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What is print on demand?

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What is print on demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a technology that prints books only when there’s a demand – meaning when someone orders your book. This approach cuts down the need for a large inventory, reduces waste, and offers a cost-effective pathway for independent authors to get their work into the hands of readers.

How does print on demand work?

Here’s how it typically works: you create your manuscript and cover design, and then upload these files to a POD platform. When a customer orders your book, the platform prints, binds, and ships the book directly to them. This setup frees you from handling physical stock and fulfillment, letting you focus on your writing and marketing.

Why choose print on demand?

  • Cost efficiency: Avoid the big upfront costs associated with traditional print runs.
  • Risk reduction: You only print what you sell, so there’s no risk of unsold stock.
  • Flexibility: Easily update your content or cover design without incurring significant costs.
  • Accessibility: Anyone with a manuscript can publish a book, bypassing traditional barriers to entry in the publishing world.

Choosing the right POD platform

Here are some top platforms that specialise in print on demand for books, each with unique offerings:

  1. KDP Print: An extension of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, KDP Print allows authors to easily integrate print and digital publishing with the benefit of Amazon’s vast distribution network.
  2. Lulu: Known for its extensive range of book formats and binding options, Lulu also offers global distribution capabilities that help authors reach readers through major retail channels.
  3. Blurb: Great for creating beautiful photo books, trade books, and magazines. Blurb is particularly popular among photographers, designers, and authors looking to produce visually stunning books.
  4. IngramSpark: Favoured by indie authors and small publishers for its wide distribution network, IngramSpark makes your book available in over 39,000 retailers and libraries worldwide, including major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  5. BookBaby (USA): If you prefer a comprehensive service, BookBaby provides editing, design, and marketing services in addition to printing. They offer package deals that handle everything from eBook conversion to worldwide distribution.

Each platform has its strengths and ideal use cases, and the best choice depends on your specific needs – whether it’s broad distribution, print quality, or additional publishing services. Dive into the world of print on demand, select the platform that best suits your project, and start your publishing adventure with confidence.