“When someone buys my self-published book from Amazon (or elsewhere), do I have to pay to print that copy?” by Angela Hoy

“When someone buys my self-published book from Amazon (or elsewhere), do I have to pay to print that copy?” by Angela Hoy

I receive this question all the time from new authors. The author assumes, if someone buys their book from a place like Amazon, that they (the author) must pay for that book to the printed. If they choose the right publisher, which uses print on demand technology and offers a certain type of distribution, no, they do not. This assumption harkens back to the time when self-published authors had to purchase hundreds or thousands of copies of their books, keep them in their garage, and personally provide them to customers or retailers.

If you use a print on demand publisher like BookLocker.com, you do not need to pay to print copies that other people purchase from retailers, nor even from the publisher. The customer pays for the printing and you earn royalties on those sales.

Here’s how it works:

1. Author’s book is published.

2. Author can purchase copies for their own use and/or for resale. The author does need to pay for these and the books are shipped to the author (or wherever the author wants).

3. Ingram (the largest book distributor) sends a feed to the online and brick and mortar bookstore systems.

4. The book pops up for sale on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and numerous other bookstores across the globe.

5. The book also appears in the brick and mortar bookstore systems so people can ask their local bookstore to order a copy for them.

6. Customer orders a copy from a retailer.

7. Customer pays for the book. That payment is used for printing and shipping costs, the publisher’s administrative fees, and the discount that the retailer received on the book sale.

8. Author earns royalties on that sale.

Authors should definitely avoid publishers that require them to purchase and store numerous copies as this is no longer necessary with today’s book printing and distribution technology.


Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com

WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.

BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.

PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.

ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy

BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE





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2 Responses to "“When someone buys my self-published book from Amazon (or elsewhere), do I have to pay to print that copy?” by Angela Hoy"

  1. get college edit  April 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Of course, authors should abide by certain rules and must definitely avoid publishers that require them to purchase and store numerous copies of their books.

  2. Michael W. Perry  April 6, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Angela Quote: Authors should definitely avoid publishers who require them to purchase and store numerous copies as this is no longer necessary with today’s book printing and distribution technology.

    That cannot be emphasized more strongly. I once knew someone who went through a publisher who demanded that he buy a thousand copies at $10 each. That’s $10,000 and a garage stuffed with books. That so-called publisher need not do anything more. It had already made a large profit selling his book to him.

    That’s not the only scam. More recently, a friend contacted me about a daughter whose now-departed father’s books had fallen out of print. She wanted to bring them back on the market. When she contacted a mid-level, traditional publisher, it told him that she’d have to give it a $10,000 in advance for each book it put back in print.

    I told my friend that was absurd in today’s publishing world. Those books could be scanned and a page-by-page facsimile brought out via POD for a few hundred dollars, even if all the work was contracted out. Even the cost of using OCR to create a new text and reformatting the result into a new book could be kept to a few thousand dollars, particularly if the daughter handled the proofreading.

    There’s also another factor that shouldn’t be forgotten when bringing back long out-of-print books. Today’s online used book market is incredibly efficient at linking seller to buyer. A new book that can’t be sold for less that $15 plus shipping may be available used for about $8, including shipping. It is hard to compete with that.
    There’s another factor. If you get stuck with a sorry buy-and-distribute-as-the-author publisher, you’ll be the one who’s forced keep restocking (from your garage) the shelves at Amazon and the like. The shipping costs will be a nuisance and cut into your income. From the book management side, print-on-demand means publish-and-forget. There’s no worrying about inventory. The book prints when it sells.

    In short, unless you’re a successful author whose books are guaranteed to sell thousands of copies, you’re better off with POD. And if your books do take off, Ingram has a mechanism in place to print copies using traditional means. Above a couple of thousand copies, traditional printing becomes significantly cheaper than POD. But you need assured sales to justify the larger upfront cost of printing in bulk and storing until sold.

    –Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride