Recently there have been a lot of negative comments about Lulu and print on demand fulfillment in general. I just wanted to make a very brief post about this. There is not doubt that POD, Lulu in particular, can cause issues. Sometimes the printers ship shoddy products, whether it be low ink prints, missing pages, etc. However, I've only ever been informed of one problem with one of my products from Lulu (knock on wood). It happens, but not commonly, and when it does happen the situation is corrected (even though dealing with Lulu customer service can be nerve wracking).
Beyond that issue though, there are some very good advantages to POD products. As a small publisher who creates products for a narrow niche market, I generally don't want the financial risk of a print run. I will make an exception for the Labyrinth Lord core book and some other books that go into distribution, but only with certain print numbers because I have a feel for how well they sell. For some products, though, POD is the only way to go. In addition, Goblinoid Games is not my main job. It's my hobby. Many people don't realize that it is the same for many small publishers, even though they probably wouldn't phrase it that way. I don't want the hassle of fulfilling orders. I can do it for the short term, for special short print runs or sales, but in general I just don't have time to fulfill orders daily indefinitely, so POD is a godsend in that regard. I can upload products, and they deal with fulfilling the order.
I think this is where much of the "industry" will end up in coming years, with a few exceptions of the big companies or the old well established brands. Nonetheless I am going to go into traditional distribution to see how things go, but only in a very calculated way so that if things don't go well I'm not hurt very much.
Anyway, the point is, yes you can be a "real" publisher even if you only offer print products as POD titles. The stigma of POD, to the extent it exists, must and will disappear. It has to simply because we have no choice. It's where things are going.