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Exploring The Options Available With Printed-On-Demand Services

Print-on-demand services have revolutionized the publishing and distribution process. It has given rise to many self-publishing authors and made being an indie author a very profitable option. But choosing the right one that fits your needs can be difficult without knowing what they have to offer. This article explains what POD is all about and the POD services that the prominent names in the business offer.

What are POD services?
Print-on-demand (POD) services create and distribute one copy of your book at a time, as and when requested. These services employ similar digital technology as a sophisticated LaserJet printer. This technology has allowed the leading POD presses to achieve approximately the same print quality. Their standard is gradually beginning to catch up with what offset printing has accomplished, though it’s still not 100% comparable. Beyond the appearance of your book, this service is a great option when you consider the storage of book copies and shipping. 

Examples of POD services
Here are examples of well-known companies among self-publishers that offer pretty impressive POD services:

1. IngramSpark: This company is the largest book distributor and wholesaler in the United States. Most POD services, including Blurb and Bookbaby, access retailers through Ingram. Their POD service gives you access to their global distribution network with no middleman payment. Also, their extensive network includes brick-and-mortar bookstores, making them an excellent option for getting your book on real-life shelves. They require a relatively small setup fee and won't assist with correcting formatting issues. So ensure you format your manuscript perfectly before sending it to them.

2. KDP Print: This company offers a two-in-one platform for paperbacks and ebooks, making the publishing process quick and intuitive and keeping all your sales in one place. They offer premium services, quality, and distribution that extend to Europe and Japan. Using KDP to sell on Amazon is cheaper than using other POD but more expensive than KDP to other online bookstores. Also, their network is not as broad as Ingram's. 

3. Blurb: Blurb is an outstanding POD service in high-quality printing, especially in visual, art, or image-based projects. They allow you to print one book at a time with their POD service or increase the size of your order to enjoy incredible bulk printing discounts. They also offer offset printing services to fulfill an order of over 750 copies with even higher quality and a better per-unit cost.

4. BookBaby: This POD service has been a popular choice among self-publishers. Their customer service, product quality, and pricing are excellent. However, you need to make a minimum of 25 books order before qualifying for POD, with a $399 setup fee added to your print order. They justify this price tag with their "extensive distribution network." But they partner with Ingram Book Group for a lesser fee for their distribution service, which makes working directly with Ingram a better option. 

5. Lulu: This company distributes paperbacks to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Ingram Network, and its bookstore. They claim authors get 80% of the profits. But that is 80% of what remains after deducting printing and distribution costs. This profit-sharing policy makes Lulu royalty shares the lowest, which puts you at risk of incurring high expenses to cover your cost and make any profit. They offer considerable prices for printing books in bulk with hardcover and interior colors. But other POD services can perform similar services at approximately the same cost.

The benefit of POD services
If you don’t have large orders lined up, then printing and shipping books only when someone purchases them saves you the hassle of storage and shipment. When someone makes an order, an on-demand printer will make a physical copy of your book and ensure it reaches the customer with no effort from you. The platforms through which readers can make their orders vary depending on the printing service. And they often deduct the shipping cost from your royalties.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen