Print On Demand Or Self-Publishing?

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If you’re a writer or you’re willing to become one, you will get to the point when it’s time to transform your Word manuscript into a book. 

The current main options are three: digital printing, offset printing, and Print On Demand. 

The first two are more recommended to those who seek the help of an external publisher, while Print On Demand is for those who want to print the book by themselves. 

Let’s analyze these solutions together.

Print On Demand

Print On Demand is a fulfillment process that involves printing books one at a time, at a cost-effective price. 

This method has recently found the widest application in the fashion industry, due to its extreme versatility and low-cost manufacturing.

Today has become undoubtedly the preferred choice for many professionals and modern authors.

Here are the main advantages of using print-on-demand:

1. Unlimited Customization

Print On Demand doesn’t require any machinery or inventory upfront. You only have to provide a concept and a written text. 

You can publish the whatsoever genre using this technology, which does not require a particular skill. The service is fast and reliable and provides by itself everything you need.

You can manually decide the feature of your book: themes, colors, sizes number of illustrations, layouts, and so on.

You can actually create your dream book, and just be waiting for the next sales.

2. Multiple Formats

The variety of printing options provided are extremely high.

You can choose among different colors (black, white, black and white, 4 colors, 10 colors, etc.), sizes (small, long, slim, portable, etc.), paperback (with flaps, hardback, hardback without jacket), and much more.

The customizable options are basically unlimited. Everything is tailored to your tastes.

3. Great Availability

With Print On Demand you can print as many books as you can, few or a thousand doesn’t make difference. The main point is that you will print the exact number the market asks, not more not less. 

Imagine if you have printed 50 copies of your book and the month after they are already sold out. What you can do? You can just launch another 50 copies print, same file, and same layout, and in a few days, they’re on your table.

On the other hand, if you couldn’t sell the initial stock it’s not a big deal as you’ve only printed 50 copies, not a huge loss.

4. Quick Updates

That’s another great advantage of print-on-demand, as you can update your text every time you want without real consequences. 

For instance, if you discover some mistakes in one paragraph or you want to add more information, you can easily modify the original version and launch a new print. 

The main recommendation is to print just a few copies first as, of course, mistakes may come out unexpectedly even weeks later than the first edition. 

With print-on-demand, you can do that, and fix promptly all the imperfections you may discover along the road with no costly consequences.

5. Lower Costs

We believe it’s the biggest advantage of this method. 

You simply avoid waste. You won’t waste money and paper, as you won’t print exceeding copies. 

That’s so powerful especially for low-budgeted authors (or beginners) and for those who don’t have a physical place where to store all the copies. 

It’s just a matter of planning and optimization, according to your availabilities and the expectations towards your book.

Self Publishing

Self-publishing is a process in which authors are at the same time editors of themselves. 

They take care of all the publishing process, which covers printing, editing, text formatting, and cover design, as well as promotional activities. 

There is no third-party intermediation, and the author is directly involved in each issue in the first person.

Whatever will be your book type, self-publishing provides, all in all, absolute freedom and higher-earning returns. 

Here are the main advantages of this method:

1. Full Control

With self-publishing, you can control your destiny, as you’re the author, the editor, and the main promoter of your book. 

Nobody else can influence your decisions like usually happens in the traditional publishing industry,

Independence is a value and it’s a price you want to pay if you feel competent in what you do and what you wrote.

2. Higher Margins

Typically, traditional publishing gives you from 7 to 25% of royalty fees. Self-publishing, instead, around 70%

Imagine the incredible boost in profits you could make if you decide to become an independent author. 

3. Quick Fulfillment

With self-publishing, the period that separates the ending of the book and its publication is less than a week. There’s no third-party editor who reviews the contents and delays the process.

When you’re ready to print, go, and print your book. 

4. Branding

If you’re the editor and the promoter of yourself, it will be much easier to create a fan base and collect an email list. It’s way more personal than passing through traditional systems that you don’t control and don’t know basically how they work. 

