What Is Print-on-Demand

Glossary > Print-on-Demand

💬 Definition of Print-on-Demand:

Print-on-demand (POD) is a publishing model in which books or other printed materials are printed only when an order is received, rather than producing a large number of copies in advance and storing them until they are sold.

Related questions about print-on-demand:

How does print-on-demand work?

With POD, the printing process is automated and only begins once a customer places an order for a book or other printed item. The book is then printed, bound, and shipped directly to the customer.

What are the benefits of print-on-demand to the publishing industry?

Print-on-demand allows publishers and authors to avoid the costs and risks associated with traditional printing and distribution methods, such as maintaining a large inventory, managing warehousing and shipping, and dealing with returns and unsold stock.

POD technology has made it possible for authors and publishers to produce and distribute books more easily and affordably than ever before, with minimal upfront costs. This has led to a proliferation of self-published books and niche titles that might not have been viable under the traditional publishing model.

What are the print-on-demand requirements?

To submit a valid POD book, you need to upload two separate PDF files that we will use to print your book:

  1. Cover (back cover, spine, front cover, bleed area)
  2. Interior/content

Before submitting your files, check the requirements of the publishing platform you work with. 

The specific requirements for POD may vary depending on the publishing platform or service provider, but there are some general requirements:

  • Manuscript: This is usually a PDF or Microsoft Word document. Make sure you format and edit it properly for readability and accuracy. 
  • Book cover: Separately from the manuscript, you should have a high-quality JPEG or PDF file with the book cover. The cover should be appropriately sized and meet the specific requirements of the POD service provider. 
  • Page setup: Includes details regarding the interior layout of the book, including page size, margins, font type, font size, and line spacing. 
  • Bleed: When a book is printed, the pages are typically printed on larger sheets and then trimmed to the desired size. The bleed area extends beyond the trim size to accommodate slight variations in the trimming process. It also allows for elements like images, backgrounds, or colors that extend to the edge of the page without the risk of white borders appearing due to misalignment during trimming.
  • Trim: The trim size defines the width and height of the physical book. Trimming is the process of cutting the pages of a printed book to achieve a consistent and uniform final size. After the pages are printed, they often come in larger sheets that contain multiple pages. These larger sheets are then trimmed down to the final desired size of the book.
  • Binding: Binding is the process of securing the pages together and attaching them to a cover to create a complete and functional book. Binding methods vary depending on the desired durability, appearance, cost, and the type of book being produced. Examples of binding types: hardcover, perfect binding (softcover), spiral binding, saddle stitching, sewn binding, etc.
  • Spine: The book spine refers to the narrow vertical edge of a book's cover that faces outward when the book is placed on a shelf. It contains the title, the author's name, and sometimes the publisher's name or logo. The spine's size is usually determined by the number of pages, the type of binding, and the type of pages you use for your book (e.g., B&W with white paper, B&W with cream paper, Color with white paper).
  • ISBN: An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is usually required for each book edition. If you don't have an ISBN, some POD service providers may offer to assign one for your book.
  • Metadata: Information about the book, such as title, author name, book description, keywords, and categories, will be needed for the POD service provider's catalog and online listings.
  • Description: When submitting your manuscript and all the technical details, make sure to add a book description.

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