Product, Payment, and Profits… BookShop and Your Print On Demand Success

print on demand

BookBaby’s BookShop helps self-published authors unlock the full profit potential of Print On Demand by keeping books stocked 24/7/365, paying authors more per sale, and paying faster than the big online retailers.

Print on Demand (POD) programs for selling printed books have been a huge advance for self published authors, right?

Well … maybe. Frankly, all of the programs out there – CreateSpace, Lulu, Ingram and yes, even our own – have had some hidden problems. But not anymore.

I’m happy to announce BookBaby has expanded its POD program to better serve indie authors.

In sum, our new program:

  • Pays authors more – 50% of their list price
  • Pays authors fast – in just a few days
  • Promises in-stock status 24/7/365

Use whatever label you want – ground breaking, revolutionary – this new program is really a big deal for indie authors. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

Not so long ago, all printed books were produced on massive offset presses, gigantic pieces of iron churning out thousands of books hour after hour. It made printed books profitable, but only for big publishers. Self-published authors couldn’t afford to invest in book inventories, so they were essentially shut out of the market.

Digital printing has changed all that. Books can be printed, cut, stitched together, bound, and shipped in quantities as low as one. BookBaby introduced POD in early 2015, and it’s now an essential part of the book sales and marketing plan for thousands of our authors. No more boxes of books stacked up in the garage to ship out. A self-published author can offer the highest quality books, delivered directly to readers, with low up-front costs.

That all sounds pretty good – and it is. Yet I’m here to tell you a very inconvenient truth: For independent authors, most POD programs are too good to be true.

What’s the problem? Well, there are three of them, with a capital P.

Product. For retailers, the “on demand” concept really isn’t true. Amazon will only list POD books in stock when they have actual physical inventory sitting on a shelf. During last Christmas, the supply chain broke down. There were two-mile long lines of trucks trying to deliver to every Amazon distribution center, trucks full of TVs, Ugg boots, iPhones … and books. Millions of them were stuck in this jam. Every POD author suffered through lengthy out-of-stock periods during critical sales windows. It was a nightmare, and it doesn’t promise to be any better this season.

Payments. This isn’t new, but it’s still unfair. Publishers and retailers have always held on to authors’ money for far too long – from 90 to 120 days after the book has been sold. C’mon folks, it’s 2016! Retailers should be able to pay much faster.

Profits. I’ve saved the worst for last. Authors have been paying a heavy price for POD distribution, giving up most of their profit margins to printers, distributors, and retailers. While indie authors can earn up to 70% of the selling price of an eBook, the numbers for POD can be pretty dismal. For example, for a typical digest-sized, black and white, soft cover book that retails for $9.99, Amazon will pay authors somewhere between $1.34 to $3.34 royalties.

Up to now, self-published authors have had no choice but to live with these issues. Now you don’t have to.

This week BookBaby added Print On Demand to our BookShop pages.

BookShop is a free online storefront exclusive to BookBaby authors, giving you an easy way to sell your eBooks – and now printed books – direct to readers. BookShop pages prominently showcase all vital book information, and can include reviews, author bios, and links to author websites and social media pages. (Check out these BookShop pages: Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life, Revenge River, A Heart Full of Hope.)

Our POD program puts authors’ books into dozens of online retailers and wholesale catalogs including Amazon, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and dozens more. That hasn’t changed. But to maximize sales, BookBaby authors can now send readers directly to their BookShop page and reap greater benefits.

Profit plus, Remember that $9.99 digest-sized book in the example above? When that book is sold through BookBaby’s BookShop, the author earns $5.00. We’re paying 50% of the retail price back to authors – the biggest payout by far of any POD program. (By the way, BookBaby’s POD can also include hard cover books, a feature not found in other POD programs, including CreateSpace.)

Prompt payments. BookBaby deposits your money into your account within one week of your book order’s shipment (just like our sister company, CDBaby).

Your book is now truly available on demand. BookShop books are ready to ship to readers 24/7/365 – a POD feature exclusive to BookBaby. Even during the busiest holiday rush, you’ll never need to worry about your book being out of stock.

How do you get readers to buy your books through BookShop instead of, say, Amazon?

There’s one more hidden fact that needs to be shared: While it’s important to have printed books available on Amazon for legitimacy, it’s very unlikely that readers will discover self-published authors on large retail sites. The Amazon algorithms don’t favor indie authors. Discoverability on the huge retail sites is not reality for the vast majority of indie writers.
So what’s a self published author to do? They take control.

