“Traditional” Self-Publishing and Print on Demand – What’s the Difference?

Your garage is full of books. Your basement is full of books. The trunk of your car is full of books. You’ve self-published a book, huh?

Historically, that was the case. Authors would order many copies of their book and keep them all around. They would often sell them on the streets or exercise other methods to “get rid of the inventory”. For a while, though, self-publishing authors have been able to take advantage of advances in the publishing industry to offer Print on Demand (or POD).

POD affords authors freedom from carrying loads of inventory in their home or vehicle. Authors also save money with utilizing such a solution. Though the cost per book may be a bit higher, resulting in lower royalty payments, self-publishing authors don’t have to worry about such a large upfront cost (to purchase books for their inventory) or having a lot of books on hand that won’t sell. With POD, your books aren’t printed until a customer orders them.

While some authors may be advocates for self-publishing in the “traditional” sense, POD makes sense for authors who are cost-sensitive or risk-averse. There is very little risk factor involved with POD. The only risk you really assume is wondering whether anyone will buy the book that you invested money into publishing.

DISCUSSION: Do you prefer POD or “traditional” self publishing? Have you experienced both? Share your story in the comments.

7 thoughts on ““Traditional” Self-Publishing and Print on Demand – What’s the Difference?

  1. I have a small series of related books in mind, since there is so much material to publish if I do it all at one time.

    POD sounds promising. If you have additional info, please send it.


  2. I often tell the women who come to the Women’s Writing Circle about the joy of being a self-published author. You don’t have to wait years to find out if your book will be published and in the end you have a beautiful product to offer your readers through POD books . . . as long as you are willing to invest the time and effort into good writing, editing and cover illustration.

    1. Hi, Susan:

      That is exactly right! What other things are covered when you meet for Women’s Writing Circle?

  3. I find these comments very informative. I am getting ready to self-publish my first book, a memoir. I am still contemplating pricing. I am sure I will have it figured out before my publishing date. Wish me well!

    1. Hi, Alexia:

      We wish you the best of luck! Let us know if you have any specific questions about publishing.

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