Print on Demand

What Does Print on Demand Mean?

Print on demand (POD) is a digital printing technology in which a book or other publication is printed on an as needed basis. The POD model flies in the face of traditional printing, where large quantities of books are produced in initial print runs to reduce costs prior to distribution. The sales of online books and e-books facilitate POD and eliminate the need for hard copy book displays. POD has also changed the publishing industry by reducing the need for traditional publishing houses, allowing authors to self-publish at very low costs.


Print on demand is sometimes called publish on demand.

Techopedia Explains Print on Demand

POD has revolutionized publishing. Not all publishers use POD, but many see it as a way of continuing to make older and low-demand books available without incurring printing and warehouse storage costs, providing dramatic cost savings for publishers.

POD has also broadened the scope of books that are available to readers. Because publishers incur some risk when agreeing to publish a book, many are rejected, either because an audience may be too limited or the book topic or style is relatively untested. Because POD is accessible to writers, in terms of cost and the ease of self-publishing, many unique and niche books can now reach their intended audience. Amanda Hocking, for example, gained fame and fortune with her series of paranormal romance novels for young adults. After being rejected by traditional publishers, she self-published her books and gained a strong and loyal reader audience.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…