Publish Your Opus at Politics and Prose
The legendary Chevy Chase, DC, independent bookstore and coffeehouse takes bookselling to a whole new level—letting patrons publish their own manuscripts at a reasonable price.
For anyone who's ever dreamed of publishing a book some day, that day has arrived.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 10 all it takes is a trip to Politics and Prose with a copy of your manuscript (saved to a thumbdrive or CD) in hand, and you, too, can be a published author in about 10 minutes.
(One caveat: You have to write the manuscript first.)
The famed Politics and Prose bookstore at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC, has been a Chevy Chase institution for over a quarter of a century. It has endured recessions, a change of ownership, the rise of bargain booksellers and e-books because it offers something unique to the community—an independent bookstore with a wide selection of books, nightly readings and coffee.
And now, it also offers Opus—and is one of only a handful of bookstores in the country to do so.
Opus is a little bit like a photocopy machine on steroids. It can print one book at a time in four to 10 (or so) minutes, depending on the length of the book. The finished book has stiff, colored paperback covers and text on either white or cream stock paper. It looks like something you'd pick up at a bookstore—because, of course, it is.
Besides your manuscript, Opus can also print out millions of out-of-print or hard-to-find books. As long as the books are in public domain (i.e., out of copyright), they can be printed on Opus, which prints the books out from Google Books.
Politics and Prose introduced Opus to "provide an additional service for our customers," explained store owner Lissa Muscatine.
Opus also helps the bookstore stay technologically relevant and up-to-date, Muscatine added. Customers can publish anything—novels, stories, receipes, letters, memoirs, poetry, etc.
At Opus' community debut on Wednesday night, the bookstore was packed, standing-room-only, with would-be published authors eager to learn more about the bookstore's new arrival.
"I think that we'll be busy tomorrow," added Politics and Prose employee David Maritz, who will be running Opus.
Publishing a book on Opus is reasonably priced at $7 a book plus 2 cents a page. The book can be any size, from 4.5-by-5.5 inches to 8.5-by-11 inches. The minimum length is 40 pages (smaller than that, and the binding won't hold together), and the books can go up to 400 or so pages long. Longer manuscripts can be printed in two or more volumes. Print as many copies as you'd like, then sell them on your own, or give them as gifts.
(When purchasing out-of-print or hard-to-get books off of Opus, customers pay the bookstore's price for the book.)
And, because Opus prints from a PDF file, it can print in any language, font or type size. It prints illustrations, too, but all text and illustrations inside the book are in black and white. Covers are in color.
The original goal of Opus was to "bring Shakespeare to Africa," explained Thor Sigvaldason, chief technology officer of On Demand Books, which developed the machine in the early 2000s.
But, while Sigvaldason has brought Opus to Egypt, he's also found Opus to be "a machine to satisfy an immense latent desire" of many people to be a published author of a tangible book.
If you fit that description, and have a manuscript ready to go, stop by Politics and Prose, or email your manuscript to Opus@politics-prose.com. Finished books can be mailed to customers.
Then, get ready to do some autographing!