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Jargon buster - POD

The term ‘print on demand’ (POD) crops up from time to time. I’m also often asked questions about it at seminars. So to clear things up, what exactly is POD and what does it mean for authors?

Quite simply, POD is a process of printing which does what it says on the tin – it prints as many books as is required at any given time.

Some speculate that POD could change the way publishers do business. Traditionally publishers estimate the number of copies of a book that they think will sell and produce print runs accordingly. In order to be cost-effective print runs tend to be large (i.e., into the thousands), but this also runs the risk that not all the books will be sold. Disappointing sales can leave the publisher with a deficit in their budget and storage costs for the unwanted stock, which may eventually need to be pulped.

POD is good news for the published author as it means their book can be made available to order a copy at the time - in effect, it need never go out of print (and the author continues to receives income from it). Readers, meanwhile, will always have access to a new copy of the book they want to read.

It’s not bad news for the aspiring author either. In theory because of the reduced financial risks for publishers, there might be an increased number of new books being taken on.

What to know more? Pick up your copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook today.

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Jargon Buster - MTA