Quite a few of the people reading this blog are writing a book; or they have written one; or they've written a dozen. And most of those people, pretty much by definition, are not going to be able to interest a front-rank, commercial publisher. As a result, many of those authors are going to begin to think about publishing the book themselves.
I can't claim to have explored this field all that thoroughly in recent years. I did explore it thoroughly about seven yers ago, and decided on an arrangement for publishing my own books which suits me very well. But that was then. Things have changed.
However, if you live in the UK, there are certainly a few firms which seem to me to be sensible, down to earth, do not indulge in hard-selling methods, and which seem likely, on the face of it, to be able to provide you with services at a reasonable cost.
One such is RPM print and design of Chichester. Click on 'short run books' on their menu and you will find a good deal of useful information. There is a practical guide to self-publishing, plus a pdf of the first issue of an occasional magazine which they have been handing out for free.
You won't come to any harm if you read either of these. There are some interesting snippets from bigwigs at Waterstone's, Ottakar's, and Gardners; plus case studies; and at least one dreadful warning.
Admittedly the tone of all this is a tad more optimistic about the likely outcome of self-publishing than I think is justified by the facts. But then this is a firm which is selling its services, after all.
And besides, maybe it isn't overoptimistic. A friend of mine has a book which was published commercially in Malaya and which isn't even listed on Amazon, but he has been able to sell a goodly number in his local bookshops, despite that. However, you do need to be a bit of a born salesman to tackle the locals. And I'm not.
Another UK firm which looks promising is one which I have mentioned before -- see my post of 29 November 2004. Its name is Matador.