Print-on-demand (POD) is a handy technology that lets you make your own books, from novels to photo albums, and place them for sale on a publisher’s website.
As services, the books are only printed when they’re ordered. The biggest and best is Blurb.com, which printed over 1.2 million books in 2009. Here's how it works.
1. Pick your design tool
Blurb offers Booksmart, an excellent free tool for making books, or blank templates for Adobe InDesign if you want complete creative control. Booksmart includes page templates for making things like recipe books, novels and blog-to-book.
2. Choose your format
A large square or landscape book with a hard cover for photography, a pocket-sized paperback for a novel, or book of poetry, or somewhere in between for a textbook or recipe collection.
3. Lay out your pages
As when making a newspaper or magazine, you’re best off using high-resolution images, but you shouldn’t have to edit your words as much – you get a lot more space to play with in a book, and adding more pages is relatively cheap.
4. Place your order
Obviously you’ll want at least one copy for yourself, and Blurb books make excellent gifts, but you can also sell your books on demand, just by enabling others to print them from the website. You can pick your price: if you’ve made a book of photos for your friends, you’ll want them to be able to get it cheaply, but if you’ve made a specialist textbook, you might want to make a profit from it.
5. Check the quality
Among POD publishers, Blurb is top for print quality. Even our Production editor, Marc Mclaren, was impressed when he ordered some – and it’s his job to make sure Stuff looks as nice as it does.
from £free| lulu.com
Lulu will also help you create and sell your own books (and calendars, too) and in some ways it goes further. It’s especially attractive if you’re looking to sell your work – not only will Lulu give your book an ISBN number, help you sell your book on Amazon, and convert it into an ebook (which they’ll sell on the site) for free, but they also have a range of marketing packages to help get your self-published work out into the world. For us, though, Blurb’s superior print quality makes it the first choice for anything with pictures.