Book Printing

Which type of distribution is right for you?

Traditional vs. Print-On-Demand

There are two types of book distribution for ​printed books: ​P​rint-​O​n-​D​emand (POD)​ and Traditional Distribution.

​Your personal Publishing Consultant will help you decide which model will work best for you, your book, and your budget, but the following questions ​can get you moving in the right direction:

  • ​How important is it to me ​that I​ get my book in bookstores? Do I want that opportunity enough to warrant the additional expenses of Traditional Distribution?
  • What’s my publishing budget? Does my budget allow​ for ​up-front printing and storage?
  • Does my book have any specific printing needs that would be better addressed by an offset printer? Color interior, hardcover with dust jacket, foil stamping, or embossing?

Print-On-Demand (POD) Distribution

POD means books are printed to order; there’s no physical inventory of your book sitting around​. When someone purchases your book through or, the order is sent to the POD printer, where your book is ​promptly ​printed and ​sent off in the mail to a happy reader.​​

Bookstores and other retailers who work ​with Ingram or Baker & Taylor​ ​can order copies of your book at wholesale price, and those order​s​ ​are​ printed and delivered.​ ​We recommend adding ​our hassle-free ​Lifetime Book Return ​Service​ into your publishing package​,​ so ​bookstores​ ​can feel confident about stocking ​your books.


  • Ideal for lighter publishing budgets. Lower​ initial​ investment. No need to spend money to print books ahead of time or store them ​somewhere.
  • You don’t have to worry about selling an​ entire​ inventory.


  • ​Print options are more standard, less customizable. POD​ printing ​(particularly color) sometimes has toner variance.
  • Higher per-book print cost.
  • Less ​suitable for children’s books due to​ variance in color ​printing and ​pricing of hard covers.
  • Presentation of your book and marketing pitch to retailers is not included in POD.

Traditional Distribution

Our Traditional Distribution services mirror the model used by traditional publishing houses: a large print run of your​ book ​is done ahead of time and ​copies are ​stored at ​the distribution center​. ​The​ distributor then fulfills orders using your printed inventory.

One benefit of Traditional Distribution is that a distributor can send copies of your book and its marketing materials to the buyers at Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor, and this exposure increases your chances of getting placed in bookstores.


  • ​Offset printing gives you better per-book print costs ​for large quantities, as well as ​a slew of ​​customization options ​and high-quality print jobs.
  • More ​suitable for children’s books.
  • Presentation of your book​ to book buyers, ​increasing chance​s​ of being picked up by brick-and-mortar stores.


  • Higher up-front expense​, for print​ing​ an inventory of books to ​stock in the distribution center.
  • Maintenance fees ​over the lifespan of your book: storage, returns​ service,​ and shipping.
  • You ​will need to sell through the ​entire ​inventory you print​ to avoid having​ “leftover” books.
What You Get with Traditional Distribution
Advantages of Traditional Distribution