How Print-On-Demand Works – Get The Best Service

Thinking about including print-on-demand to your distribution? We go over the basics to help you get started with your best print-on-demand tips.

Kinga Jentetics |

Print-on-demand services are estimated to be $150 billion dollars by 2022 (Gen Z loves print). Today’s printing technologies make print-on-demand a viable and sustainable publishing strategy by eliminating the hassle, high cost of advanced printing, and need for catalog storage.

With over 160 million potential readers, access PublishDrive’s network with 30,000 physical stores and thousands of digital libraries online in the US, Europe and also, in China.

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What is print on demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which book copies (or other documents) are not printed until the company receives an order, allowing prints of single or small quantities. It lets online stores list a product catalog to sell without actually having them in stock.

Print-on-demand companies and models emerging are one of the best things that could’ve happened to indies wanting to create and sell print books. There is no need to print a lot of books in advance and you get rid of the hassle with logistics. But if someone wants a print book, that order will be deployed.

How to create a print-on-demand file?

Print-on-demand books can be paperback or hardback. The most common POD format is paperback, trim size being 6x9 inches. Let’s see how you can create these files yourself and what options you have regarding POD service providers (like PublishDrive!, KDP Print, or Chinese retailers).

At the simplest level, you can do all your interior formatting in Word by exporting your print-ready PDF file. Please note that professional page layouts can be done with InDesign or other programs alike. If your title is a straightforward text-based book, like a novel, using Word should be fine. You can also check out other software like Vellum for formatting your print or ebook.

Then you’ll need to choose the size of your book first as it governs how much text you have on each page. The most common sizes are 5x8 or 6x9 inches, but PublishDrive handles 28 sizes.

Don’t forget, printing costs are based on page count. So the fewer pages your book has, the more profit there is per title. Readers want a decent thickness to prints, so don’t cut out too much as you may lose the interest of readers.

It’s also important to know you need to add 0.125" (3 mm) bleed (added on to the three trimmed edges) to the actual size of your book. That’s how printers work.

When you have decided on the book size, set up uniform margins and standardized text space. As a general rule of thumb, use only one typeface for the body text. The usual type size is 12 pt or 11.5 pm.

If you have bigger type sizes, it will take more pages and consequently, your book can end up being more expensive to print. Play with headings or narrative devices instead of different typefaces and sizes.

Publish print book!

How much does print-on-demand cost?

Make sure to be cautious when calculating profit margins that depend on printing costs and retailers’ margins. The POD business for indies is highly influenced by the length of the book.  Retailers set a minimum price to cover printing costs and distributor fees.

Profit margins differ based on the number of pages and color types you chose. When you sell through a retail channel, only the printing costs and retailer’s margin arise. There is no shipping cost calculated for authors and publishers.

You can also order author copies to send print review copies or fulfill orders for your direct contacts. If you order author copies or you’d like to send print books via direct distribution services, you’ll have to take care of the shipping and taxation costs.

How to publish and sell print-on-demand?

When you finally created your print-ready content file, the next step is to sell it everywhere, to all ecommerce platforms and all print-on-demand sites. This will help your investments get a return as soon as possible. There are many ways on how to do that, for example with publishing service partners like PublishDrive.

You can reach 160 million potential readers with PublishDrive’s network including 30K physical stores and thousands of digital libraries online in the US, Europe and also, in China.

Publishing has never been easier (really!). Indies can simply upload a print book, ebook, or audiobook, then select their desired stores like Amazon or Chinese stores like DangDang. On the PublishDrive dashboard, you simply click publish and say hello to over 2.5bn potential readers! Just make sure to have a nicely designed cover, edited manuscripts, and content files (which we also help with) to publish with PublishDrive.

So about audio: PublishDrive offers an additional reach to 50 million potential listeners with audiobook stores like Google Play Books or Kobo, subscription services like Scribd or Storytel, music service providers like Deezer, and digital library providers like OverDrive. That’s up to 70% of the list price to take home for authors or in the case of Google Play Books, 50% of the list price without any commission deducted.

Publish print book!

Publish print and audio with PublishDrive to save time, increase royalty payouts, and get smarter about your business.

Here is what you’ll need when publishing your print-on-demand book with PublishDrive:

  1. Sign up to publishdrive.com
  2. Prepare your cover and print-ready content files
  3. Upload your PDFs to PublishDrive
  4. Add trim size: Select from 28 options, most popular are: 5x8, or 6x9 inches
  5. Choose colorness option: Black&white, or color books
  6. Choose paper, cover lamination, and binding
  7. Select your desired stores like Amazon or Chinese partners
  8. Click on the publish button! :)

After publishing, follow store links for published books and track reviews from Goodreads and Amazon, print-on-demand real-time sales, and more from the PublishDrive dashboard. There’s a whole bunch of editorial and featuring opportunities you can access as well.

With today’s printing technologies, you can eliminate the hassle, high cost of advanced printing, and need for catalog storage. Print-on-demand is a viable and sustainable publishing strategy to add.

Choose PublishDrive as your print partner and distribute high-quality print-on-demand books to readers. Experience PublishDrive's expanded distribution network yourself.

Publish print book!