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Printing Lingo: What does "Print On Demand" mean?

You may have heard the term "Print On Demand" and wondered what it was all about. Print On Demand refers to a printer's ability to produce books or other documents for a customer on an "as needed" basis. Print On Demand is currently popular because our economic climate has more Print Buyers looking to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Does it Apply to All Types of Printing?

Print On Demand is most often associated with books and other multi-page documents, but it can also be used for other printed pieces as well. The key to Print On Demand is that the production runs are relatively short. For example, a customer could order 200 copies of a product catalog at a time instead of ordering a whole skid.

Digital Printing Makes it Possible.

Print on Demand is made possible by digital printing equipment. Traditional offset printing presses involve more set-up time, which generally translates to a higher unit cost when the production run is short. Bear in mind that traditional offset presses are still the more economical choice for longer production runs.

Other Benefits of Print On Demand.

Besides lowering the unit cost of short run printing, Print On Demand allows the customer to keep fewer copies of its books, catalogs, manuals or other printed items in stock, thus reducing storage space and handling costs. And because the customer's inventory levels can be kept low, Print On Demand helps reduce the chance of being stuck with printing that has become obsolete. With Print On Demand, you only order items as you need them.

Does your business use a fair amount of books, catalogs, manuals, directories or other multi-page documents throughout the year? Has storage space and handling become an issue? Are you looking to increase your inventory turns for the year? Have you had to discard perfectly good printing because the material became obsolete? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to explore the advantages of Print on Demand services.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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