Maybe that's because in comics publishing history, there has more recently been cases of artists and writers having the rights to their creations taken from them for what turned out to be the tiniest fraction of what that creation proved to be worth. Doing it yourself means if you get screwed, it's your own fault. You don't see other people making money from your creation. This is not as much of a problem in the traditional publishing world, where writers get to keep their copyrights and the high-profile work is not work-for-hire. You don't get recognition and esteem in traditional publishing by writing about pre-existing characters created sixty years ago and owned by a corporation. (Though there is a lot of success to be found in writing "sequels" to Pride and Prejudice, apparently.)
What Dan asked me -- after watching the videos at OnDemandBooks.com (I laughed where the narrator says, "capital expenditure limitations" -- classic business-nonsense-speak for what the rest of us call a "budget") -- is if I thought there was much market there for POD from university students, and I said perhaps, but I thought there was still a stigma in regards to self-publishing in the literary world, one that exists to a much lesser extent in the comics world. Perhaps MFA students would like to have bound copies of their novels, but most of them would not regard that as "publishing" their book, and wouldn't be fooled into thinking that a printed, bound copy of their novel is an actual "book." This got me wondering if it was just my own prejudices doing the thinking.
It seems more people have bought self-published books than I thought. It is silly of me to be surprised by this, as most of what I buy when I go to comic conventions are mini-comics, which are just low-budget versions of self-publishing, and much more charming, I think. However, I've never bought a self-published novel or anything like that. I must face my own snobbishness, I suppose.
Personally, I would use it to print limited quantities of stuff for friends and family (like I did with SLG's 20th Anniversary book, which was a present to my boss), but I know how difficult distribution is, so I know there's not much hope of getting self-published books into bookstores. It's hard enough for independent publishers like us.