Does Print On Demand Threaten
Internet Booksellers?

Many Internet booksellers have asked me how print on demand (POD) services will affect the online book market. What they don’t know is that POD is the best thing for Internet bookselling since sliced bread!

What Is Print On Demand?

POD is a printing methodology combined with digital technology that can economically produce as few as a single copy of a paperback book.

Therefore, publishers can eliminate the burden of inventory and warehousing costs because books are not printed until orders are placed and paid for by consumers.

Even more cost savings are obtained through the implementation of distributive printing. This is achieved when POD equipment manufacturers partner with local printing plants sprinkled around the country.

When orders arrive, the printing is done on digital equipment at the printing plant nearest to the customer. Thus, inbound freight expenses are lower because the finished product has shorter distances to travel to publishers.

POD saves publishers money by shortening set-up time, providing instant printing capability, and giving them a permanent backlist of titles.

Another major advantage of print on demand is that the content and artwork exist in the form of a digital file.

Maintaining the book in digital file form is an advantage because it’s very easy to make revisions to the book and sell a new edition.

Producing a new edition of a traditionally printed book is expensive and time consuming.

That’s because traditional printing processes requires a great deal of manual manipulation of book files before it’s ready for offset printing.

Final adjustments to POD files occur automatically and no human intervention is necessary.

An example of this technological marvel is the Espresso Book Machine. As soon as a file is uploaded to the system printing can take place almost immediately.

Finally, unlike traditional books, publishers who utilize print on demand never have to allow titles to go out-of-print. Since the books exist in a digital format there are no carrying costs to store inventory and publishers can print one copy at a time as orders come in.

The Publishing Playing Field Is Leveled

Publishers aren’t the only ones who can reap the many benefits of POD publishing. Self-published authors have discovered that they can easily bypass traditional publishing channels and take their work directly to the buying public.

When an author lands a traditional publishing contract it can take as long as two years before the book is published. Even then, the author can expect to receive from 8% - 10% in royalties. For a book selling for an average of $25, that’s a $2.50 royalty per book sold at best.

Self-publishing with print on demand technology is much more lucrative. A typical POD book can be produced for as little as $4 for a single copy.

When the book is sold directly to consumers, authors pay a modest 15% commission to an online marketplace, bringing the total cost to about $7 to make the sale; leaving a whopping $13 profit to the author.

Which would you rather have, a $2.50 profit or $13 profit? Well, "It depends" would be the correct answer. If the traditional publisher can sell 100,000 copies of the book then $2.50 might be the better choice.

However, given the reality that most books sell fewer than 500 copies, authors are better off self-publishing and marketing it through an established online marketplace.

If only 500 copies are sold the author stands to earn $6,500 instead of the $1,250 offered by a traditional publisher.

Why POD Matters To Internet Booksellers

Lowering the cost of publishing books has sparked a flood of new authors into the market. These small press authors are printing books at an astounding rate.

Many of those books will wind up in thrift stores, library book sales, garage sales, used book stores, and estate sales; just like books produced by conventional methods.

These self-published books will be printed in much smaller numbers and therefore hold their value much longer than books printed in the hundreds of thousands.

This all but guarantees a large and profitable resale market for dealers who sell books online.

Margins will be strong and inventory will be available to the hard working bookseller willing to stay the course.

* * * * *

Return To Top: Print On Demand
Take another look at this informative article.

Return to Home Page: Making Money Online Selling Used Books
A FREE step-by-step guide for making money online selling used books part-time or full-time from the ground up.

Would you like to comment on this article?

Has this article been helpful to you and/or your business? Would you like to add a point or two I may have missed?

Use the form below to create your own webpage on this site and share your thoughts about the article. You can even write an entire article of your own! In fact, comments consisting of 300 words or more receive priority consideration.

Blatant commercial messages will not be posted. In addition, SPAM or inappropriate comments or pictures (in my sole opinion) will be ignored.

Nevertheless, a SHORT promo for your business and a link back to your website at the end of your comments are permitted.

Enjoy this page? Please help spread the word! Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.