Right now, The First Assassin is a print-on-demand book: Your copy doesn’t exist until you buy it online. When you purchase one, it’s printed and mailed to you.
Here’s the entry for “print-on-demand (POD),” as found in the just-released Oxford Companion to the Book:
“True print-on-demand is the ability to reprint single copies of a book to order. … A title never need go out of print, since, as long as it is archived properly, it can be printed to order. … Set-up costs are low, and completely separate titles can be printed one after the other. POD has made a significant contribution to the survival of the printed book, enabling books to reappear and remain in print.”
When I started this self-publishing venture, I thought this was a nifty technology. But I also worried that POD would lead to long delays. Would weeks pass before readers received their books? I’m happy to report that this is not the case. POD is fast. If you buy a copy of The First Assassin right now, you’ll have it within a few days, just like a regular online book order. This will become a big part of the publishing industry’s future.
By the way, tomorrow’s NRO podcast is with Michael F. Suarez, S.J., co-editor of The Oxford Companion to the Book. We discuss what will happen to books as the digital age proceeds.