May 10, 2024 • 4 min read

What is Print on Demand?

Our comprehensive guide will help you discover the potential of print on demand. Discover how this business model optimizes costs and enhances creators' flexibility.

What is Print on Demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a revolutionary business model transforming how creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses approach product creation and sales. This model allows products to be printed and shipped upon order, eliminating the need for extensive inventory management and reducing upfront costs. Understanding how print on demand can benefit you is essential, so let's dive into what it involves.


The print-on-demand process

It all starts with a product idea, such as a print-on-demand book. Once you've decided on your concept, designed it, and set it up, a third-party provider (POD partner) will help you prepare your product for production. They'll print, package, and ship copies of your product to your customers whenever they place an order.


Credit: Freepik


Steps to creating a print-on-demand product

Creating a product with print on demand involves several key steps:

  • Concept: Consider what you want to make and why you want to make it in the first place. What do you want to achieve by creating a POD product? Is it greater reach and engagement, or are you seeking a new revenue stream?
  • Design: Use the concept phase as a springboard for your design. It could involve several tasks, from formatting a book cover design to arranging photographs. Will you design the item yourself, and what programs will you use? Or will you enlist a graphic designer's help?
  • Selecting a POD partner: Choosing the right partner is crucial. As you review print-on-demand websites, it would help if you asked yourself questions like:
  1. Does this service offer the products I'm looking for?
  2. Does this service offer quality products that meet my and my business standards?
  3. Does this service offer reasonable production times and reliable fulfillment options?
  4. Does this service offer excellent support to help me and my customers resolve issues effectively?
  • Setting up your store: You can set up an online store on third-party platforms or integrate it with your existing website to start selling your POD products.
  • Marketing your products: Effective marketing strategies are essential to attract customers to buy your POD products. Utilize social media, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and content marketing to reach your target audience. Showcasing customer reviews and success stories can also significantly boost your credibility and attract more customers.


Advantages of print on demand

Print on demand has numerous advantages, including:

  • Low startup costs: The entry barrier is low since there's no need to purchase inventory upfront.
  • Zero inventory management: Your POD partner handles inventory, so you don't have to worry about storage or unsold stock.
  • Flexibility and customization: Offer custom products without needing to print in bulk.
  • Scalability: Easily scale your operations based on demand without significant investment.


Our most popular print-on-demand products

At Mixam, we specialize in various POD products. Some popular products include:

  • Booksself-publishers and authors can sell copies cost-effectively without large inventory, catering to niche markets.
  • Bookletsbusiness owners can provide flexible, low-cost production of customized materials for specific events, promotions, or informational purposes.
  • Zinestheir small-scale, niche appeal enables creators to produce limited runs affordably and with immense creative freedom.
  • Magazines: can be tailored for specific audiences or events with minimal costs, avoiding the financial risks of large print runs.


Ellen Valentine (@leatherworkschool)


The environmental impact of print on demand

Choosing between print on demand vs bulk printing can significantly affect your ecological footprint. For example, print on demand reduces waste and minimizes excess production. As POD partners only print upon receipt of orders, it eliminates the overproduction common in traditional manufacturing, leading to less unsold stock destined for landfills. Additionally, many POD providers are adopting eco-friendly practices, such as using sustainable materials and energy-efficient equipment, further reducing the carbon footprint associated with the production. This approach can also underpin a creator's dedication to sustainability.


Self-publishing success story: Nick Gentry

Artist Nick Gentry chose Mixam's print-on-demand servicePrintLink, for his retrospective 'Skin Deep' to engage fans by consolidating his artwork. The process allowed him to reflect on his journey and create a tactile publication that complements the historical themes in his art, using outdated technology like VHS tapes and floppy disks. Print on demand allowed him to explore the relationship between digital versus true selves more deeply and the impact of technological obsolescence on identity.


Nick Gentry (@nickgentryart)



The future of POD looks promising with advancements in printing technology, the rise of e-commerce, and shifting consumer preferences towards more personalized and sustainable products. Print on demand is an excellent business model for selling custom products with minimal risk. 

Mixam's print-on-demand service, PrintLink, enables the direct selling and shipping of printed books to your customers without the traditional hassles of inventory and distribution. Get started with PrintLink today and join the many creators expanding their businesses. For more news and inspiration, check out the array of posts on Mixam's Blog and visit our Support section for helpful guidance and advice on all things print.


Main Image Credit: Freepik

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