While many publishers exploring POD focus on the cost issues, the issue of returns (always a touchy subject for publishers) must also be addressed:
I see POD as simply an economical way to manufacture books without tying up limited capital in inventory. Some review media and bookstores seem to think it’s a problem: the NYTBR categorically refuses to consider POD books; one local store has special policies for dealing with POD (as I assume others do). The real problem is that I will not accept returns, not POD.
Ken also talks about the importance of an author’s self-promotion capabilities when evaluating a title. Certainly many publishers already consider speaking engagements, readings, and signings; few are putting enough weight on digital networking, like blogging and blog tours.
He adds that "each book we publish is selected with the author’s network capabilities in mind; in addition to asking if a book is good, we also ask if the author can help promote it through his/her networks, speaking engagements, website, readings, etc. We emphasize to authors that publishing is a partnership, even with commercial publishers (most authors just don’t know that)."