Saving Mother Earth By Using Print-On-Demand

Dear Planet Earth, we love you, respect you, and want to do what we can to protect you.

In honor of Earth Day this Sunday, here are some important, “did-you-know?” facts about why Print-On-Demand (the Lulu-way) is a sustainable alternative to Traditional Offset Printing:

  1. No book is printed before it is bought and paid for. This differs from the traditional method in which thousands of copies are printed before ANY of them are bought and paid for by the consumer. This “print & pray” approach involves unnecessary risk due to the large capital expenditure involved in offset print runs for publishers.
  2. Zero material waste in the manufacturing process, which only uses what is necessary to produce sell-able product. This differs from the traditional method in which additional paper is automatically ordered and used to compensate for the material wasted in “make-ready” in both the printing and binding processes. It’s typically 3-8% paper waste depending on the manufacturer. This adds up to considerable waste for a publisher. The printer passes on the cost of spoilage to the publisher.
  3. Zero risk on the returns of unsold inventory. Compare this to the return rate on traditionally printed books, which can range from 20-35% of the units produced. These overruns are pure waste and sunk costs. Publishers measure these costs in the millions of dollars.
  4. There is no unsold inventory. Using the traditional method, unsold inventory has to be warehoused for a period of time. This is costly.  It burns time, money and energy.
  5. There is no unsold inventory. Using the traditional method, unsold inventory has to be shipped back to the recycling center. In addition, unsold inventory has to be processed at a recycling center. These processes burn time, money and fuel.
  6. Each order is printed and shipped locally, which is good for the local economy and minimizes time in transit and transit costs. Traditionally, orders are printed at large manufacturing facilities for the lowest unit cost.  Traditional Offset runs are done in large manufacturing facilities, shipped in bulk (on many pallets) to warehouses.  These shipments travel long distances by tractor-trailer, or are shipped in containers from overseas.
  7. Maximum author control of content means authors can make edits and publish new editions at any time without negative consequences. Traditionally, the author and publisher are stuck with the inventory of books produced. Content changes can only be made if the author and publisher are willing to swallow the loss on any remaining unsold inventory of the earlier edition.

Also, in honor of Earth Day, enter the Lulu Earth Day Contest on Facebook. This is a print sales contest. Submit your book to compete for most sales between April 18-April 25. Also, Lulu will plant a tree per contest entry up to 6,000 through our tree-planting partner Eco-Libris. Contest prizes include a Nook®, a Marketing Consultation ($475) and a Clarion Book Review ($350). Enter now!

 Click here for more info on Print On Demand.

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10 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how many books and inventory gets dumped unsold. Such a waste.

    #8 is most likely your most important point – too many times 1st or 2nd editions have typos and errors, resulting in having a reprint a large amount of books. Very costly, even for popular books.

  2. Elisa

    I would love to also see Lulu start using Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) paper! http://www.fsc.org/

  3. It’s sad to think that for many long years, there is a great number of waste in publishing. I agree with you, Lulu. Let’s start finding ways to save Mother Earth.

  4. 4,5 & 6 are just about the same! What’s going on?

    Great work you’re doing Lulu! Yeah!

  5. One of the most simple way we can do to help save mother earth.

  6. Great article. I think all print companies should be “green concious” and offer services that help concerve our planet.

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  8. The offset printing services in India happens to be one of the best options for procuring image of clarity and sharpness. You can enhance the brand reputation of the businesses with the aid of offset printing.

  9. rohit

    Nice information, There is obviously a lot. Your points are very valuable and knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing this great blog with us.

  10. Great info. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have bookmarked it for later!

4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Saving Mother Earth By Using Print-On-Demand(lulu.com) [...]

  2. [...] For more on how Lulu supports sustainability through Print-On-Demand, check out our blog post here: Saving Mother Earth by Using Print-On-Demand. [...]

  3. [...] started small by offering basic print-on-demand services and over the years worked up to being able to distribute author content all over the world [...]

  4. […] traditional printing, 20-35% of an average run of books gets returned to the publisher as unsold inventory. Whereas, with PoD publishing, books aren’t […]

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