time-consuming quests through fifty cent bins.

    Yes, absolutely I would buy those. And not just for DC, but for any number of cool indie comics that never made it past floppy or went out of print and are impossible to find.