How? In talking with dozens of BookBaby authors and by monitoring sales results, we estimate that 90% of POD sales are a result of authors driving interested readers directly to a designated retail website to make a purchase. What this means is that authors already control where their books are sold by sending buying links through emails, texts, tweets, Facebook posts and links posted on their author blog or website. Their faithful readers follow their instructions as to where to buy.

Now BookBaby authors can send readers to their own customized BookShop page and unlock the full profit potential of Print On Demand!



Related Posts
Making The Most Of Print On Demand. Part 1: Your Timeline To Maximize Book Sales
Making The Most Of Print On Demand, Part 2: All You Need To Know About Book Pre-Sales
How To Use 100 Print Books To Promote Your Self-Published Book [Infographic]
My Parents’ Experience With Traditional Publishing Led Me To Self Publishing
Why Seth Godin Self Published


Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading self publishing services company. Spatz’s professional writing career began at age 13, paid by the word to bang out little league baseball game stories on an ancient manual typewriter for southern Oregon weekly newspapers. His journalism career continued after graduation from the University of Oregon at several daily newspapers in Oregon. When his family took over a direct marketing food business, Spatz redirected his writing and design skills into producing catalogs. The Pinnacle Orchards catalog was named "Best Food Catalog," received dozens of other national awards, and the business grew into one of the nation’s largest gourmet fruit gift businesses. After the company was sold, Spatz continued his direct marketing career with Fortune 500 companies including Mattel and Hasbro. He joined AVL Digital in 2004 to lead the direct-to-consumer marketing teams for music industry-leading brands Disc Makers, Oasis, and CD Baby. After serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Spatz was tapped to lead the company’s new publishing division in late 2014. In 2019, the AVL Digital Management team purchased the New Jersey brands, including BookBaby. The company is headquartered in Pennsauken, NJ (just outside Philadelphia, PA) and meets the printed book and eBook needs of thousands of self-publishing authors around the globe. Spatz lives in Glenside, PA with his two children, a demented cat, and some well-used bicycles. Steven loves to hear from authors, editors, and publishers in the BookBaby community with tales of publishing trials and triumphs. To tell him your story, write to


  1. I’m in the UK have just completed a two part magical adventure story for kids aged between 6 to 14, but have found on tests, mums have loved the story just as much as the target reader. Would I be able to download these books for distribution through your services. They are complete with covers and are formatted to UK market.

  2. I self-published AT THE END OF YOUR ROPE? TIE A KNOT & HANG ON! HELP HAS ARRIVED! with Amazon’s CreateSpace in 2014. I haven sold about 25 books via Sad but true. I have purchased about 100 copies at a discount price and sold them myself, but I deserve to be making a lot more money. It’s a good book.

    I went with CreateSpace because it was FREE to publish my book. What costs are involved with Book Baby?

  3. Hi Steven

    I am in the process of publishing a book and have been dealing with BookBaby customer advisers.

    The proposed book is extensive, some 600 pages in A4 size, and some 200 photos (colour and black & white). I was intending to create an ebook, but was recommended by BookBaby to go down the route of ‘print on demand’. The
    trouble is that the unit cost of the book as ‘print on demand’ runs to over $100, and I can’t see that anybody is going to buy the book at that price! I am not concerned about making profit, but it would be nice not to have to subsidise every purchase order. BookBaby helpfully suggested I split the book into several volumes, but that’s not really feasible for an

    Would you please advise me how anyone gets around this? There are plenty of other large books around but, from what I have seen, the average price is Europe for memoirs is up to $30.

    Many thanks.

  4. question. If I have a book on amazon or create space. do you have access to it? I will have a paperback, or so I am told on Create space but the book was on of of 6/30 and has YET to get it out? Just asking

  5. Dear friend: I have two problems: 1) I´m living in Santiago, Chile, and you in the States, and 2) It is a double marketing problema. Do you have a creative idea which might be the solution? And excuse me for mine “BrokenEnglish”. I hope to hear from you with your best idea. Regards, PedroB

  6. I would like to work with book baby to publish my books, please let me know how to proceed, where to send my manuscript and how much does it cost me, how to begin,
    Note: would book baby design my book and book cover
    I am as an author, I do not have website, would book baby help to set up a website for me.
    Kind regards

  7. I have just written two non-fiction books on performance measurement: HOW TO REPORT CORRECT INFORMATION CORRECTLY and HOW TO DIAGNOSE A PERFORMANCE INDICATORS AND MEASUREMENT. Right now they are being formatted and will be ready to print at the end of this month. Could you please tell me what is te process to launch them through BOOK BABY?

    Thanks for your attention


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