Using Print On Demand To Publish Your Book

print on demand

In an earlier post on this site, I wrote about the differences in self-publishing via traditional print and Print On Demand (POD).

My latest book, Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day, was published via POD, which was a new experience for me.

Print On Demand is a digital way of getting your book published and POD printers use PDF-files to print copies of books.

On the internet, there are literally hundreds of websites that offer POD services. Some as simple as they can be with hardly any costs involved, others who offer packages to help the less computer-savvy on their way.

Without Print On Demand, my book would have taken longer to get published.

Falling in the latter category myself, I did a lot of research on the net to find a self-publishing agency that could help me with the more technical side of being published.

I ended up with the UK-based Authors OnLine.

What was important to me as an author was that:

  • They offered a wide range of packages from just uploading a pdf for an ebook, to creating pdf’s for publishing as ebook, POD or both;
  • The copyrights of the manuscript stayed with me as author;
  • I was allowed to sell the book myself;
  • Although there is a contract, I can break it without any extra costs, if I decide to go somewhere else to publish the book, or if I want to take it off the market.

Authors OnLine created the PDFs, while I designed the front & back cover myself, thereby reducing the costs.

After okaying the first POD copy of my book, sales started.

While the people from Authors OnLine were working on my PDFs, I set up a website on which to sell the book. I also started to think about marketing it. This is still an ongoing project, which takes a lot of time and dedication.

Over all I am very happy with using a self-publishing agency and with the help they offered me, for without that I am sure my book wouldn’t have been published so soon. Obviously, people who are more confident with creating PDFs can save money by doing that part of the process themselves.

It needs to be said however, that POD in general is an expensive way of printing. The print costs are calculated per page, to which is added a set price for the cover. In my experience, this works out much higher than the print costs when using traditional printing.

You then have the choice of making the sales price for the book higher, to generate more profit, or keeping it low (and therefore probably sell more) for less profit.

I think that if I had had enough money saved up to pay for a large print-run using traditional print, I would have chosen traditional print over POD, simply because my book would have been less expensive, making more profit. Nevertheless, that was not an option for me this time.

I would love to hear what other peoples experiences are with self-publishing. Do you have a satisfactory profit margin and what marketing strategies work for you?

~ Maria

Do you have experience with self-publishing? Share your experience!

About Maria Staal 2 Articles

Author, geek and world-explorer, Maria Staal was born in the Netherlands where she studied construction engineering and became a specialist in architectural history.  Her love of travel led her to embark on not one, but two ocean crossings on container ships, which in turn led to an impromptu job working for a shipping company writing guidebooks for passengers.  Her latest book, 'Times Zones, Conainers and Three Square Meals a Day' is a narrative travelogue and an account of the time she spent working on the ships.

Maria also blogs about her experiences as a writer and world traveler at and about her quest to learn more about a saintly ancestor at a new site set to launch very soon.

You can purchase her first two books at, and follow Maria on twitter at


  1. Excellent post Maria!

    I have a couple of books I’ve been trying to work on over the years, but I’m becoming more motivated to finish them this coming year. I’ve been meaning to research the POD option, so this is very timely and helpful information.

    By the way, your book did arrive and I’ve just started reading it, but I’m really enjoying it!

    • I’m glad you find my info helpfull, Trisha. Thank you.

      I was wondering if the book had arrived. We’ve had postal strikes here and bad weather, but it’s good to know that it made it across the Atlantic. :)

  2. I decided about 4 weeks ago to self-publish a collection of my travel writing, which was lying on my hard drive unseen. Some of the pieces had won awards, and when i read through them I thought a lot of them still stood up as good reads. I ended up with 71,000 words and 56 pieces!

    Such is the changing nature of publishing that within 3 weeks the Kindle edition was on sale:
    I’ve now approved the proof for the Amazon paperback POD edition, and that should be up on Amazon within a few days.

    I’ve also used Smashwords to make it available in the Apple Store, Barnes and Noble, and everywhere else that Smashwords deals with. Cost to me? Nothing but time. I already sold one copy of the Smashwords edition, and of the $14.99 price I received $12.12. I’m going to reduce that to $9.99 though, in line with the Kindle edition.

    • Wow, bringing out a book in 3 weeks! That is really fast and a good example of how much publishing has changed. I hope the sales will go well for you, Mike.

      I am at the moment formating my new book for Kindle and am hoping to do the same for Smashwords soon.
      POD is a good medium, but the profit is in selling your book as ebook as well.

    • Mike,

      I’m so glad to hear your Amazon experience was good as I’m getting ready to embark on some of my own. I’ve decided to expand my blog stories into Wine And Spirits Travel Guidebooks, using the blogs from each trip as a start and adding in the details and photos I didn’t have room for.

      After a horrendous experience with a publisher who owes me money and has managed to sidestep the legal system (don’t even think about signing with Mansion Grove House), I have decided to self-publish from now on. What I’ve read on this (great) site and around the web had made me lean toward the Amazon Kindle, e-book, maybe print edition route and yours was yet another positive one.

      Good luck with your publications!

      • Hi Marcia, Sorry to hear you had problems with your publisher. Self-publishing is a very good alternative.
        I have done a lot of research into ebooks the last week and found that having an ebook on Amazon is great, but that it’s a good idea to publish via Smashwords as well. Via Smashwords you can get your ebook on many more sites than just Kindle, which gives you more chance to sell.
        The problem is that someone with, for example, a Sony reader, can’t buy a Kindle book, because they use different formatting systems.
        Smashwords gives you the opportunity to publish for many different e-readers, including Kindle, so it might be an idea to check out their site.
        Good luck with publishing your own book!
        .-= Maria Staal´s last blog post: The Book That Didn’t Want To leave My House =-.

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