- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Print-on-demand books are produced by dozens of small publishers eager to put what they hope will be immortal words into print.

FirstBooks, Ipublish, Xlibris, Greatunpublished.com and Iuniverse are just some of the POD companies out there. Xlibris was founded in 1997 by John Feldcamp, a science fiction writer who had difficulty getting his work published. Realizing that technology had advanced to a point where people could publish their own books quickly and inexpensively, he founded the company in a garage in Trenton, N.J.

The company now operates out of Philadelphia's Historic District on Walnut Street. It has 4,000 titles in its database, of which it has sold 150,000 copies.

Typically, an author pays up to $1,200 to have his or her book laid out, given a cover design, assigned an ISBN (book ID number) and registered with major on-line booksellers. Then the book will exist as an on-line file.

Once a buyer places an order, the file is transmitted to a POD vendor, which creates the physical book in minutes and ships it to the consumer.

"We're not a profitable company yet," says Rowland LaPlante of Xlibris, "but we're building out the technology required to do this at a very low expense.

"We print what the author wants but not pornography or something dangerous. We won't be printing out any bomb instructions."

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