2023 Update on the Best POD Printers
More printing options for your self-published book
The print-on-demand (POD) technologies began about twenty years ago and have steadily improved. Print on demand means your book lives on the computer servers of a printer until there is an order, a demand. The demand triggers the printer to actually print your book. Most POD companies tie their printing to a drop-shipping component, which means they will also ship the books to your customer. Essentially, you never touch a book.
POD Gave Authors a Successful Business Plan
The POD services have created an amazing business plan for indie authors. We write and format books, but once it’s uploaded, we do nothing with the physical side of the book. Instead, we just focus on promotions and marketing.
Pricing has always been tricky because offset printing is cheap when you print thousands of copies. Printing one book at a time means the per book price is higher. Much higher.
Add to that, the POD companies often act as a distributor. Distributors make books available at wholesale prices to a certain segment of customers. Ingram Wholesale makes books available to the general book trade and bookstores, education, and libraries. Amazon makes books available through its online international marketplaces. When they provide such distribution, they also charge distribution fees.
Pricing a book and creating a budget that works is tricky. You must consider the printing fees and the distribution fees, and somehow make a profit.
What we’d love is a POD printer that drop ships but doesn’t charge distribution fees. That is possible, but it means you must have a way to actually sell the book. Today, authors accomplish this by selling directly from their own website/bookshop. The backend of the shop is tied to a POD printer who drop ships for them. Again, the author just has to focus on marketing, while the physical part of publishing is done by the POD company. The beauty of this business plan is that the profit per book is much higher because you aren’t giving the printer an additional distribution fee. Instead, YOU are the distributor through your shop and can keep that distribution percentage. Of course, you also have associated costs for the shop, including the hosting software and marketing or advertising.
Let’s look at the POD companies and update the information about the main POD companies. There’s an exciting newcomer, along with the main POD printers of the last twenty years.
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