While there are some writers for whom writing is “just a job” for the most part, writers write because they feel they must, despite doubts that they will ever see their work in print. Online book printing has changed the industry tremendously and now, thanks to the simplicity and affordability of self-publishing, anyone can get their work in book form.
Of course, the real money in writing is getting on with a big publisher who can afford to run a major marketing campaign and sell millions of copies before the book is even off the presses, but it is extremely difficult for an unknown writer to land such a contract. Those who do are likely celebrities in some area, and as unfair as it is, may not even have to be able to write a complete sentence to get published.
Americans are so celebrity-crazed that books by famous people are flying off the shelves, even though they are penned by ghost writers, or sometimes a co-writer is credited with helping the celebrity persona commit their thoughts to the page.
There is still a market for good solid writing, though, and even though non-fiction books may not have the worldwide audiences that the popular fictional series can attract, an intelligent author with good writing skills can make use of the online printing services to publish his or her own work.
The Advent of Print-on-Demand
Digital printing is largely the reason for the widespread ability to publish books in small quantities. Typesetting is no longer required, and since the entire book is in a digital file, it is easy for the printer to keep a copy on hand and facilitate print-on-demand orders. This is also ideal for self-publishing writers who can print only as many as they believe they can sell in a limited amount of time, then use the proceeds from the first printing to fund a larger second run. There is no risk of the publisher getting stuck with a huge number of copies of a book that does not sell, so the overall risk is lower. The cost of printing a small number of books is also much less than it was in the days of only being able to print by typeset or offset methods.
There are several online companies that specialize in book publishing and others that offer a wide range of printed products, including books. The latter will generally be limited to smaller volumes and paper bindings. If your book is meant as an instruction manual or any form of workbook, then the less expensive spiral binding which allows the book to lie flat when it is open may be ideal.
Book Printing Specialists
On the other hand, if you are intending to produce a few high quality volumes to present as gifts or keepsakes, then you would do better to deal with a specialist where you can get leather covers.
Luniverse.com and authorhouse.com are two highly-rated online book publishers and both offer many services that authors need in addition to physically printing the book. An online search will bring up many others and reviews are available for many of them, either in the form of blog posts or customer comments.
If you have been dreaming of publishing your book, this is a perfect opportunity to take the leap and finish it off, polish it up, and get it in print at last.