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

The print quality of my printed book is unsatisfactory. What is the reason for this?

At tredition, we only print all print editions of books once we have received an order for them. This is called "print-on-demand". The logistical performance of our printing partners is impressive. In the complex production structures, it can happen in rare cases that customers complain about a book. This is very annoying and everyone involved does their utmost to ensure that this does not happen. How does it still happen in some cases?

Difference print-on-demand to print one run

In "print-on-demand" (POD), one copy of a book is printed in most cases. In fact, the average quantity printed of a printed book in one order is 1.21 copies. For the production of a single copy to be economically viable, all printing and finishing processes must be automatic:
  1. Printing of the inner part (the pages of the book)
  2. Cover printing
  3. Assembling the cover and the inner part
  4. Gluing the cover and inner part
  5. Shipping

Our print partners each print up to 100,000 different books per day. You have to imagine that thousands of different book interiors are printed on one press per hour: with different formats and page counts. At the same time, the covers are printed on another press. These two printing processes come together at the binding point. Here, the cover and the inner part are joined together - usually glued. This happens every second. If there is a delay in one of the two printing processes, for example, an inner part does not reach its cover in time. Then it can happen that before the system stops, an incorrect inner part is glued into an envelope. All printers are working to correct such errors. We have been using Print-on-Demand since 2007 and are pleased to report that the improvement in processes is outstanding. For production to be fast and economical, manual quality control cannot take place at the end. It is completely different when printing a run. Depending on the quantity or by agreement, quality control takes place here. It is not uncommon for several hundred copies to be printed in advance until all quality criteria have been met. With a print run of 5,000 or more copies, this is to be expected. However, the financial risk of a print run is considerably higher than print-on-demand. That is why we at tredition and more and more classic book publishers are using print-on-demand. The production errors that occur in the per mille range are less serious compared to the financial risk.

Is print-on-demand more economical?

This depends on the size of the print run and whether the copies of the print run will be sold in the end. The production of a print run always involves a financial risk. When a print run is produced, the printing of the books must be pre-financed. Let's look at a simple calculation example: A print run of 5,000 copies of a softcover book with 200 pages costs 17,500 euros. The print shop demands this price immediately after delivery of the books. The book publisher must now earn back these 17,500 euros successively by selling the books in bookstores. The complete sale of a print run can take years. When one copy of a print run is sold, a retail price of 15.00 euros results in 3.51 euros left over after deducting variable costs.
Printing an edition on a per piece basis

Printing and logistics costs are higher in POD. Therefore, less remains for author's fee, fixed costs and publisher's margin.

Print-on-demand on a per-unit basis

From the remaining amount, costs for marketing, personnel, rent, IT, etc. have to be covered in addition to the author's fee.

What happens if not all 5,000 copies of the print run are sold?

If fewer than 2,500 copies are sold, there is no longer a positive contribution margin. It is then a loss-making business.

In print-on-demand, the yield is always positive!

Print-on-demand - always remains positive

The titles from these renowned publishers were a financial disaster:

Worstsellers - Literary Shopwrights 2006

Every faulty copy is one too many

We understand the disappointment when a book buyer receives a faulty book. We at tredition and our printing partners make every effort to repair the damage immediately and initiate a new delivery. None of the people involved in this complex production process make mistakes on purpose or through carelessness. Due to the printing processes, which run at breakneck speed in presses costing millions of euros, production-related errors can never be ruled out.

We apologize to anyone who has suffered a short-term loss as a result and at the same time ask for your understanding that we have opted for the economical and resource-saving print-on-demand process.


Written from our team by

Make something out of your book
Convince yourself and try out our tools. Simply register and get started. Without obligation. Without costs. You decide.