Print-on-demand (POD) is one of the wonders of the modern world (along with crunchy Cheetos and Netflix). Rather than having to print thousands of copies of a book to achieve any efficiency of scale, POD allows authors and publishers to use digital technology to print only as many copies of books as are ordered—when they are ordered. Two major POD service providers are Amazon’s CreateSpace and IngramSpark.
In addition to lack of inventory, consider three other great things about print-on-demand…
1. You can fix the “Oops”
To use print-on-demand technology, you simply upload the files for your book—a cover and an interior. If you find a mistake, you can correct the document and re-upload it. The next time the book is printed (i.e., ordered), the corrected file is used. No more Oops.
2. You can add the “Oh yeah, I forgot”
As a savvy author, you used beta readers to point out problems or gaps in your manuscript. But that’s still a limited pool of readers; after publication, new readers may point out missing elements—or you yourself may remember something you want to add. Print-on-demand gives you the opportunity to make those additions.
(Note: If you add pages, double-check your cover size calculations; you may need to adjust the spine width. If you add many pages, ask yourself if the revision should be saved for a second edition.)
3. You can create a “Just for you”
With print-on-demand you can do more than make corrections; you can offer customization. If you sell your book in bulk to organizations, you can offer them the opportunity to have the CEO write an introductory page. Or you can customize the cover with their corporate logo.
In essence you copy your files, make the changes, and upload a “new” book. But you don’t have to make the new book available for sale; keep it hidden so you are the only one with access to order it.
For many authors, one of the biggest benefits of print-on-demand technology is you are in control.