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What is Print on Demand and how does it work?

Have you ever came across backpacks, shirts, shoes, water-bottles or any things of your friends or colleagues that look identical, but have different “brand” names printed on them? That’s because the product is a customized white-labelled product with the seller’s unique brand logo on it. 

And this process of printing or creating customized designs for the same product and selling it under your brand names are known as Print on Demand.

Before digital printing technology was introduced, there were many constraints in the manufacturing of small amounts of journals. Large print jobs were not an issue, but typically low numbers of printed pages produced using stencils and reproducing them on a mimeograph or similar machine during the early 20th century was a barrier for decent supply efficiency. 

Now in our 21st century, on account of the advancement in digitization,   technology and not to forget the largest industry eCommerce – the concept of print on demand business model arose. 

Hence let’s understand print on demand companies in detail and industry’s expert tips on working of print-on-demand business models, its pros and cons, how they manage inventories of POD products and many other interesting points.

The print on demand concept is very popular among booksellers and publishers. Although, Print on demand products include t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, and many other items. The print on demand model works on one simple defining principle  – print after ordering. Consumers place an order and the product is created only after that order has been made.

Jay Hartman, Editor-in-Chief at Untreed Reads shares his insight on the topic. 

In the case of publishing, typically the publisher uploads their cover template and the book layout to the printer/distributor. In their case, they accept on-demand print orders through both Ingram and Amazon. Once they receive and process the files, the book is put out for sale through their distribution channels. When a customer orders a copy, one is printed and sent out to them. Likewise, if we take an order through our site, we can place a direct order and have copies printed and drop-shipped to our customers.

Incidentally, there’s a pretty terrific company that works with Ingram named Espresso Book Machine (EBM). It’s a combination printer/binder machine that is in many bookstores and libraries around the world. In this case, a customer can walk into any location where there’s an EBM and have a copy of the book printed and bound right on the spot. In most cases, there is very little difference between one they would have ordered through a retailer and the one they had printed right before their eyes.

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