What is print on demand, and how does it benefit you as a self-published author?
When you’re new to the self-publishing world, there are understandably a lot of questions you need answers to, including what is print on demand and how does it benefit you as an author. It’s one of the questions we’re commonly asked. What is print-on-demand, and what are the pros and cons of POD services for self-published authors?
In the following article, we’ll look closer at the print-on-demand world of self-publishing, including why it’s been a game-changer for so many self-published authors! If you’re planning on self-publishing a book, you have two options:
- Find A Printer – This option involves you, as the author finding a printer. You then print a set amount of books and ship them to yourself. Finally, when someone buys one, you ship them to customers. There are pros and cons to this, including you being responsible for managing quality control, storage, and the upfront costs of the books.
- Utilize Print-On-Demand Services – If you use a print-on-demand service, they print and ship your books as people buy them. So you don’t ever handle the book. However, you also lose control of the quality, and the profit margin may not be as high with POD compared to printing and shipping books yourself.
What Is Print On Demand (POD)?
Print On Demand (POD) is when a customer orders your book from a self-publishing platform, such as IngramSpark or Amazon, and they print and ship the book directly to them. They don’t keep a stack of your books in the warehouse, just waiting for someone to order a copy.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on the two biggest POD companies for self-published authors and where most new authors find themselves Amazon KDP and Ingram Spark. However, I will also mention that I did have the Australian Ingram Spark rep reach out to me via phone when I first started the company to talk about IngramSpark’s services which were nice and also educational.
Also, if you’re at the stage where you’re considering self-publishing and curious about who to self-publish with, check out this article the Best Self-Publishing Platforms to Self-Publish Your Book!
The Benefits of Print On Demand (POD) for Self-Published Authors
Let’s look at the benefits of print-on-demand for authors:
- There is low to zero financial outlay. This will depend on who you choose to self-publish with and the setup fees associated.
- You have no waste from unsold books. They simply print one as needed and ship it.
- There are no warehousing, additional handling, or inventory costs.
- Books are printed and shipped immediately, day, night, or on holiday. There’s no delay while you process and ship the order.
- You can evaluate a book’s popularity before investing in a more extensive print run.
- Consumers typically don’t know if you are self-published as all the books on platforms on Amazon are sold simply as books and not sold as POD.
- You can sell your book to a global audience without worrying about shipping.
- If you make an edit to your book, you aren’t stuck with a bunch of old copies of your book. Miss a sentence in a book, and all of a sudden, 100 books are worthless.
- You don’t have to worry about your books getting damaged while storing them and waiting to sell them or ship them to customers.
What Are the Limitations of Using POD Services?
It’s not all sunshine and roses when it comes to using print-on-demand services, and it pays to be aware of the limitations POD services have and how they affect you as an author.
- There is often a limited range of paper, binding, and trim sizes.
- Some finishing options will have a higher cost which will add to printing costs and reduce your royalties.
- You don’t have any control over the finished quality, and if someone receives a poorly printed book, you don’t know unless they reach out to you as the author or leave negative feedback.
- The convenience of POD isn’t free, and you may make less money from a POD book compared to a book you print and ship yourself, depending on how much you pay for printing and shipping.
What Books Are Best Suited to Using a POD Service?
Not all books are suited to print on demand. For example, if you’re self-publishing a large photo book or recipe book, which contains a lot of color photos, then you would probably be better off sourcing a local printing service where you can evaluate different print options, paper types, and quality.
Print-on-demand services are best suited to novels, self-help books, motivational books, poetry books, business books, and children’s books. However, if you are using print-on-demand services for children’s books, the printing costs will be higher.
Print On Demand (POD) for Self-Published Authors! – Conclusion
Hopefully, that answers all of your questions about POD and how you, as an author, can benefit from the availability of high-quality POD services. If you need any assistance with paperback formatting, ebook formatting, or any book design and layout to utilize print-on-demand services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Author Services Australia.
Have you used any print-on-demand services to sell and print your books? How did you find their quality and service? Would you recommend them to other self-published authors? Comment below!