Until recently, printing a single copy of a book was highly unlikely. In the past, traditional publishing houses had to publish hundreds, or even thousands, of copies of a book to avail of the best price possible. After printing, the books are then sent to bookstores. Those books that are not sold are stocked in warehouses perhaps waiting to be shipped when orders come in. But if no orders come, this can be a big loss to the publisher as these unsold books are part of their investment. This is probably why many publishers are careful in taking on new authors. They always want to be sure to get the value of their investment and not waste it.
Print on demand (POD), on the other hand, uses a different process. As the name implies, publishers have to print only a single copy of a book when an order arises, rather than produce it in mass copies. But unfortunately, when authors choose POD publishing, their books will never be available in bookstores. Additionally, authors have to do the marketing themselves and can expect that some book critics would never consider their books as true publishing credits.
However, regardless of the downsides of POD publishing, there are still individuals who think that POD is right for them. If you choose this route, there are several factors you need to consider, such as the cover cost, set up cost, royalty payments, distribution, and control, among other considerations. Keep in mind that since POD publishing involves printing one copy of a book at a time, printing costs are naturally higher per unit than they are with mass printing.
Additionally, most companies also have set up fees to publish your book. If you opt for a lower setup cost, carefully review the arrangement, as a lower setup cost means higher cover prices and lower royalties on average. So before you sign a contract with the POD company, see to it that the publisher explains to you thoroughly how much it costs to print a copy of your book and how much you will receive per sale of the book. Also, thoroughly read the website of the publisher that you are considering, and ask them to send you a copy of the contract before getting that print job started. When you have learned all of this information, it’s time to start hunting for the right POD publisher and getting your book distributed as soon as possible.