Self-publishing Costs: POD vs Offset Printing

Publishing has traditionally operated on a model of offset book printing where the publishing house pre-prints a set number of books based on what they feel they can successfully sell. Authors would receive an advance (yes – get paid upfront) based on that projection, and receive a royalty percentage on sales, typically 10%, only if books sold beyond that initial number.

Self-publishing authors have the option to print offset as well, and receive royalty figures well beyond that 10% mark.

As you consider your self-publishing options, you may be wondering whether the right choice for your book is offset printing or the newer POD model.

Here are 5 details to consider…

5 – With offset printing you will pay in advance for a large number of books, regardless of whether you sell any.

4 – Your books begin, and often end, in your basement or garage not in reader’s hands.

3 – Even after you pay to print your book, you still have to find a way to distribute it, and then you have to track sales, invoice customers, and ship product.

2 – Your book will go out of print unless you pony up more dough for another print run.

1 – An off-set order requires “overages” of 5%-10% of the quoted print-run. That means if you order 2000 books, you may actually get (and be required to pay for) 2200.

If you are considering self-publishing through a printer, the price quotes you received may have scared you. No wonder. Newsweek Magazine recently noted that it generally takes an investment of $5,000 – $25,000 to self-publish a book through an offset printer.

Time to think POD?


3 thoughts on “Self-publishing Costs: POD vs Offset Printing

      1. Very helpful (and, yes, scary); thanks. So how does POD publishing realistically compare in terms of cost?

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