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Print on demand

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Print on demand is a digital printing mode to offer in the shortest possible time and in small quantities (sometimes only one copy) works whose small circulation induce excessive costs in traditional printing.


The advantage of printing on demand – POD for “Print on Demand” – is particularly the speed with which such works can be printed (immediately if necessary) and the fact that it can print very small amounts corresponding to firm orders, editorial experiments or promotional copies, avoiding heavy constraints stock (need for storage space, returns management, unsold shelling, etc.). Born from digital printing and generalization of personal computers, printing on demand applies to book printing techniques and perfecting the already used for printing office documents.


  • To print online rare or not found books that passed into the public domain. Of the approximately 2.5 million digitized and accessible online immediately, about 240,000 are now available in print on demand and in one copy if necessary. Reproduced even on high quality soft paper and embellished with a cover printed on a high quality ivory textured, these books can be ordered directly from the website, but also through online bookstores, the latter with a chance to order them and sell them in any traditional library.

  • Order online or in a bookstore a copy of a book out of stock will be printed and mailed by the publisher himself within hours of receiving the order. This way, the publisher, as the bookseller, overcome any problem of storage and replenishment. The fund shares are available at any time and a book is never exhausted. The delivery time is the same as if the book was out of stock, ideal for slow and out of stock titles which the reprint is not economically feasible.

  • To print immediately to booksellers equipped with the right machine, as the Espresso Book Machine, books copyrighted whose digital file is made available by their publishers, works in the public domain and accessible in free databases such as Google Books or even personal work provided on electronic media such as a USB key. In less than ten minutes the book is available, includinf color cover.

  • The Print on Demand also allows traditional publishers to reprint low-cost short-run titles, but little demand corresponding to firm orders as well as niche books dealing only a targeted audience by limiting their financial risks. Offset printing books being very costly below 1 000, POD enables to run against very small runs at much cheaper rates.

  • Today, some purely numerical formerly publishers also offer a paper version of their files.

  • Self-publishing: to print his own book online from a digital file and become his own publisher. The printed result is similar to a commercial edition and cheaper than publishing at the author’s account. It can be ship the copies and ensure self marketing, but some important print structures can also manage the promotion and/or logistics sales if necessary (taking orders, track deliveries and billing). Printers such as the CPI Group and Lightning Source has fully developed this model.

Other structures such as WeLoveWords, TheBookEdition, Books on Demand (BoD), I Publishes, Bookelis or Lulu, are not printers but service companies that outsource the printing, offering same time POD, promotion and logistics sales of works of their customers. Some even offer them for sale on external websites such as Amazon, Chapter, Google Play, iTunes or the Apple AppStore and others today expose these titles at the Paris Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Dedicated machines

Printing machines commonly used in January 2014 are:

  • Espresso Book Machine from Xerox, which prints books at the minute, in a single copy in specialized stores open to the public (bookstores, libraries, cultural institutions, etc.). This printer/binder/trimming, the size of a large professional multifunction copier, is also used to print some books ordered online on sites dedicated to printing on demand.

  • Kodak Prosper 5000XLi, an inkjet rotating 23 meters long, capable of printing works of a similar quality to that of offset. It is now part of the equipment of some advanced printing that caters to a small, medium and large customer publishers for printing short and medium runs.

  • HP rotary inkjet, huge machines that will replace one day offset presses, although they still have a bright future ahead of them. Also dedicated to the printing of short and medium runs, they are used in large structures such as the CPI Group, the largest in Europe, or Dupli Print, Isiprint and Maqprint. These machines meet the demands of the largest publishers

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