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Why We Use Print-on-Demand Practices

Print-on-Demand means that books are only printed when they are ordered. This produces the smallest carbon footprint possible.

Traditionally, publishers maintain a huge inventory of books. Millions are printed before ANY of them are bought. This “print & pray” approach, while providing cheaper production costs for the publisher, creates massive waste.

 

Why? Because books are shipped to booksellers with the agreement that if the books don’t sell, the publisher will take them back. And what happens to these millions of returned books? They are returned to publishers to be pulped. If the publisher does not want to pay for shipping, the covers are simply torn and the books are disposed of, much ending up in landfills. Approximately 40% of all printed books are returned to publishers. If one 10-inch diameter tree yields 30 books of 200 pages, then in one year  a minimum 5 million trees became books headed for landfill.

 

Imagine the number of trees saved each year if we printed all books using DOP. 

To learn more, check out this excellent article by Merilyn Simonds. It masterfully delves further into the problem dubbed "the dark side of the book world" by the Wall Street Journal. 

Another fantastic resource is this article by Inspired Quill, which is a first-hand testimony of the publishing industry's eco-unfriendly secret. 

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