Print or Publish?

Department: 

Dear Friends: Early Friends thought of themselves as “Publishers of Truth.” Friends were, and are, prolific writers. Today, as self-publication becomes easier, Friends might learn a bit more about publishing.

Just making copies of something you have created, whether few or many, no matter how well bound, is printing. It is NOT publishing. Publishing is an act that publicly states: 1) who created the work, 2) who produced and distributes it, 3) where and when it was published, and 4) in what forms it is published (hardbound, paperback, CD, etc.).

The publishing process exists to make your work accessible to general commerce and libraries. Your published work will have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). It will have a title page listing the full title, author, and publisher. On the verso (back of title page) will be the copyright date, name of the copyright holder, ISBN, name and contact information of the publishers, and perhaps some content categories or library cataloging information. Nowadays, anything published is also expected to have the 13-digit ISBN with barcode on the back of the book, CD case, etc.

Some organizations have little awareness of their role as publishers. The current editions of Faith and Practice of both Pacific and North Pacific Yearly Meetings were printed, but not published. You want to drive archivists crazy? A Quaker college library might be collecting books of Faith and Practice; and it might never learn about the ones that were not properly published.

To properly publish a work, purchase an ISBN from Bowker (www.myidentifiers.com). Get a free barcode from Barcodes, Inc. (www.barcodesinc.com). Show that you respect your ideas by putting them in a quality format on paper that will last. Artwork or a colorful print layout on the cover tells your readers that you value them. You may ask a few well-respected folks in your field to write brief reviews you can print on the back cover. These quotes validate your work and help it sell.

Make booksellers, librarians, and readers your friends. Show your respect for these people, as well as your work, by not merely printing, but publishing.

– Tom and Sandy Farley, Palo Alto Friends Meeting (PYM)

[Click here for a more detailed version of the above tutorial.]