What is Print on Demand?
Print on demand refers to an ordering option that allows individuals to order a smaller number of copies from a professional printing business. Until recently, most print companies have required their customers to submit a minimum bulk order before processing. This practice has proved economically impractical for independent authors, small business owners or people who create personalized print projects as gifts or mementoes. Print on demand is available without the added fees that used to come with smaller print orders. It also reduces paper waste resulting from unused copies, making the practice better for the environment as well.
Benefits for Authors
Independent authors can reap several benefits from print-on-demand services, particularly if they opt to self-publish a book. Most order pricing structures are available on a sliding scale, allowing authors with smaller budgets to choose the number of copies right for them. Print on demand can also make book promotion easier on the budget for many new authors.
Ordering and distributing a limited number of advance copies is an excellent way to generate buzz about a new book from an independent author. Some writers offer these advance copies for a reduced price or even for free, but they often find this practice pays off in later book sales at the full price. Writers who are in contact with established book review bloggers can send each one an advance copy in exchange for a posted review, and this online marketing method can quickly result in a good amount of reader interest.
Print on Demand = Flexibility
The price of a print on demand order is most often set with a price per unit. Smaller numbers of copies have a higher price per unit that goes down if a customer selects a somewhat larger number of finished print copies. Many print companies have a range of different options for final order numbers, and more are now willing to work with each customer to create order numbers that will work best. In addition to pricing, print on demand can be used for a large number of printed items in addition to books, including:
- Photo albums
- Business cards
- Customized writing notebooks
- Local independent magazines
- Community newspapers
These items are normally ordered in limited quantities based on customer needs at a given time. Contact information can change, resulting in the need for new business cards. Companies can have various sales specials throughout the year, so new flyers or brochures can be designed and ordered easily through print on demand services. Print on demand services allow these new orders to be placed quickly and efficiently.
Print on Demand Ideas for Small Businesses
Small businesses that opt for print on demand can reach more potential customers without higher upfront costs. Even with online advertising, direct mail campaigns are still effective at drawing interest from a target market. Good market research will allow a business owner to send out direct mail flyers, postcards or brochures without leftover printed items. Print on demand allows them to order only the number of printed items that will match the number of their targeted customers.
Print on demand can make incentivized advertising more cost-effective as well. Business owners who offer something extra to customers who bring in a printed flyer stand a great chance of bringing in repeat business. This can be a discounted price or even a small free item with a minimum purchase.
The advantages of print on demand are numerous, and many people find this option more flexible than traditional bulk printing. Removing higher upfront costs and reducing the number of leftover print items is economically practical for authors and business marketers alike.