Print on demand - your book available quickly and without financial risk

Publishing your own book - in the past, that was only possible with a publisher or with correspondingly high printing costs. Print on demand makes it possible to hold your book in your hands and sell it for as little as one copy.

For whom is Print on Demand suitable?

Especially as a self-publisher, it is difficult to calculate a suitable print run for your own work. Not only because it is difficult to predict how many copies will actually find their way to a reader, but also because a large print run is often not financially feasible. Self-publishing authors therefore benefit from the print-on-demand process, or PoD for short. But publishers are also increasingly using the production process for titles that have already been sold.

Print on Demand in Self-Publishing

Your books are piling up in the basement. What if you're stuck with hundreds of copies you've already paid to print? Whether you're a self-publishing author, an author with a specific target audience and niche titles, or a self-publisher, the print-on-demand process can be a huge relief financially. Also, the manufacturing process gives you a lot of freedom: You can publish your book immediately and don't have to deal with months-long waiting periods common in publishing houses. This can be especially important with current non-fiction or reference books be important. In addition, you can design your work individually, decide for yourself how the cover and how the inner part is structured. However, pay attention to certain standards such as line spacing, font sizes and page layout. Here the Text designer from tredition help.

Print on demand allows authors to avoid having to compete with the numerous unsolicited manuscripts that pile up on the desks of publishers' editors. This gives unknown authors in particular a chance to get their book published. PoD offers the thousands of manuscripts rejected by publishers the opportunity to be published and find readers.

Print on demand in book publishing

Not only authors who take care of the publication of their books themselves, but also publishers are increasingly using PoD. The process offers new perspectives for traditional book publishers. Whether for sold-out backlist titles or works aimed at small groups of readers: With print on demand, publishers can expand their range. Especially as more and more titles are coming onto the market, the Total sales, however, have stagnated for years. That's why print on demand is also becoming more and more interesting for book publishers.

Print on Demand in Marketing

In addition to your book, you can also print your promotional material via PoD. Individually designed flyers are typical give-aways for Readings or book presentations. You can also have reading samples, bookmarks or other advertising material produced using the process.

Difference: print on demand or print run?

In traditional publishers it is customary to specify a print run for each title in the publishing agreement. If no circulation figure has been specified, it is Publishing Act at 1,000 copies. During production, the publisher makes advance payments in the hope that the book will sell well and recoup the costs for editing, marketing, printing and distribution. Because of the financial risk, publishers closely scrutinize which manuscripts they choose as titles for the publishing program and which they do not. If not enough books are sold, the publisher is stuck with the costs. That's why the print run for a work by a well-known author differs significantly from that of an unknown one. In most cases, successful authors with high circulations compensate for the losses and finance the rest of the publishing programme.

Depending on how quickly the first edition is sold, a subsequent edition is calculated. If the sale is delayed, the remaining stock is sold off. If an edition is sold out and there is no subsequent edition, the titles can only be procured second-hand - unless they continue to be offered via PoD.

In the case of books produced via the PoD process, the number of copies is much less significant. For example, after just one copy has been sold, a minor edit or change can lead to a new edition, or the book may have already been sold a million times.

Print run versus PoD

With Print on Demand in the Book Trade?

Self-publishing has increased enormously in recent years due to the print-on-demand process. This gives debut authors in particular the chance to publish their book and make it available on the book market without having to go through a traditional book publisher.

If your book has an ISBN, it can be ordered in all German-language bookstores and all major online shops. No matter if it was printed as an edition or only when you ordered it. Most self-publishing service providers give you the option of publishing your book with an ISBN. Whether and how your book comes into the book trade, you should check with the corresponding Self-Publishing Vendors Check.

What are the advantages of Print on Demand?

The print-on-demand process is a cost-effective and uncomplicated way to have your books printed. As a self-publishing author, you remain independent of a publisher, can take care of the design of your work and update it at any time.

You take no financial risk

Print on demand is particularly suitable for authors with small print runs. You don't take a production risk by paying upfront for a large print run of books. Your book is printed when it is ordered. So you don't pay the printing costs until after you've actually sold the book. Not only does this keep your financial risk low and you don't have to rely on selling all the copies you produce, but it also saves you the space at home that the print run would have taken up.

