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What is print on demand and why is it so interesting?

September 12, 2023

Search for “print on demand meaning” online and you’ll be served a neverending list of resources that explain precisely what is print on demand. However, the context that it’s generally defined in is limited to t-shirts and other accessories. Print on demand really took off when the dropshipping craze became the latest online get rich quick scheme. 

What is print on demand?

That trend has since settled down and it managed to take some shine off print on demand as well. A lot of people seem to think that it was a passing fad without any value. That’s what makes it even more important to understand the true print on demand meaning and why its popularity extends far beyond the dropshipping circles.  

What is print on demand and how does it work

Print on demand is a service whereby a solutions provider takes the content you provide it with, prints it on the desired product, and dispatches it to the customer. You’re effectively outsourcing your entire printing operation to a service provider. You could be offering customers beautifully printed photobooks or wall art without ever needing to touch a printer yourself. 

It's a risk-free approach to selling custom products since you're not spending money to hold inventory or making significant investments to acquire machinery. You’re not going to end up losing money if the products don’t sell. Everything is done for you by the service provider and your customer gets the product exactly as they envisioned it.

What can you do with print on demand?

There's a lot of versatility with print on demand. You can transform PDF and JPEG files into printed products for yourself or use the prints to publish a book or a magazine. If you own an app or platform, you can sync with a print on demand service provider to offer custom printed products to users.

Print on demand book

For example, you can monetize content through the Peecho print API that allows apps and platforms to automate sales of digital content as high quality printed products. Businesses can use the photobook software to create branded photobooks for their users.

Selling your creative work to fans also becomes easier with print on demand. Even if you have thousands of people lining up to buy your creations, you can run the entire operation in a completely hands-off manner. Print on demand is also suitable for global commercial printing tasks of products such as business cards, letterheads, etc.

How does print on demand differ from dropshipping?

Print on demand differs fundamentally from dropshipping. In dropshipping, the product is usually shipped directly from the manufacturer to the customer. The company that received the order has no control or oversight over the product quality. Such products are usually manufactured in bulk, offer no customization, and are kept ready to ship when an order arrives. 

In print on demand, the custom product is only made when the order is received. This helps reduce waste as there’s no unsold inventory piling up. Buyers can make customizations to receive a unique product. For example, two photobooks may be made from the same paper but their contents can be entirely different.

The biggest similarity between the two is that in print on demand, it’s also the manufacturer that’s shipping the product straight to the customer. An app or platform that utilizes this service never needs to physically hold any inventory.

How to get started with Print on Demand?

The opportunities with print on demand are endless. You could be selling anything from water bottles and backpacks to wall art. Regardless of whatever you're selling, getting started with print on demand requires you to build and curate an audience. Establish a community of people who appreciate what you do as they would be the ones most willing to spend the money. 

Whether you're selling your own creations or running a platform that lets users obtain prints of their own content, working with an established print on demand partner will take all the guesswork out of the equation. You can be set up within minutes to start offering prints to your customers.

How does Peecho help with print on demand?

Peecho is a unique service provider enabling you to sell or order printed magazines, photobooks, wall art, and more. A global printing and delivery network enables you to sell worldwide. With automatic order routing to the nearest printer, you won't need to keep your customers waiting for long. 

There's no upfront cost to get started and no stock to acquire. You have complete control over the profit margins of the products you sell. Once orders are routed to Peecho, we handle the rest, from printing, and worldwide shipping to returns, and even the customer service for the entire process. 

Find out more about our Print On Demand solutions here.