Print on Demand vs Bulk Offset printing

For my new project, Milk and Cookies, I am making a big change.

For both Milk and Lily the Limpet Gets Lost I used Print-on-demand (pod). Milk is on both KDP and Ingram Spark and I only use Ingram Spark for the print editions of Lily. I love POD, I really do:

- It's cheap - there are little or no setup fees and you pay per unit for any stock you want to hold yourself. But you don't have to hold any!
- It's easy to use.
- There's no waste. You don't have to guess how many copies will sell - they are printed to order as you go.
- You don't have to store large quantities of books.
- Easy revisions. If you notice a mistake you can fix it and reupload. You won't have to trash the 2000 books you ordered.
- They handle your distribution

But, of course it's not that simple. With two books under my belt I feel a little more confident in my ability to navigate publishing. I'm ready to try something new. So, I'm going to print my next project in bulk!

One of the biggest drivers for me is quality. For adult length novels the quality is absolutely fine with POD. But if you want to publish a children's book (as I have done and will do again) or something like an art book, the paper quality is a little lacking. You don't have multiple thickness and finish options to make sure that you've chosen the appropriate paper stock for your project. And it does make children's books a little floppy, thin and matte. It's great to be able to choose a suitable quality for your project so you know your customers will be delighted. And, if you're a stationery nerd like me, you will LOVE feeling all the different papers 🙂

That's not all though:

- Printing in bulk offers a lower per-unit cost, meaning your profit margin is higher.
- You have more printing options and finishes.
- You have better access to brick and mortar stores and potentially better looking books for events.

So, although I will have to handle my own distribution and take the risk of paying for boxes and boxes of copies up-front, it's a risk worth taking. I will be moving my children's books to this form of publishing and perhaps my future adult books too! I'm nervous, but excited.

How do you publish your books? What are the pros and cons for you?

Take care, Emma x

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