Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process that delays the printing of book copies until the company receives an order. Many traditional small presses have switched to POD printing equipment or outsourced their printing to POD service providers.
POD may be used by larger publishers in limited circumstances, such as reprinting older, out-of-print titles or for test marketing.
The Print on demand model is particularly popular with eCommerce websites, and content creators such as bloggers where sellers provide various products such as T-Shirts, jackets, and other merchandise to their customers made to fit their size and are very similar to dropshipping and use a just in time like approach when ordering saving space and other resources for the seller.
Industries where POD practices are used
In the world of books, POD is a very common business model used and applies to different types of book publishing authors such as publishing houses and self-publishers.
Self-publishing is the act of publishing media at one’s own expense without the involvement of a publisher. Typically, the term refers to written media such as books and magazines, either as an ebook or as a physical copy produced using POD (Print On Demand) technology. These independent publishers typically sell their goods on places like Amazon FBA. Apple iBooks and other marketplaces.
Publishing houses & book distributors
Book distributors or publishing houses as they are sometimes referred to are larger scale companies who specialize in taking books or other media and then printing across large commercial grade printing equipment as well as marketing them to get them into book shops where they can be more widely seen.
POD practices are used by these distributors as orders come in for batches of books to be printed and distributed.
Marketing companies & providers
Marketing companies/agencies such as us will sometimes use the POD model for different types of graphic designs such as flyers and promotional material to be sent out by physical mail to their customers or audience.
An example of this might be “Christmas cards” produced with client details and sent in bulk to clients. Other examples of printed items might be thank you t-shirts, cups, hats, or other items that are personalized with the name of the individual or company.
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Other content from our glossary:
“Print on demand” Wikipedia, 1 Mar. 2003, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Print_on_demand. Accessed 30 Dec. 2022.
“Self-publishing”, Wikipedia. 29-July-2002. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-publishing. [Accessed: 30-Dec.-2022].
Collett, Glenna. “Book distribution 101” Book Design Made Simple, 8 Nov. 2020, www.bookdesignmadesimple.com/book-distribution-101/. Accessed 30 Dec. 2022.