Writer and editor Poddy Mouth (an alias, obviously) started a blog to review books printed through the print-on-demand medium. She originally started with the premise that most POD books were crap. Supposedly, she was surprised to find a pearl among the rocks and decided to call on publishers and editors to submit books (she’s bought some, too) so that she could find more pearls… perhaps. The end result is the Needle Awards, and some end-of-year stats. Some of those stats struck me:
- Total number of books considered: 1,398
- Total number books read to completion but did not get reviewed (the ones that came “this close”): 43
- Total number of books not read past first page: 132
- Total number of books not read past first paragraph: 12
- Total number of books not read past first sentence: 2
Most of the books she received were self-published, thus perpetuating, again, the myth that POD equates self-publication and low quality.
Sure, she says she found some good books, but it’s only the opinion of one person, after all. I’m not sure her reviews translate into sales for those authors who made it into the hallowed halls of her blog, but I’m wondering if she’s not making more damage to writers in general, and to legitimate publishers (not “printers”, like iUniverse or Lulu) who are small and are trying to cut costs by using an alternate method of printing the books they publish. It’s the same old story: if you’re not published by the big ones (and Poddy Mouth is published by Penguin Putnam), you’re not really worth much. She started this as a lark and, regardless of the surprises she found, she still sees POD as a publisher rather than a printing method. I’m not planning on thanking her to perpetuate the legend.