What company should you use to publish your book? Can you self-publish a book for free? Some companies will allow you to set up a book for free and pay later for printed copies. These distributors are called POD publishers. POD stands for Print-on-Demand.
POD companies are businesses that offer printing and fulfillment services for products such as books, apparel, accessories, and more. The most popular of these companies are Lulu Publishing, Spreadshirt, Vistaprint and Printful. These companies allow individuals or businesses to create and sell custom-designed products without the need for inventory or upfront costs.
What is POD Publishing?
When a customer places an order, the POD company prints and ships the product directly to the customer on behalf of the seller. This model is popular among e-commerce entrepreneurs, artists, authors, and other creators looking to monetize their designs or content without the hassle of managing inventory or fulfillment. For the most popular POD companies for authors, click here.
In regard to books, there are several benefits of using Print on Demand (POD) publishing companies versus traditional self-publishing:
Cost-effective: POD eliminates the need for large upfront investments in inventory. You only pay for the copies that are actually printed and sold, reducing the risk of unsold inventory.
No inventory, storage or fulfillment hassles: With POD, you don't need to worry about storing, packaging, and shipping books. The POD company takes care of these tasks, saving you time and effort.
Easy to get started: POD companies typically have user-friendly platforms that make it easy to upload and publish your content. This allows you to quickly get your book or other printed materials out onto the market.
Wide distribution network: Many POD companies have partnerships with major online retailers, making it easier for your products to reach a larger audience, which can help increase your sales potential. For example, if you add global distribution to your Lulu publication, your book will also be sold on Amazon, Target, Walmart, and all their other distribution channels on your behalf.
Print quality: POD technology has improved significantly over the years, resulting in high-quality prints that are comparable to traditional printing methods. However, not all printers are created equal. Many online reviewers have noted differences between Lulu and Amazon KDP’s print quality where Lulu gets the best reviews. These are not the only print-on-demand publishers and you as the author will have to discover the best option for you.
Flexibility: POD allows you to easily make updates or revisions to your content without the need for a new print run. This is particularly useful for authors who want to make changes or corrections to their books. Right now, such corrections are free. But, some popular POD book publishers are preparing to start charging for each round of revisions.
Global reach: POD companies often have international printing facilities, enabling you to sell your products globally without the need for international shipping.
Sustainability: POD reduces waste by only printing copies as they are ordered, minimizing the environmental impact compared to traditional printing methods.
Overall, using a POD publishing company can provide a cost-effective and efficient way to publish and distribute your printed materials instead of storing unwanted inventory in your car, trunk, or storage unit.
To learn more about self-publishing for beginners and everything you will need to get started, including some of the best POD publishers, take the online course Self-Publishing 101 Essentials.