The printing technology and business process known as print-on-demand (POD) means that a book is printed when the company receives an order. POD has transformed publishing, allowing books to be published one at a time rather than in large quantities that are then stored in warehouses.
For publishers, this means no need for a significant upfront investment or storage costs; books can be produced “on demand.”
Self-published authors can now print small numbers of their books without paying huge costs associated with traditional methods. They only need to publish more copies if they demand them – hence, the POD or “print-on-demand.”
Traditional publishing involves printing large batches of the same title and hoping they sell; if they don’t, the publisher is left with many unsold copies to shift.
One potential drawback of print-on-demand (POD) is that quality might be lower than traditionally printed books, and turnaround times may take longer.
Booksellers might find print-on-demand (POD) more expensive, too. A publisher’s unit cost per copy will be higher because it won’t have made such a giant bulk purchase from its printer but ordered smaller amounts over time.
Overall, print-or-demand (POD) takes much less financial risk out of publishing by allowing companies – particularly self-publishers – to test their markets with less money tied up in costly stock.