Print-On-Demand (POD) Publishing – Clarifying the Confusion

I have been successfully writing, publishing and marketing my books and ebooks via various online channels for more than 7 years now, so I know a thing or two about the subject. That’s what leads me to write this article in an attempt to demystify and clarify the meaning of the term “Relx Pods publishing”. In recent years I have observed that there is an incredible amount of misunderstanding and confusion with respect to the widely used term “print-on-demand (POD) publishing”, and it’s much more than just a difference in semantics. In fact, the confusion between “POD publishing” and “POD printing” has sent many a small time author down the wrong road. So, as an author and self-publisher myself, I feel I owe it to aspiring authors and self-publishers to give them a “heads-up” and warn them about this confusion that can result in a lot of unnecessary disappointment and expense.

The reality is that there continues to be massive confusion and misinformation online about the whole subject of “POD publishers” versus “POD printers”. Even many of the so-called and/or self-appointed experts who make online posts about this subject on the various publishing forums are either confused themselves or are deliberately misleading people. (It’s actually in the best interest of “vanity publishers” to create and perpetuate confusion on this subject). Most of that confusion is centered on the two widely misused, often confused, and frequently misunderstood terms, “POD publishing” and “POD printing”; around which there continues to revolve significant misinformation.

Print-on-demand (POD) is simply a “printing technology”; a relatively new one that allows anyone who uses it to print paper books in small quantities (even one copy at a time) at reasonable per-unit costs. This degree of cost-efficiency was impossible before POD printing technology became widely available a few years ago. Since then, many different types of printers and publishers have implemented POD printing technology; some quite effectively and legitimately; while some others, not so much.

Unfortunately, in recent years as POD printing technology has become more accessible and widespread, the dreaded “vanity publishers” have quickly adopted that technology and have now in effect co-opted the term POD and started referring to themselves as “POD publishers”. This has caused massive confusion, since every company that uses POD printing technology to do low-volume book printing is now automatically grouped with the vanity publishers as “POD publishers”. This makes it very difficult to tell the difference between the vanity publishers and legitimate POD publishers and/or printers.

If you are a small- time author and/or self-publisher, what you really need is a true “POD printer” with its own fulfillment service and an extensive distribution network. In reality, there are only a few genuine “POD printers” with full distribution capabilities, although many of the “vanity publishers” pretend/claim to possess these.

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