The production saves resources

As the name suggests, your book is not printed until it is ordered. This means that if you sell less than expected, you haven't pre-produced numerous copies for the waste paper bin. Only what is needed is produced and there is no overproduction. This saves money and the environment at the same time.

The title can be easily updated

Because your book is only printed when a reader orders it, it is no problem to change the uploaded file at any time. You don't have to wait until the copies of the old version are sold out, but pass on changes directly. This way, the next reader will already receive the latest version.

Your book is available quickly and permanently

As long as your book is online, it can be printed. You are not bound to a print run, but the title is available at any time. There is no warehouse that can run out of stock and your book is never out of print. This advantage of the print-on-demand process is also being discovered more and more by traditional book publishers, especially for their backlist titles.

With print on demand, you also avoid long waiting times that your manuscript spends on the desk of a publisher's editor, for example. You don't have to laboriously apply to publishers and hope that your book will be included in the publishing program, but can print it immediately.

You retain the freedom to design

For many self-publishing authors, it is important to decide on cover and jacket design, for example. With Print on Demand, you take over the tasks and decisions that a publisher would otherwise do for you. You take care of the design alone or with the help of a professional and decide for yourself how the book should look in the end.

What are the disadvantages of print on demand?

The print-on-demand process is said to have some disadvantages, such as production time or quality. These are not always true and depend on the respective provider.

Duration of production

Under certain circumstances, orders can take longer than books that are already in stock if there is high demand or the print service provider is working at full capacity. However, this depends on the conditions of the self-publishing service providers or printers: tredition has an agreement with its printing partners that softcovers with standard features are produced in 48 hours after receipt of the order and hardcovers in 72 hours (plus picking and shipping). This means that production does not take any longer than if someone were to fetch the books from the warehouse.


Colour pages or black and white and which format best suits the content? Often there are only a few features in print on demand. However, you can customize them, choose from several formats and different types of paper. Even if the options are not as versatile, you can change and readjust them at any time.


The print-on-demand process gives a chance to authors who have been rejected by publishers or who want to take their publication into their own hands. Among them, there are also writers who have published their works without an editing service, which makes the Rumor has arisen that self-published books are inferior in terms of content quality. This is no longer common, many self-publishers work with professionals and their books are in no way inferior to publishing titles.

There is also a persistent misconception that digital printing in print on demand shows differences in quality compared to offset printing. To dispel this rumour, tredition sent ten books to an interested but sceptical publisher for comparison: Five from print on demand and five from offset. The customer selected with an expert eye, felt and smelled the works and gave his assessment - except that in the end all were print-on-demand copies. So even professionals can't tell the difference.

Advantages and disadvantages for authors at a glance

Advantages Disadvantages
No financial risk (production, stock) Production time depending on supplier
Conserving resources Few features
Fast and can be updated at any time Self-responsible for content quality
Permanently available  
Design freedom  

Definition: What is Print on Demand?

The print-on-demand (POD) process means something like "print on demand". This means that as soon as an order is received for your book, it is printed. Digital printing allows books to be produced in very small runs of one copy or more. Print on demand is not only suitable for self-publishing authors, publishers are also using the process more and more.

The manufacturing process has been used since the mid-90s. In this process, the templates are stored electronically and printed as required. This makes the production process very different from offset printing, which is only worthwhile from a certain print run onwards. Print on demand is particularly suitable for sales that are difficult to calculate, without having to pay for a print run in advance.

What do I have to consider with Print on Demand?

To print your book using the print-on-demand method, it should be ready from cover to typesetting. Maybe the Cover Designerto make your book appealing. And have an editor check the content beforehand. Before you offer your work, make sure that all the necessary information is included, such as the imprintand you've thought of all the steps to get your book to be published.

Even if you think everything fits and the files are correct: Always order a sample copy in advance. Make sure your book looks the way you imagined it. The colors of the cover may look different on the screen, or the font may be much harder to read in print than you expected. Become your own customer before your book goes online. It doesn't hurt to have your book in your own home anyway - whether it's a trophy on your shelf or for your marketing.


The print-on-demand process offers new perspectives for both self-publishers and book publishers. It allows storage costs to be saved and the production risk to be reduced. In addition, titles that have been sold off remain available. In order to be as close as possible to the point of sale, printing is decentralised. KNV, Libri and Amazon now offer print on demand for publishers and print the corresponding title as soon as an order comes in. Print on demand is the future for the book market.


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