The dynamics of Print on Demand (POD)

In an insightful tête-à-tête, Smita Dwivedi engages with Pinaki Ghosh, Co-founder of Power Publishers & Motion Pictures, and M N Pandey, Director of Avantika Printers Private Limited, to bring excerpts that unveil the evolution, advantages, and future trends of this revolutionary publishing model.

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In recent times, the Print on Demand (PoD) model has revolutionized the publishing industry, facilitating efficient on-demand book printing, minimizing warehousing costs, and providing unparalleled flexibility for both authors and publishers.

The paradigm shift

“Over the last 5 – 7 years, a paradigm shift has occurred in the publishing landscape,”says Pinaki Ghosh, Co-founder, Power Publishers & Motion Pictures. “Publishers are veering away from traditional offset printing towards the agile and responsive Print on Demand (POD) model. This shift not only saves on warehousing cost and storage space but also mitigates the risk associated with estimating demand.”

Whereas, MN Pandey, Director, Avantika Printers, emphasizes the indispensability of Print on Demand, especially for short print runs, in today’s evolving publishing scenario. “The model’s flexibility and cost-effectiveness make it a vital tool for efficiently managing smaller print quantities, aligning seamlessly with specific market needs,” he adds.

Niche books thriving in the POD realm

Pinaki highlights the significant cost savings in warehousing and storage space that POD offers. “Publishers can print minimal quantities, as low as 10 copies, and reprint based on demand. This proves beneficial for first-time authors and self-publishers, aligning with the demand-driven and cost-efficient nature of the POD approach,” he adds. While, MN Pandey underscores the success of niche books in the POD realm, emphasizing its appeal for authors and publishers focusing on sustainability and flexibility.

Decoding the cost dynamics

MN Pandey draws attention to the common pitfall of focusing on unit costs for large quantities and underscores the financial sensibility of adopting better models like Print on Demand.

Pinaki shares, “Whether the book is black and white or color, the number of pages, dimensions, binding type, and print quantity all contribute to the overall expenses. This flexibility allows for tailored cost calculations based on specific project requirements.”

Mitigating risks and minimizing expenses

Pinaki further explains that POD addresses the decline in readership of printed books by offering a cost-effective printing model. “Printing fewer copies minimizes expenses. This model is particularly embraced by self-publishers, allowing them to test demand risk-free,” he said. He cites the example of Building the Perfect Beast by Neil George, initially self-published using POD, which gained popularity and was later republished by Harper Collins in larger quantities.

MN Pandey emphasizes the collaborative approach between authors and publishers in utilizing networks for seamless reader reach. “This approach simplifies the process, allowing authors to focus on content creation while publishers connect effectively with readers,” he shares.

Bridging traditions with flexibility

Pinaki Ghosh elucidates how the flexibility between traditional offset and POD digital printing empowers publishers and authors to cater to diverse book types. “Traditional offset printing remains the preferred choice for bestsellers, renowned authors, or educational materials. Conversely, the PoD model facilitates cost-effective printing of small quantities for self-publishing, debut authors, or niche genres. This adaptable approach optimizes the publishing process based on specific book requirements and audience dynamics,” he says.

MN Pandey provides insights into a publisher acquiring 20 copies of 20 different titles, selling them through the Amazon platform. “This strategy reflects a diverse range of titles, possibly gauging demand or catering to varied reader interests. Selling through Amazon provides broad reach and convenience for customers to access and purchase these titles online,” he adds.

Trends and tips – navigating post-COVID publishing realities

Pinaki commends self-publishers in India for pioneering the POD model, now embraced by traditional publishers printing fewer copies. His advice is clear: authors should opt for PoD to avoid lengthy waits, with books published in just two weeks compared to the traditional model’s year-long waiting period.

While, MN Pandey observes the post-COVID shift where many publishers abandoned traditional warehouses, opting for the streamlined and cost-effective PoD model. “This strategic response allows publishers to efficiently meet demand without the burdens of excess inventory, signaling an economically viable future for the industry,” he says.

Envisioning the future – The confluence of audio-visual elements

Pinaki anticipates the future integration of more audio-visual elements in publishing. “Educational texts featuring QR codes allow students to scan with Google Lens for narrations or animated explanations, enhancing engagement and reading enjoyment. Books are transitioning to audio stories on platforms like YouTube, Audible, and Spotify. Augmented reality printing emerges as a frontier, offering an immersive reading experience when viewed through a phone lens,” he says.

MN Pandey underscores the pivotal role of inline production technology in maintaining control over book sizes in the POD model. “Managing fewer book sizes becomes more cost-effective, combined with control over paper type, quality, and GSM. This technology-driven approach streamlines production, enhancing efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the PoD industry,” he says.

On a concluding note

The POD model emerges not just as a printing solution but as a catalyst for sustainability, flexibility, and efficiency in the contemporary publishing industry. As the industry navigates uncertainties and embraces innovations, Print on Demand stands at the forefront, shaping the future of publishing.

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