Let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you likely want to self-publish something. You’ve probably heard about Print-on-Demand books and you’re ready to deepen your understanding.

Well, luckily, here at 3 ferns, our goal is to demystify and help you navigate your self-publishing journey with confidence and ease.

In this blog, we’ll explore what Print-on-Demand is, why it could be beneficial for you, and some cautions to keep in mind.

What is Print-on-Demand?

Print-on-Demand is a publishing model where, unlike traditional publishing deals that require an author and a publishing company to contract for a set number of books, you get to choose how, when, and how much of your books will be printed at a certain time.

Just as the name says, Print-on-Demand books are books that are only printed as they are ordered. Think of it like food at a restaurant that’s made to order, it’s not a fast food chain that has your food ready to go, but it’s made for you when you ask for it.

In recent years, Print-on-Demand books have been growing in popularity. More and more people are wanting their stories heard but sometimes the traditional publishing can be rather restrictive, and it may be difficult to get anyone to pick up your book.

Self-publishing may seem like a daunting task but the Print-on-Demand  model can make it easier for people wanting to start their publishing journey.

Why it could be beneficial

Let’s go over a few of the reasons why Print-on-Demand is an option that many self-published authors choose.

Ease and accessibility

Print-on-Demand platforms are designed to be user-friendly. There’s a plethora of services you can choose from, which means that you can find the platform best suited for you and your needs.

Print-on-Demand platforms streamline the process from uploading your manuscript to printing and even handling the logistics to get the books to customers. This takes the pressure off of authors who might not be tech-savvy.

With this, you can focus on the more creative aspects of your book journey, such as the actual writing and the ever so infamous and important marketing strategy.

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Say goodbye to towers and towers of books waiting to be sent off!

One of the biggest pros people might share when it comes to Print-on-Demand, is that there is no need to worry about inventory management. You won’t be staring at unopened boxes full of your precious writing. Since books are printed as orders come in, you don’t need to store large quantities of books, saving you space and the hassle of managing unsold stock.


Print-on-Demand offers excellent scalability. Whether you need a single copy for a proof or hundreds of copies for a book launch, Print-on-Demand can accommodate your needs without any additional setup costs.

You can start with small print runs to gauge interest and gradually increase production as demand rises. With this kind of flexibility, you’ll make sure that you never overextend your resources or face the challenge of managing excess inventory. 

When your book starts gaining popularity, you can seamlessly scale up production without the delays or costs associated with traditional printing methods. This dynamic approach enables you to respond quickly to market trends and reader preferences, ensuring your book is always available when needed


This model typically has a higher per-unit cost compared to traditional printing methods (up to 60% profit per unit!). This means that while the initial investment is lower, the profit margins per book sold can be thinner. It’s crucial to factor this into your pricing strategy where you can make the best profit while ensuring it’s fair to your readers.

With the rise of niche markets and readers getting more and more specific about what they want to read – the exclusivity and interest has allowed a slight price increase for certain books with specific topics. With the right strategies, good marketing, optimized pricing, and quality assurance, Print-on-Demand and self-publishing can be very lucrative!


As wonderful as it is, Print-on-Demand is definitely not a walk in the park. Here are some things to look out for when considering this option.


Print-on-Demand may be cost effective. You only pay for what you print every time you need to make an order, which can help you manage your costs better. 

However, it is important to note though that some Print-on-Demand services may ask for a “joining” or “setup fee”. This does not apply to some of the more popular options like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Barnes & Noble Press. You will also need to allocate a budget for editing and design services. 

Where traditional publishing would cover all of these things, including marketing, with Print-on-Demand, and self-publishing in general, this part is up to you.

Quality control

While Print-on-Demand technology has improved significantly, there can still be variability in print quality. It’s essential to review proofs and be aware that the quality might not always match that of traditional offset printing.

We recommend batch testing by ordering one or even small batch orders to see how your books look when they have been shipped out.

It’s rather a common issue with Print-on-Demand that with very large batches, there may be some pieces that have printing errors or have been damaged in the shipping process. Usually though, self-published authors manage this by doing smaller orders at a time.

What do we think?

With Print-on-Demand, the trade-off for the convenience is really just accepting that the print quality is variable and out of your hands. However, if you’re open to this flexibility, it’s absolutely a cost-effective and easy to start solution. Starting with small orders can help minimize potential printing errors, allowing you to address any issues before scaling up.

Get in-depth guidance!

If you’re considering Print-on-Demand for your self-publishing journey, personalized guidance can make all the difference. Schedule a complimentary Clarity Call with Leesa Ellis to explore how Print-on-Demand can fit into your publishing strategy and get expert advice specific for your needs!

Leesa’s experience and insights will help you navigate the world of self-publishing with confidence.

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