What is Print-on-Demand?

print on demand outfitsThe Monday “What Is That?” Series today features print-on-demand.

In today’s publishing landscape there are many opportunities for the independently published author.

The question clients often ask me is “How do I print my books?” and “What is print on demand?”

For an author who decides to independently publish or who is considering it, printing your books can be a confusing process.

Not only does the book need to be designed well and have an excellent cover (we do still judge a book by its cover!), how you print your book affects how your book is distributed and ultimately how the readers get their hands on your book.

You have 3 main options as an independently published author:

  1. Print-on-demand (POD): You submit your digital files to a printer and they will mail you a proof that looks EXACTLY like your book will. The POD outfits will generally then load your book on to Amazon and other online book stores for your readers to buy directly from them. The two big POD outfits are: Lightning Source (owned by Ingram, a book distributor), and Create Space (owned by Amazon.) Here’s a discussion on the pros and cons of each that I had nothing to do with. (No sense in reinventing the wheel…)
  2. Off set printing: These types of printers will print the quantity you request. Of course, the more you print the cheaper the per book cost. Overseas printing is cheapest, but then you need to factor in shipping. I haven’t worked with off set printers, though if you email me I can recommend some. If you print this way, you need to then hand sell, use a book distributor, or store books in your home, or some of all of the above.
  3. Pay-to-play publishers: I call these hybrid publishers. They have an established brand, or will create one for you. You usually pay for a variety of services, or a la carte, like design, editing, marketing, printing, shipping, etc. You get the benefit of working with a team of experts, knowledgeable about your market, you hope. And you can benefit from their established brand.

If you’re curious to see the breakdown of these 3 options and to get a few more recommendations of some pay-to-play publishers, download the complimentary report, Discover Your Publishing Options Now.

**Disclaimer: I’ve published all my books via Lightning Source and like them very much! I haven’t used Create Space, though heard that the paper quality can be not as good. Ask to see samples no matter who you work with!

Last but not least, the means of production are now in the hands of the producers. Does this mean communism has hit the book world?! What do you think?

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