Does Free Sell?
Wikitravel Press

Borders Personal Publishing

Borders_personal_publishingThe first Borders concept store has been open about a week now and I wanted to take a look at one service that's part of their new "digital center" feature.  Borders is partnering with Lulu on an initiative they're calling "Personal Publishing."  If you consider visibility and distribution two of the key challenges in the self-publishing world, the Borders Personal Publishing program addresses both of these issues...sort of...

I like the fact that Borders is lending their brand name to a self-publishing platform like Lulu.  It helps build credibility and avoid the obvious question I've heard a few times: "what the heck is a lulu?!".  This is also a first step in converting a destination buying service into one with more impulse buying potential.  Up to now it's been pretty difficult to find a self-published title in a brick-and-mortar store.  Even though the Borders program isn't set up to provide immediate access to physical inventory just yet, I'd like to think that one day they'll have a high-speed POD machine in the store for those of us who always look for instant gratification.

Personal Publishing would be a nice addition to any bookstore and a good way for Borders to help distinguish themselves from all the other brick-and-mortar outlets.  Be sure to visit the Borders Personal Publishing FAQ (accessible from this page) for more details.


Yvonne DiVita

This bears watching, doesn't it? I'm seeing some negative response (as if Borders is just playing at helping self-published authors print, with no chance of actually getting put on the shelf), and a lot of good positive response, such as yours. Those of us in the POD and author services world will be watching.

Gail Nickel-Kailing

I agree, I am waiting for the day when I can go into a book store, browse a little, check the computer catalog, place an order for a book and have coffee while it's being produced to order. Shouldn't be too awfully long now.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote about the patent infringement suit brought against Lightning Source, Amazon & Ingram by the On Demand Machine Company - the inventors of a "book on demand" machine. The suit was won by the ODMC and later overturned on appeal. Read about it here:

And in 2005, Jason Epstein, founded Anchor Books, the New York Review of Books, the Library of America, and the Readers Catalog, has resurrected the technology with something called the Espresso Book Machine. You can see videos of the machine in action at

I'm not sure where the technology stands now, but it's likely that in the next few years we will have "books on demand!"

Gail Nickel-Kailing, Business Strategies Etc.

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