On demand publishing or Print on Demand (POD) publishing is a current printing method in which books are printed as needed. No printing beforehand means money isn’t tied up in inventory and publishers do not have to store unsold books.
Although POD publishing is the usual printing method for subsidy publishers (so-called “self-publishing companies”), even traditional book publishing companies are switching to POD for some titles.
Consider these as some of the advantages of the On Demand Publishing method:
- It does not require storage of books. Unlike traditional publishing, you don’t need to print books in advance. Once a book is sold, it is produced and delivered.
- Publishing companies do not have to think about selling printed books and fear getting the books being damaged or becoming outdated over time.
- On demand publishing allows a publishing company to test new titles without large expenditures for printing, shipping and storage.
- Both large and small publishing companies can keep titles with low demand in print and available for longer periods. With on demand publishing, the only cost of keep a book “in print” may be the minimal cost of storage of the digital files on a computer.
The primary disadvantage of on demand publishing is that the cost per unit is higher than when books are printed in large quantities. For example, a book that can be printed for $1 a copy in quantities of 5000 may cost $3 or more when printed on demand. However, there are interest and opportunity costs in having to fund a large print run (and ship and store those books) that can more than make up for the difference in unit costs.
To conclude, on demand publishing is an economical and effective method of publishing. It allows many publishers to keep a wider variety of titles in print and available without the risk of printing thousands of books that may not sell.