PQN, Print Quantity Needed, is being touted in some circles as the hot new thing in self-publishing. Others, notably our own Jim Macdonald, think it’s the same old thing:
HapiSofi, whom I’ve excerpted here before, lit into the subject at Absolute Write:
More and more authors react to the letters “POD” the way Dracula reacts to the Cross, so the POD publishers needed a new TLA PDQ. “PQN” is it.
“PQN” is a meaningless term. POD meant something specific: you could print books as needed without incurring additional setup costs. That was definitely something new under the sun. But PQN? Everybody “prints quantity needed.” They just use different methods to do it.
We “printed quantity needed” when we hand-fed single sheets onto a page of hand-set hand-inked type, then phoned out for stir-fried Anomalocaris with sesame noodles. We “printed quantity needed” when we bolted metal stereotypes onto press rollers, ran off pallets full of extra F&Gs, and had cold roast dinosaur on rye in our lunchboxes. And we “printed quantity needed” when digital typography was keystrokes saved to a punched paper tape then output to photographic paper, our repro was pasted down with hot wax on sheets of cardboard, and we went to the diner across the street for our crispy giant ground sloth nuggets with a side order of fries.