Print-on-demand publishing continues to rise in popularity. Lulu.com has published more than 320,000 titles, created by people in more than 80 countries, with more than 5,000 new titles added each week. Amazon.com offers a similar service via its CreateSpace, which also produces film and audio on DVDs and CDs. Blurb.com makes available 11,000 self-published titles. The interfaces on these Web sites now make it easier than ever to publish and make changes to books without cost to the author. Candice Choi, Associated Press Writer, “Got a manuscript? Publishing now a snap,” The Boston Globe, January 1, 2008.
So, the question is, how do libraries collect these self-published books? A lot of librarians depend on published reviews or approval plans for collection development, neither which really cover this market. I suppose one way would be to look at these sites' best seller lists (1, 2) as a starting point.
Librarians have an obligation to consider these sources if they hope to develop diverse collections.