Print on demand
Mostly used in self-publishing, print on demand services print books to order for a fixed cost, often irrespective of the size of the order but sometimes providing cheaper printing costs for larger runs. Most print on demand publishers also offer an ISBN registration service and post books available from them on their own website and with affiliates such as Amazon.com.
Self-publishers use print on demand services as they do not require the self-publisher to maintain a stock of the book themselves or pay the associated large up-front print fees. Most print-on-demand services do ask an up front fee for the creation of the digital masters, editing, and formatting services. Very few services now offer any form of on demand printing setup for free.
Profits from print on demand publishing are on a per sale basis and the amount of commission will often vary depending on the route by which the book was sold. Highest profits are usually generated from sales direct from the print-on-demand service's website or by buying copies from the service at a discount, as the publisher, and then selling them yourself. Lowest commission usually come from sales from "bricks and mortar" bookshops, with on-line bookstores falling somewhere in between.