Print On Demand

Print On Demand (POD)

Print on demand with digital technology is used as a way of printing items for a fixed price per copy, regardless of the size of the order. While the unit price of every physical copy printed is higher than with offset printing, the average cost is lower for extremely small print runs, simply because setup costs are much higher for offset printing.

POD has other company advantages besides lower costs (for small runs):

  • Technical set-up is usually quicker than for offset printing (a PDF file is generally supplied)
  • Big inventories of a book or print material don’t need to be kept in stock, decreasing storage, handling costs, and inventory accounting costs. There is little or no waste from unsold products.
  • These benefits reduce the risks associated with publishing books and prints and can lead to increased choice for consumers. However, the reduced risks for the publisher may also mean that high quality control is much less rigorous than usual.


Publish on Demand (book publishing)

Occasionally known as publish on demand, is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or document) are not printed until an order has been received. “Print on Demand” developed only after digital printing began, simply because it was not economical or viable to print single copies using traditional lithographic printing technology like letterpress and offset printing.

Many traditional little presses have replaced their conventional printing equipment with Print On Demand equipment or contract their printing out to Print On Demand service providers.

Many educational publishers, including university presses, use the Print On Demand services to keep a big backlist; some even use POD for all of their publications. Larger publishers may use POD in special circumstances, like reprinting older titles that had been out of print or for performing test marketing.

Other publishing

Digital technology is ideally suited to publish little print runs of posters (often as a single copy) when they’re needed. The introduction of UV-curable inks and media for big format inkjet printers has allowed artists, photographers and owners of image collections to take benefit of print on demand.
Some businesses specialize in POD booklets, catalogues or magazines.