For many, POD's have become the scourge of book listing sites. No, we aren't talking about podcasts, though some of those can be annoying too. Rather, we mean the Print on Demand books that now infest the listing sites like fleas on a dog. For book collectors, they are just about as welcome. Once upon a time, they were few and far between, an occasional annoyance while searching for a collectible book. Today, you may have to wade through a couple dozen of them and still not find a single copy of what you want.
Naturally, listing sites are happy to have as many listings as possible. They pay the bills. Still, the overabundance of POD listings had become so irritating to true book buyers that the sites developed ways to avoid them. POD opt-out buttons have become common now with the major sites. This is even more important to collectors than to those looking to buy a cheap used book for school or pleasure. The rare books are the ones where there are few published copies available, but a plethora of sellers looking to print one on demand.
It's with this background that we are pleased to note the announcement by Bookfinder.com that they are now offering a "No POD" button on their site. Bookfinder is a book meta-search site. They search numerous listing sites, including the majors like AbeBooks, Biblio, Amazon and Alibris. The combined results are then presented, particularly useful if you are seeking an extremely hard to find book. In their announcement, Bookfinder explained, "The filter has been added in response to the large number of print on demand books that are now listed for sale on the websites that partner with BookFinder.
"POD books, which are usually out-of-print titles, are suitable for customers interested in the content of a particular book. However, they are unappealing to collectors who prefer to see the original editions of a title. With so many sellers able to offer POD titles via large catalogs, search results for older, collectible books can be dominated by print on demand offers."
What makes this announcement particularly significant is that Bookfinder is even able to offer this service. The individual sites first had to make the selection to eliminate POD books available before Bookfinder could. The realization has sunk in with the listing sites that while POD books, like eBooks, have their place, it is not in the middle of a search for traditional printed books.
The Bookfinder opt-out button has the added advantage of being "sticky." Once you click the opt-out button, you will not see POD books in any of your searches going forward unless you choose to opt back in.