In a traditional publishing situation, the publisher is a person or organization typically unrelated to the author. This unrelated entity takes care of all the responsibilities of publishing a book like the selection of a manuscript, preparing it for printing, printing copies, marketing and distribution. In self-publishing, the author herself takes the role of a publisher. Hence, she bears all the responsibilities of publishing her book, in return retaining the power to make independent decisions about the content and presentation of the book. For more check out Self Publishing 101 article.
- No up-front investment is required in printing a large number of copies.
- Each copy is printed separately, so each of them can be customized.
- The manuscript can be updated, if needed, for new copies, because all the copies need not be printed in one go.
- The quality of printing has become very good with newer machines and it matches the offset printing quality for most practical purposes.
- If you have to print a large number of copies, the per copy cost with offset printing becomes much less. So, POD is not cost effective for large print runs.
- Offset printing quality, especially for color photos, still exceeds the Print on Demand quality
No. Print-on-Demand (POD) is just a printing technique. It can be used for traditional publishing or self-publishing.
Similarly self-publishing can be done with offset printing or with Print-on-Demand (POD).
These terms are often used together and even interchangeably, because self publishers, with tight print budgets, are probably the ones who benefit from POD almost immediately and hence are one of the first to embrace POD.
Advantages of self publishing:
- Don't have to chase publishers/agents.
- The book makes it to the market faster because you are the sole decision maker.
- Complete Control over your book.
- Ability to publish on niche, specialized topics which publishers of mass market books may not be interested in.
- Easy to publish for friends/family.
Disadvantages of self publishing:
- Operational and financial burden of Self Publishing (Pothi.com platform eases a lot of this).
- Marketing and promotion is your responsibility.
- Since no third party has vouched for the quality of your content, reviewers and critics can ignore the book.