In Your Corner: What is the Difference Between Traditional Printing vs Print on Demand?

apple versus donut choices

One of the biggest decisions for self-published authors is whether to choose traditional printing or print on demand (POD). The publishing consultants I work with are constantly asked questions about the differences and benefits of traditional printing versus print on demand. Below I have answered three of the most common questions we’re asked about POD . Hopefully, the answers will give you a better understanding of the two types of services and help you determine if print on demand is right for you.

Why should I choose POD rather than traditional printing?

Most authors who select POD want their self-publisher to handle distribution and fulfillment as well as the actual printing of the books. This allows the author to focus on what they do best – writing, and hopefully marketing, their books – instead of managing inventory, packaging orders, and shipping books to the buyer.

Why is the per book cost higher for a POD title compared to a traditionally printed title?

The more you buy (of anything, from books to business cards) from a traditional printer the lower your unit cost. Whether you print 100 copies of an item or 1000 copies, your set up costs are the same, and they are amortized over the entire print run. Typically, buyers  order more than they actually need  to achieve a lower unit price.  In POD, the cost of your book is the same for book number 1 and book 2000 because each book is printed one at a time and the set up is included in every individual copy.

So why would I accept a higher unit price?

Authors that select POD are doing it for two specific reasons. The first is they want their self-publisher to print the book and deliver it to the purchaser without them having to be personally involved. The second is cash-flow. Inventory costs money. Buying 2000 books, for example, at $3.50 per book will require an investment of $7,000.00. In a nutshell, POD authors are trading a higher per book cost for the luxury of not having 1000’s of dollars worth of inventory sitting in their home office.

POD is a great option for authors who are concerned about time management and inventory cost. After all, authors should be writing and marketing not storing, packaging, and shipping books.

I’d love to hear your questions, advice, and experiences with traditional printing and print on demand.

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

One thought on “In Your Corner: What is the Difference Between Traditional Printing vs Print on Demand?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s