1. Yep. It’s cheap (anywhere from $499 to $1999 to get into publication). It used to be that there were only two ways to get published. You could get your book into the hands of a major publisher who would then pay you big money in advances against royalties. Or you could pay for publishing yourself. Until POD was invented, this was costly. These days, self-publishing the old fashioned way (offset) in quantities of 3000, or 5000 or more costs anywhere from $7000 to $20000 and up, depending on the specs on your book (trim size, number of pages, cover stock, paper stock, ink, number of books in the run etc.)
2. Unlike traditional self-publishing, POD often offers some sort of distribution. Some POD publishers charge extra for this, but in reality, POD books are automatically set up to be distributed through Ingram and Baker & Taylor through LSI (the Ingram print on demand division). If your publisher is actually a printer, he may charge extra for this distribution, or he may not offer it at all. But there are some publishers who use LSI and still charge extra for this just because they can.
3. The royalties are much higher than royalties paid by traditional publishers.
4. Many POD publishers offer non-exclusive contracts. This means you can publish your book through more than one company if you want to. This is always touted as an advantage, but I’ve often wondered whether it really is or not. In any case, most PODs provide this.
5. You remain in control of your books, and most of the time you retain all of the rights in your book. You can usually cancel the contract very easily.
6. The time it takes to get through the publishing process and into print is usually short–anywhere from 8 weeks to several months as compared to a major publisher who could take a year or more.
7. There’s no need to do large print runs (and risk losing a lot of money). There’s also no need to warehouse the books that don’t immediately sell, so with POD you don’t end up with a garage or basement full of books.
8. You don’t need to get an agent or deal with any kind of middleman. Depending on the company, you can often speak directly with the publisher.
9. Some publishers allow you to terminate the agreement between you with no more fuss than is required to send written notice.