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Publish books with a few clicks

Self-publishing and print on demand catches on in India.

books Updated: Apr 25, 2010 15:36 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times

Writers believe that finding a publisher for their books is the toughest part of their job. And if you find one, it might be expensive and out of your reach. So what’s the simpler option? Log on to self-publishing websites like The initial motivation to start the website was personal. Jaya Jha, co-founder, writes poetry in Hindi and has a decent following on her blog.

She thought of publishing the poems as a book. When she started looking for options, she realised that getting published is a tough task. So, she started looking at the options of self-publishing and realised that there aren’t too many in India — particularly with Print on Demand. She discussed this with Abhaya Agarwal, a friend who was in the US at that time. Thus came into existence.

On demand is a publishing platform backed by Print on Demand (a printing technology with which you can print even one copy at a time). It provides tools and services to individuals and organisations who want to publish their books in print. Its aim is to make publishing accessible to everyone by reducing informational, operational and financial barriers.

The initial days were tough. Both the founders came from technology backgrounds and had no idea about publishing.A lot of time was spent in learning the ropes of the industry. “Our finances came from savings and some friends and family funding. We were learning new things everyday about running a company, dealing with vendors and addressing customers,” says Jaya.

To avail of their services, authors prepare print-ready files and upload them on the website. But some people need help in book preparation part itself. This may include help in editing, typesetting, cover design, illustrations etc. For this, paid services are available on the website. Each service needs to be paid for individually. They are reasonably priced. The typesetting costs start at Rs 15 per page and cover design at Rs 1,500.

Looking ahead

Future plans include getting into e-books, self-publishing and more distribution options for print books. “We are currently working on a couple of manuscripts, where children have found out about their parents/grandparents’ writings and are now using’s platform to publish them. It means a lot to the parents to be cared for by their children and of course makes for good family memorabilia,” says Jha.

How Print on Demand works

In the simplest scenario, the author prepares print-ready files for his books. Specifications are available on the website. Then he uploads it. The files are checked for technical accuracy (that is, whether they can go to print directly or not). The book gets listed. People can now order the books. Books are printed as orders are placed.

There is no minimum quantity requirement. As the books sell, royalty accrues to author’s account and is paid out on a monthly basis. In this scenario, there is no upfront cost to the authors. If the book sells, he earns the royalty. If it does not, there is no financial loss.Technology available can be used to bring down the preparation efforts and costs.

Cover Design Tool

While many authors are able to edit their books and even design interiors, cover design turns out to be too technical for them. For casual publishers, Cover Design Tool is an easy and free option.

Blog to Book Converter

This creates the final designed book from the blog’s content.

E-commerce store

Authors can sell their books through online stores. This is open even to the people who do not print through the site.

Author Dashboard (available upon signing up)

This is the place where authors can transparently track their sales and earnings. They can also specify how they want to receive their earnings.

First Published: Apr 25, 2010 14:13 IST