How Print on-Demand Technology Has Made Self-Publishing a Viable Option for Authors

printing-253437_1280Self-publishing is now widely recognised as a viable option for all authors. Some of the world’s most successful and famous authors of the modern age opting to take the self-publishing route. E.L James’ 50 Shades of Grey is the self-published success story of the moment. It’s largely thanks to printing technology known as print on-demand that self-publishing has become a popular option for authors wanting to self publish. So what is print on-demand and how does it help you as an author? The first in our FAQ series answers these questions. Read on!


What is ‘Print On-Demand?’

Print on-demand is what it says, books are printed as required, or ‘demanded’ by either retailers or the author. They can be printed in runs down to a single copy.


Does the author or publisher have to finance the cost of printing books sold through the book trade?

The author doesn’t have to finance any print runs other than for his own private purposes. The retailer on receiving an order from a customer sends it through to the printer (usually via his wholesaler). Then the printers print and despatches the book back to the retailer within a couple of days for the customer to collect or for the retailer to post out to the customer. In some cases with online retailers the printer may well despatch directly to the customer on behalf of the retailer. The printer then gets paid by the retailer for the book, he deducts the print costs and sends the remainder to the publisher (You or the self-publishing company you are published through.)


Are Print on-demand books more expense to print than having a traditional print run?

The downside is they are more expensive than a print run, usually 1p/page + 70p for the cover for an average black and white paperback with full colour cover. And until you order over 50 copies you are unlikely to have any discount. Over 50 copies and then you can probably get about 5%, then 10% at 100 and 25% over 250. But if you want a large print run – and why would you unless you have certain sales, – it would be best to get it done elsewhere as a litho print run. The larger the print run the cheaper the individual book becomes.

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