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        What are Print-on-Demand Books? Cost and Process in 2024

        • calenderJan 23, 2024
        • calender 5 min read

        Welcome to the world of print-on-demand, a game-changer in the realm of book publishing! Gone are the days of large print runs and stockpiling unsold copies in warehouses. With book print-on-demand, books are printed as they are ordered, making it an incredibly efficient and eco-friendly option. Whether you’re an aspiring author, a small publishing house, or just a book enthusiast, understanding how print-on-demand works can open up a world of possibilities. 

        If you are someone who wants to know how to print a book on demand, you are at the right place. So, let’s dive in and explore what print-on-demand books really mean for the future.

        Start your book journey. Get premium print-on-demand services!

        What is print-on-demand?

        Print-on-demand (POD) is a digital printing technology that allows for books to be printed in small quantities or even one at a time. This method contrasts with traditional bulk printing, where large numbers of books are printed in advance. 

        Print-on-demand allows publishers and authors to print books on order, reducing storage needs and the risk of excess inventory. This method is ideal for self-published authors, small presses, and niche publications, providing an economical and efficient solution to fulfill reader demand without the costs associated with large print runs.

        We hope that what is a print-on-demand book is now clear from the definition of print-on-demand. Now we will look into how does print on demand works.

        How does print-on-demand work?

        What is print-on-demand book publishing? It is a streamlined, tech-driven process that prints books only as they are ordered, avoiding large stockpiles. The process includes:

        • Digital File Creation: Book formatting is done into digital files, including text, graphics, and cover.
        • Listing on Platforms: These files are uploaded to print-on-demand platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, where they’re listed for sale.
        • Customer Order: Orders are received by the print-on-demand service.
        • Printing: Publishing companies print books on demand using digital technology, suitable for single copies or small batches.
        • Binding and Quality Check: Print-on-demand hardcover books and paperbacks are bound and subjected to thorough quality checks.
        • Shipping and Fulfillment: Completed books are shipped to customers or retailers.
        • Royalties and Reporting: Authors or publishers get sales reports and royalties, calculated as a percentage of the sale price minus printing and handling costs.

        How print-on-demand books are delivered using the print-on-demand publishing process.

        Pros and cons of print-on-demand

        If you are looking to print books on demand, it is important to know the disadvantages and benefits of the print-on-demand book publishing process.


        • Reduced Financial Risk: Print-on-demand eliminates the need for large upfront investments in printing, reducing the financial risks associated with unsold inventory.
        • No Storage Required: Since books are printed as they are ordered, there’s no need for large storage spaces or dealing with excess stock.
        • Environmentally Friendly: To print a book on demand is more sustainable, as it reduces paper waste and energy consumption associated with overprinting.
        • Accessibility for Authors: It provides an accessible platform for self-published authors and small publishers who might not have the resources for large print runs.
        • Flexibility: Print-on-demand allows for easy updates and revisions of the book without wasting existing printed stock.
        • Global Distribution: Many print-on-demand book services offer worldwide distribution, making it easier to reach a global audience.


        • Higher Per-Unit Cost: Printing individual books or small batches is generally more expensive per unit than bulk printing.
        • Limited Customization and Quality: There might be limitations in terms of print quality, paper types, and binding options like when one wants a print-on-demand hardcover book, compared to traditional printing.
        • Longer Delivery Times: As books are printed upon order, the delivery time can be longer than with books that are readily available in stock.
        • Reduced Profit Margins: The higher print-on-demand cost per book can lead to smaller profit margins for authors and publishers.
        • Dependence on Service Providers: Quality and speed depend heavily on the print-on-demand service provider, which can vary significantly.
        • Limited Retail Presence: Books printed on demand might not always be available in physical bookstores, which typically prefer stocking books from traditional bulk print runs.

        How much does a print-on-demand book cost?

        The cost of print-on-demand books can vary widely based on several factors. Here’s a breakdown of what can influence the price:

        • Size and page count
        • Interior type and color
        • Paper quality
        • Cover type and design
        • Binding type
        • Volume of orders
        • Print-on-demand service provider

        On average, the base cost for printing a standard book-sized 6″x 9″ paperback book through a print-on-demand books service can range from $2 to $5 for a black and white interior with about 150 to 200 pages. Adding color interiors or opting for hardcover binding can push the price higher, potentially over $10 per copy.

        Practical tip: Keep in mind, that this cost only covers printing. If you’re selling your book, you’ll need to price it higher than this base cost to cover additional expenses like distribution fees, taxes, and your profit margin.

        Print-on-demand vs. traditional printing

        Moving away from old ways of publishing and into the world of print-on-demand is exciting. It’s not just about getting creative; it’s also about a smarter, more reader-friendly way to share what you know and the stories you want to tell. With book print-on-demand services, independent authors can easily publish their works without the need for large print runs or substantial upfront costs. In the ever-changing landscape of books and publishing, the power of print is just a click away!

        As experts in self-publishing services who provide print-on-demand, we hope our article will make your printing and publishing journey easier!

        If you want to know more about publishing, keep on reading our articles.

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        Tanvi Linkedin

        With a foundation in Life Sciences, Tanvi enjoys curating technical writing tips tailored for ESL students. When she's not translating complex concepts into bite-sized nuggets, she can be found playing with dogs or painting landscapes.

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