If you’ve been surfing the indie author channels for long, you’ve probably heard about Print on Demand (POD) services like D2D Print. But what exactly is Print on Demand, and how does it work for self-published authors?

In a world where most readers still reach for a print book over a digital option, POD has leveled the playing field. It has opened up a whole world of sales opportunities (literally) for any indie author.

Read on to learn what POD is, how it works, and how you can get started.

What is Print on Demand (POD)?

Print on Demand may be the biggest thing to happen to publishing since the printing press.

On-demand printing is exactly what it sounds like. Books live in a printer’s database and aren’t set to paper until a copy is ordered. Technology has made it viable for commercial printers to print one-off copies of a book as orders come through, flinging the doors wide open for indie authors to put their books in print.

This is nothing short of revolutionary for self-published authors, who once faced a difficult choice: miss out on the benefits of print altogether, or take a major financial risk by ordering a large print run. 

POD makes it easy and affordable for anyone to make their books available in print to readers worldwide, without having to pay upfront printing costs or store inventory. 

The Benefits of Print on Demand for Indie Authors

The list of benefits is long, but here are a few of our favorites:

Print books on demand

It’s all in the name, but it bears repeating. Rather than ordering a pallet of books and figuring out how to sell all of that inventory after the fact, self-published authors can now offer their books in print without fear of losing their garage (or their marriage). 

With POD, you can order exactly as many copies of your book as you want, whenever you want—and so can your readers. If you want to bring copies to a signing or hand-sell them at a local market, you can order a batch. Don’t want to carry copies around? Make your print books available wide through Draft2Digital and let your readers order them wherever fine POD books are sold.

Reduce financial risk

Self-publishing nearly always involves some level of risk, in the sense that results aren’t guaranteed. You’ll likely pay out of pocket for professional services such as editing and cover design, and it can take time to make that money back.

With POD, you don’t have to add “print run” to your list of expenses. Small indie presses also benefit, as they don’t have to try to predict the demand for a given book but instead can let readers decide when to purchase.

Easy updates

When you print hundreds or thousands of copies of a book at once, any errors that slip through the cracks stay put until the next big batch goes to the printer. With POD, a few simple and quick changes to the digital file are all you need. Simply allow some time for the updates to reach the printer, and voila! Future book orders will include your changes. 

Stay in stock

Because there’s no inventory to manage, POD books are never out of stock. You never have to worry about demand exceeding supply, and your books will remain available as long as you want them to be.

High quality

It may sound like a pipe dream, but POD allows for almost every fancy upgrade you’ve seen on your bookstore shelf: matte or glossy covers, deckle-edging, full wraparound cover images … POD has it all. Your self-published book will look like something any of the Big Five publishers would be proud of.

Order fulfillment

Without a traditional publisher at their backs, early self-published authors who chose to publish in print had to handle all the fulfillment and shipping themselves. Picture garages and kitchen tables piled high with boxes and labels, the beleaguered author in charge of getting everything out the door. POD makes fulfillment manageable by eliminating the footwork. Self-published authors don’t have to be involved at all beyond motivating readers to make a purchase. 

Accessible formatting

D2D Print makes the act of formatting your manuscript for print incredibly easy—and, dare we say, even fun? If you don’t pay for a formatting tool like Vellum, don’t worry. Choose from one of several (free) templated formats to give your book that pro look.


If you’ve never seen what happens to the unsold books that don’t make it out a shop’s front door, count yourself lucky. The books that don’t find a home end up getting destroyed, leading to a lot of paper waste and environmental impact. POD reduces waste by ensuring that every book has a home before it’s printed. 

What are you waiting for? Upload your manuscript and give D2D Print a try today!