Print-on-demand (POD) publishing is a way to have books immediately printed and bound after a customer places an order for the book. The computer, the internet, and POD technology have together been fueling the huge surge in self-publishing. This is because it is a very fast and inexpensive way to get your books into the hands of your customers and readers.
Whether the customer orders one copy or ten, these copies will be created, within minutes, and sent out to that customer – therefore no inventory for the publisher or the distributor to buy and put into storage. This process can happen this way because the book printer has a digital file of the book and its cover in its computerized book-making machine. The self-publisher can make changes and additions to the book within minutes – and upload the new files to the printer in minutes.
Beneficial to Large Publishers
Print-on-demand publishing has been revolutionizing the publishing industry. Many large publishers use it as a cost-effective way to keep their out-of-print titles in print. Very large publishers can very easily have hundreds of out-of-print titles. Why warehouse actual copies of these books when the publisher can simply send a digital file of each book to a print-on-demand printer? With the POD method, these out-of-print titles can continue to produce income for the publisher.
Beneficial to Self-publishers
Print-on-demand publishing is one of the main reasons self-publishing has become so popular and financially feasible for many people on a tight budget. The upfront costs of POD are much lower than conventional publishing and printing. The cost per copy is higher with POD. But with POD, there is no inventory involved. Traditional book printers typically require that a self-publisher order thousands of copies from the printer. With POD, no purchase is required. This represents a real opportunity for small start-ups in the publishing world. This transforms the economics of publishing. It allows books to be published with a very small initial investment and ongoing cost.
What About the Quality?
POD books are printed in about one minute on computerized copy and binding machines. Traditionally printed books are often printed on large-scale printing presses. Consumers cannot tell the difference between a POD book and a printing press book.
It is very easy to set-up a POD account, and can be started with very little out-of-pocket money. And thankfully, it can provide a small but steady stream of income for the self-publisher. POD also eliminates most of the risks associated with publishing.