The Benefits of Print-on-Demand

Print-on-demand (POD) is a digital printing technology in which books can be printed one at a time. Thus copies do not need to be printed until an order has been received.

Before digital printing was developed printing just a single copy of a book was extremely uneconomical. Now, using POD, copies can be printed for a fixed cost per copy, no matter how many books there are in a print run.

While the unit cost in POD is higher than with conventional printing, the average cost is lower for very small print runs, as setup costs are much higher (and take a lot longer) in conventional printing.

POD means you only pay for the books you sell, as a book is not printed until a sale has been made.

Thus you don’t have to keep large inventories in stock – which reduces your storage, handling and accounting costs – and you are not saddled with unsold copies which can deteriorate quickly should the market fail to appreciate your literary talents.

With print-on-demand your book is never ‘out of stock’ or ‘out of print’. Indeed many academic publishers use POD to maintain their back-list.

Larger publishers sometimes use POD for reprinting older titles which are out of print or for carrying out test marketing.

As a self-publisher, you can use POD to complement your e-book by handing out printed versions as gifts for family and friends and, more importantly, as review copies – getting your book reviewed favourably is very important if you are to market your book successfully.

You can also use it to support a proposal to a commissioning editor in a traditional publishing house, once your sales have picked up a bit. Major publishers are usually reluctant to take on writers who have not proved their pulling power.

To sum up, although the unit cost per copy is much greater than for conventionally printed books, print-on-demand is a useful tool for small publishers because it:

  • has faster set-up times
  • avoids waste from unsold books
  • eliminates the costs of holding stocks of books, thus reducing storage, handling and accounting costs, and
  • can be used for submissions to major publishers

To find out more about POD or for free no-obligation advice on self-publishing from Thorn Island, you can contact us as follows:

Telehone: from Ireland: 087-4163688 or from other countries: +353-87-4163688

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