Many authors became successful with self-publishing because they were capable to establish a durable connection with their audience through social media marketing.

On the other hand, it’s important to be aware even of its disadvantages of self-publishing. 

1. Lower Resonance

As you won’t benefit from the influence of a major publisher, the resonance of your book will be way less, 

We can’t ignore the adding value these big publishers brought to many authors, which books became bestsellers even because of them. 

Being published by these editors is definitely a boost to your book. This is not possible with self-publishing unless you already own a publishing company,

2. Higher Expenses

 All the expenses related to editing, printing, and marketing are upon you, as it normally happens for traditional publishing. 

So you need to have much money left to sustain the fulfillment and the promotion. 

3. Limited Support

This could be a big problem, as you won’t have any support from others, being the main actor in the process. 

You should be an expert on any matters related to editing, publishing, and promoting your book. 

Traditional publishers usually provide all the support you need, at a cost, of course.

4. Harder Distribution

With self-publishing, you won’t find easily a bookstore for your books. 

Traditional publishers have their network of bookstores that guarantee you the exposure you need. 

You may struggle a lot if you will rely just on yourself, without seeking the help of external publishers.

Let’s Sum Up!

Both methods are great opportunities if you’re an author willing to publish a book. 

If you’re writing niche topics, like poems and memoirs, which usually have a limited audience, maybe Print On Demand is the right decision for you, as it’s more tailored for limited production. 

But, if you know your market, and how to run an effective promotion campaign you could try to print in bulk your book as a self-publisher, instead of recurring to traditional methods. 

Wherever will be your choice, be aware of the pros and cons we analyzed in this article. 

Are you ready to publish your book?

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BONUS – Private Label

Private labeling is a process where a provider makes your product following given technical directives (like quality, size, product category, packaging, etc.), and delivers it as you can sell it by yourself, like a real retailer.

Pros of Private Label

The main advantages of using private labels and the differences with the previous method are:

  • Full Control

You have definitely more control over your products. You pay in advance for a completely tailored manufacture, and the supplier can’t dictate the rules or change materials without your permission.

It’s more convenient to create a labeled product under your directives instead of buying a finished one with a brand on it. The labeled product has a lower price and you can sell it back at higher margins.

  • Bulk Orders

You can prepare in advance a big stock of products if you expect massive orders from the customers.

With print-on-demand, you are dependent on provider labor times and delays are more common in the case of bulk orders.

With private labeling, you are in control of the situation and you can fulfill orders with ease.

  • Branding

It’s easier to launch promotional campaigns since you have better control of production times and pricing.

You can increase your brand awareness by adding complementary accessories and offering them to your customers.

Cons Of Private Label

It’s time now to talk about the main disadvantages related to this method:

  • Customer Perception

The general opinion of customers regarding private labeling is not so so positive.

Nowadays people are looking for branded items, mostly promoted by influencers. Your labeled products may not have the same impact and visibility as the Print On Demand ones.

Another limitation is that customers can’t purchase your products in any other store than yours, unlike print-on-demand ones, which are uploaded in the most famous marketplaces.

All logistic organization is upon you, including packaging and final shipping. It’s a huge responsibility you have to deal with.

  • Stocktaking

With private labeling, the inventory is needed to store your products before selling them.

A physical place is needed in case of unsold items. This is the worst scenario, as you have to deal with “dead” products that can’t be sold at ordinary prices.

Getting rid of them means lowering more the price, and this might cause you extra burn of money.

You won’t ever know the exact number of items you are going to sell, but you need to estimate them as it’s specifically required by private-label providers before starting the production.

This could be pretty risky and not accurate at all, and make you waste money in advance,  unlike print-on-demand.

Print On Demand World Staff

Hey Everyone! We hope you enjoyed reading the article and the information provided on it. If so, share it through your socials and keep visiting our blog, discovering the wonderful World of Print On Demand! Arrivederci! :)

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