Print on Demand (POD) Publishing Versus Vanity Press - Which Should you Choose?

  Ever wonder whether you should use old-fashioned vanity publishing or go with print on demand (POD) now? Let's find out and start by understanding the key differences between Vanity Press and self-publishing, which is also referred to as POD publishing.

Vanity Press

Vanity Press refers to the practice of publishing material that caters to one's vanity (example: family history) or a personal need (example: corporate coffee table book). There's no market research involved, the user just wants to see the desired content in print so he (or she) can give it away to the desired audience.

The press that prints a vanity book does not offer any sales support, which is natural.

The author must bear the pre- and post-press expenses, plus he must buy a specified number of copies.

Self- or POD-publishing

Self-published or POD books are printed based on orders. The buyer pays the market price of the book, including the printing charge. The author just has to write the book and find a POD publisher to sell it online.

Self-publishing is an excellent choice for creative authors who are reasonably sure that their book entertains or informs and will sell. Once their work is accepted by the POD publisher, they promote their book online on social networks, blogs, forums, online events, advertising, and more. The author does not spend anything on printing, unless he'd like a few copies for himself. And he does not have to buy a specified number of copies as in the case with vanity publishers.

Many authors have turned to self-publishing. And POD publishers like and have made things easy for them.

After looking at major features of both services, it does seem that self-publishing or POD publishing is better than vanity publishing because the author can purchase as many copies as he requires, and he does not have to bear any fixed printing costs. Authors around world are moving to self-publishing, which is a more creative and practical alternative to vanity publishing. Moreover, it helps creative folks realize their goals at an affordable price.

Eric Gelb is a copywriter who specializes in back-cover copy, and a book marketing consultant. He has self-published three books and published other books with Wiley and Macmillan. To reach him, email  or visit

Hint: Also seek copywriting services to help with your promotions today!

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