Printing and Distribution Options

If an Aquiline Books author or editor wishes to make print versions of their work available, staff of the UNT Libraries Scholarly Publishing Services will advise on options. While publishers traditionally decide how many copies of a title to print, based on their sales projections, decisions about printing Aquiline Books titles are left to the author or editor.

For those who wish to understand the options before an in-person discussion, this page explains the implications of the various options and offers a few suggestions of vendors that you might choose to enter into a relationship with.

Printing copies in advance or on demand?

The first decision to make is whether to pay for copies to be printed in advance or instead have them be printed “on demand” when a customer places an order:

Printed in advance (a "print run") Print on demand ("POD")
Copies are stored in a distribution center, ready to be shipped to bookstores and directly to customers No inventory is held on hand.
Bookstores can order copies of the book to keep on hand and return unsold copies. In most cases, bookstores will only order a copy if a customer requests the title and agrees to pay for it. (However, some POD providers allow you to make books returnable if you absorb the cost of returned books or agree to accept them yourself.)
The more copies you print, the lower the cost per unit, allowing you more profit per sale. Except at the smallest quantities, individual copies cost more to produce than as part of a print run, leaving less profit per sale.

Note that certain types of printing technology (such as glossy paper and extremely high-resolution printing and inserts with glossy paper, rice paper, or flaps) are rarely available using POD technology.

You are welcome to order a print run and distribute copies yourself: accepting orders, collecting payment, and mailing copies. Alternatively, you can arrange with a vendor to handle these functions for you. They will store your print run in their warehouse and keep you apprised of the inventory level so that you can decide whether to have more copies printed.

Many POD printers offer a distribution service as well since it’s efficient for them to mail a copy once they manufacture it. Some distribution services can both store print inventory and do POD, allowing a title to move from one type of fulfillment to another. However, they may offer copies for sale on different terms depending on how they were manufactured: copies from a print inventory are usually offered to bookstores with free shipping and to bookstores and directly to customers as returnable, whereas with certain POD channels, the customer or even the publisher (in this case, you) may be charged for shipping, and the bookstore or customer may not be able to return the copy. Some POD vendors allow returns of copies but then charge the publisher (you) for shipping on the return.

Printing and distribution by the UNT Press (through the Texas Book Consortium)

The UNT Press offers distribution services to authors or editors of some Aquiline Books titles. The UNT Press is a member of the Texas Book Consortium, which offers a warehouse for its member publishers and an agreement with Lightning Source, a major POD vendor, to print and ship copies directly to consumers. We recommend setting up the title with POD (through Lightning Source) to print any additional copies needed for customer orders. Because of the arrangement with the warehouse, POD titles through Lightning Source are returnable, unlike with most POD printers. POD orders through Lightning Source typically ship to the customer a day or two after the order is placed.

If the UNT Press accepts your title (see a template of the UNT Press marketing/distribution agreement), they will offer to list it as “distributed by UNT Press” in one of their seasonal catalogs (fall and spring) used to advertise to libraries and bookstores, on the UNT Press website, and on the Texas Book Consortium website. You will be able to choose the retail price for the title as long as it’s above 3.9 times the cost of manufacture with Lightning Source, which accounts for the “short” discount on the retail price expected by retailers and wholesalers and for the distributor’s fee. You receive 40% of the remainder (net income from sales).

Note that bookstores will only order your book on a “short” discount if a customer requests it or the bookstore orders for a special purpose, such as your book being adopted for use as a textbook. If you want your book to be stocked by retail bookstores, you will need a “trade” discount, which will require you to set a retail price that is at least 5 times above the cost of manufacture with Lightning Source.

In return for UNT Press’s vote of confidence in your title, you will be required to keep at least 100 copies of the book in their warehouse available for sale. These can be printed by Lightning Source, which offers a discount for bulk orders.

An alternative to POD is to arrange to pay for print runs of the book as needed for as long as you wish to keep the book in print.

In either case, UNT Press monitors sales levels and inventory and will advise on print quantities and get quotes from printer for reprinting. The final choice on the quantity is your decision, and you will be responsible for paying the printer’s invoice.

Printing Services at UNT

UNT Policy 04.022 requires that university departments on the Denton campus use Printing Services for all printing and copying requests. Printing Services can handle many types of printing and binding on site, including of paperback books (with “perfect” binding), and they can seek bids from outside printers when more efficient. There is a form to request an estimate from Printing Services.

Departments are not required to use Printing Services when setting up a product for POD only since Printing Services does not offer this service.

Note that despite its name, PDS does not offer “distribution” services in the book industry sense (storing inventory, accepting orders and payment, and shipping products). Also note that Printing Services is related to Eagle Images, another department within PDS, which produces coursepacks and offers a narrower range printing services directly to members of the campus community.

Faculty-authored instructional materials

Since a conflict of interest arises when an instructor requires that students acquire a textbook for which they receive royalty income, the provost’s office has developed a procedure and form for faculty to seek clearance to use self-authored instructional materials.