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Print on demand plunges/Frankfurt Book Fair sets up self-publishing programme

1 September 2014

Recent figures from Bowker in the US show a startling plunge in the number of titles printed print-on-demand by 46% year-on-year. Even more surprising perhaps is that this decline is not part of the major shift from print titles to ebooks, as the overall print figures declined by only 1.6%. This figure reverses the sector's growth from 2011 to 2012 and shows that the number of print books being produced is remarkably stable. So much for the theory that print books would disappear and be replaced entirely by ebooks as the digital revolution proceeded.

So what has been printed print-on-demand and why is it declining so rapidly? These books are reprints, often public domain, but also a great many books printed by self-publishers, who are probably abandoning print-on-demand for publishing digitally.

In other news the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. has followed other book fairs in developing its strand of activities for self-publishers. Its International Self-Publishing and Author Programme is a two-day programme in English consisting of a series of events on 10th and 11th October addressed to authors from around the world, offering them ‘a curated experience at the world's largest gathering of the global publishing industry, giving them the chance to network with publishing professionals, connect with fellow authors, and learn more about the global publishing business.'

Anyone who has ever been to the Frankfurt Book Fair in a professional publishing capacity will be rather sceptical about the networking with publishing professionals, many of whom are booked solid from the beginning of the Fair to the end. However the full-day stage programme on Saturday, 11 October, dedicated to self-publishing and the evolving role of authors in the international book publishing industry will be of interest too, although perhaps not significantly different from other programmes of this kind. Frankfurt at the time of the Book Fair is predictably ruinously expensive and best avoided unless someone else is paying the bills, but we will report on presentations at the Fair as far as we are able.

Frankfurt Book Fair Self-Publishing and Author Programme