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Print-On-Demand: What You Need to Know

After the exhausting task of writing a novel that probably took you years and deciding to self-publish, the next important decision is about the mode of printing. A book printing service is a company that will take your digital manuscript and convert it into a physical copy of your book. 

A print-on-demand service is a printing service that allows you to print a copy of your book only when someone places an order, and not in bulk, which then happens to be offset printing. From print-on-demand and offset printing, how do you decide which book printing service is the best for your book? Would you rather print out books as the orders flow in, or have a stack of books printed (for a lesser cost) and run the risk of having unsold leftovers?

In our blog post, How to Choose the Best Book Printing Services for Your Needs, we discussed the differences between offset printing and print-on-demand services, from the quality of printing to the cost. Here, our focus shifts to one of these services: print-on-demand (POD).

Pros of Print-On-Demand:

1. Less Starting Costs

Most authors go into self-publishing due to the creative control you get when writing and publishing your book. But, if you don’t learn how to take care of each aspect of the book publishing process, the costs incurred can be quite alarming, going way out of your budget. One such aspect that would require a significant upfront payment is the book printing process. 

When you go for offset printing, you need to allocate a large amount of money for the printing, even before you have buyers for your book. If you’re working with a light budget, print-on-demand might be the best choice for you — there are less starting costs, since you pay per book as the orders start pouring in.

2. Takes Control of the Packaging and the Shipping

Having to handle the technical aspects of book publishing can, frankly, be anxiety-inducing. It requires you to know about packaging, shipping and inventory. When you go with POD, the POD companies have qualified staff that take care of all these, which means you don’t need to worry about shipping the books on time!

3. No Stocking Needed

One of the biggest cons of offset printing is one of the biggest pros of POD. Printing a set of books in bulk even before you have orders means you need to allocate a separate space for them to be stored. The stocking and storage costs can be a huge problem, especially after you spend a fortune to get the books printed in bulk. With POD, all of these costs are reduced, while your books don’t also (technically) go out-of-stock.

Cons of Print-On-Demand:

1. Lesser Profit Margin

While POD doesn’t require a large upfront payment, at the end of the day, the cost per book is higher than in offset printing, since books are printed as the orders are received, individually or in small batches. The more books you print at once, the lesser the per-book cost. Which means, when the per book cost is high, there is a lesser profit margin. If you’re to keep a higher profit for yourself, you’ll have to end up increasing the price of the book.

2. Takes a Longer Time

With POD, it takes a longer time for buyers to receive their books, since books are printed after they place their orders. You can get around this by simply informing your readers beforehand, so they know the cause for the delay.

3. Quality Might be Compromised

While the technology used in printing these books is getting better, the quality hasn’t caught up to the standards of offset printing yet. Moreover, PoD doesn’t offer a fancy finishing for hardcovers, like embossing, spot gloss UV, or color photo inserts.



Sharika Hafeez

Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.

July 30, 2022

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