How to upload a print-on-demand book

Today's printing technologies have made print-on-demand a feasible and sustainable strategy for publishing, particularly for self-published authors. This approach eliminates the complexities and high costs associated with traditional printing methods and the need for extensive catalog storage. It's a solution perfectly suited for self-published authors.


Understanding Print-on-Demand

Print-on-demand (POD) leverages printing technology that produces a book only upon receiving an order. This eliminates the need for maintaining stock and allows for efficient printing of single or small quantities. This technology has given rise to new publishing models, presenting an excellent opportunity for independent authors seeking to sell print books. With POD, you're not obligated to print books in advance, removing logistical challenges. Yet, if someone desires a print copy of your book, it's as easy as placing an online order for printing.


The advantages of print-on-demand:

  • Offers sustainability while remaining profitable
  • Enables publishers to scale their operations and print locally
  • Reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional publishing methods


Creating a Print-on-Demand File

While PublishDrive handles distribution, the actual creation of paperback books is the task of the author or the publisher. At its simplest, you can format your manuscript in Word and export it as a print-ready PDF file. Alternatively, professional page layout tools like InDesign can be employed for sophisticated layouts. Specialized software like Vellum can also be considered for formatting.

To submit your book for PublishDrive's print-on-demand service, you'll need two print-ready PDF files:

  1. Book cover design, encompassing the back cover, spine, and bleed area.
  2. Interior file comprising all pages of your book.

Choosing the size of your book is pivotal, as it dictates the text distribution across pages.

For a comprehensive understanding of printing requirements, consult our article that covers every aspect of this subject.


Print-on-Demand Costs

Printing expenses are based on the number of pages.

Profit margins vary based on page count and color preferences. In addition to store commissions, printing costs are deducted from your book's price, leaving you with royalty earnings.

Here's a practical example illustrating cost calculation:

  • Selling price: $20
  • Distribution cost set by the store: 45%
  • Manufacturing cost: $6 (factoring in page count, color, trim size)
  • Author's earnings: 20 * 45% - $6 = $3

More on printing costs can be found here for Amazon and here for Ingram.

You can assess your costs and royalties anytime via the "Printing Cost Calculator" section on your PublishDrive dashboard.


Uploading and Publishing Print-on-Demand Books

With your print-ready content file ready, the next step involves selling it across global store platforms. PublishDrive's network provides access to 160 million potential readers in the US, Europe, India and China.

When it comes to print-on-demand, authors can seamlessly upload their manuscript and cover, and then choose their preferred distribution outlets. A cover that fits your book, an edited manuscript, and well-prepared content files are crucial prerequisites for publishing via PublishDrive.


Here's a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

  1. Sign up or log in to PublishDrive.
  2. Navigate to My Books > Upload Book.
  3. Choose the Print format.
  4. Configure all book manufacturing details.
  5. Upload your PDFs: manuscript (content file) and book cover (cover file).
  6. Optionally, upload store-specific covers (Amazon, Ingram, China Print) for improved image quality.
  7. Provide details of the book's creators.
  8. Set up book metadata and description.
  9. Select up to three book categories.
  10. Define the price.
  11. Specify rights and publication date (including pre-orders).
  12. Choose distribution stores and hit the publish button.


Technical Requirements

To understand the printing prerequisites, please refer to our article explaining all aspects of this topic.