Saturday, May 17, 2008

What is Print On Demand (POD)?

There is a new trend sweeping the publishing industry. Well, actually it isn't new at all. It's been around for some time, but it's just now catching on (finally)! It's called Print On Demand, or POD.

First, let's talk about what POD is NOT. It is not vanity publishing as some would have you believe. Vanity publishing, or self-publishing, is when you take your material, complete your own line edits, find your own printer, print and bind your own books, and sell them yourself. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with self-publishing. I just want to provide the distinction between vanity publishing and POD.

Print on demand with digital technology is used as a way of printing items on demand. In other words, unlike a traditional print run publisher, POD will only print the book when it has been ordered. Traditional publishers print a run of several thousand books right out of the gate with no guarantee even one will sell. This not only ties up a heck of a lot of money in overhead, it also wastes valuable resources (paper, chemicals, time, etc.). If the books don't sell, we now have several thousand books in a land fill somewhere. In this day and age of "green" and protecting our resources, POD really does stand out as the more Earth-friendly approach.

POD has many benefits. Some of them are:
  • You can still order books that otherwise would have been out of print and no longer available. As long as that book is in digital format, it will always be available.
  • Large inventories of a book or print material do not need to be kept in stock, reducing storage, handling costs, and inventory accounting costs.
  • There is little or no waste from unsold products.
  • POD advantages reduce the risks associated with publishing books and prints and can lead to increased choice for consumers.

So there you have it. I hope this helps you understand what POD is and why it is growing in popularity, and why I chose to go with a POD publisher. I'm not going to chain myself to a tree to show my "greener" side, but by choosing an Earth-friendly publisher like Siren-BookStrand, I am showing that I do have one.

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