There are, as you may have observed, a considerable number of thoughtful and intelligent people out there, people who are prepared to put in substantial amounts of work for no immediate benefit -- and not much obvious long-term benefit, either. Thank goodness for them; we are all indebted to them.
One of these hard-working people is Paula Guran, who has produced a lengthy essay (I suppose you'd have to call it) on Print on Demand and the treatment of same by Locus magazine.
Just by way of background: Locus concentrates on science fiction, fantasy and horror, and its web site always includes a generous amount of free info and lots of links to more of the same. I look at it once a month and never fail to learn something new and to garner the title of a book or two worth searching for.
Print on demand (aka POD) is a modern publishing technique which the phrase itself more or less describes. In other words, it is a computer-based printing system which makes it unnecessary for publishers to print 1,000 copies of a book and store them in a warehouse until a bookseller orders one. Instead, the publisher simply stores the book, in digital form, on a computer, and the system prints off one copy, or 43, or whatever, as and when they are needed.
Because POD has been used by several vanity presses, some people have got all sniffy about it -- Locus, it seems, being to the forefront. Paula Guran has taken it upon herself to sort out fact from confusion in this area.
Anyone who is interested in the economics of publishing, or the chances of getting published, should take a careful look at Paula's essay. And congratulations to Locus for listing it on their web site and admitting that she puts them straight on the issue.
Later note, 11 May. Paula Guran has written to me as follows:
I do feel I should point out that the article is not completely germane to anything other than the specific LOCUS article, though, rather than POD per se.
To put it in context: Locus is the trade magazine of the sf/f field. As such, it offers a yearly summary of the year in sf/f books. What started out around five years ago to be a reasonable (or at least consistent) definition of POD has eroded with time. What was said year-to-year became somewhat nonsensical and their policy concerning POD books became inconsistent. I'm just hoping to get them to update their thinking.
Also, the print magazine has no editorial connection with the Web magazine. So LOCUS has not "admitted" anything nor have they acknowledged the article that came out on April 30.