Why Book Stores do not Order Print on Demand Books?

At some point, every author reaches the point where one question must be asked: How can I get my book into stores? Your book is written, the text is edited and corrected, the cover is designed, but what now? There are many different ways to publish your book. One of the most common is the “print on demand” process.

Here, your digital data is transmitted to the POD provider and stored. Your book is only printed and sent to all customers by order.

However, even with this publishing method, there are considerations that need to be made beforehand.

Of course, the POD method offers some advantages for your book publication:


1. Your Financial Risk is Lowered:

If your book doesn’t sell, you won’t be stuck with the print run and thus the costs. This means that you can also produce products with low demand without incurring expenses.

2. Cost Factor

Of course, books can be produced cost-effectively with print on demand, since the printing costs are significantly cheaper than with a print run due to a uniform printing process. However, this only applies if not so many copies are sold. Above a certain print run, the print run becomes cheaper.Likewise, there are no storage costs for your books.

3. Small Series

POD can also be used to print individual books that would not be profitable for run printing.

But where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages!


1. Long Delivery Times

Your books are printed only when the order is received, so the delivery time is about one week. But here, of course, the seasonal influences must also be considered. Especially during the Christmas season, waiting times can be longer than a week. The spontaneous gift for grandma, is thus unfortunately not guaranteed 😉

2. Simplified Printing Equipment

Due to the low printing costs, the features of print on demand are very limited. Whoever wants refinements, embossing, high-quality paper,…etc., will unfortunately not find his luck here. As a rule, a print run is also of higher quality than  print on demand.


3. Accessibility for Customers

This is by far the point you should think about the most, because your book will not be available in bookstores (unless of course you land directly on the bestseller list), since print on demand titles cannot be remitted by booksellers. Of course, your book can be ordered by customers in bookstores. But there is also a serious catch here.



4. Many Customers Like to Order Books for Viewing First!

This is not possible with POD, because many bookstores have an obligation to accept POD titles. Ergo, the ordered book must also be purchased without customers being able to get an impression of it. Looking at the book, reading it and then deciding on the purchase is not granted herewith. This means that no matter how interesting your book is, the risk of buying it is ultimately borne by the customer. And they usually don’t want to bear this risk.

Also bookstores often get problems with their customers, (often even with regular customers), because they are not willing to pay for a book without prior inspection.

If the bookseller orders a POD book upon request and the book is not picked up, the bookseller is left with the costs. As mentioned above, the book cannot be returned. Consequently, after a certain period of time, the work ends up in the rummage box, is given away to employees or, in the worst case, destroyed.

In summary, a book can be ordered in the bookstore, but it has at least a week’s delivery time, and customers must already be convinced that they want to buy it. Spontaneous buyers can therefore never be reached and the advertising effort for your product is higher than when printing a small edition.

This concerns the German-speaking market, and may differ in other countries.

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