Print-on-Demand: An Overview

What is print-on-demand? Reading it just literally, it means that someone prints something when someone else demands it. How does that translate into e-commerce? Various online companies offer a certain set of products that they only produce when someone places an order – no warehouse stock, just “on-demand” product creation. Some of these companies have found a way to expand their sales by basically “hiring” thousands of freelance designers (me, possibly you too) to create designs for their blank products. When a product printed with one of these artists’ designs sells, the company pays them a commission in the form of a set or adjustable margin. It’s a neat deal (much better than a pyramid scheme) where the designer doesn’t have to deal with production, shipping, or customer complaints, and also has the potential to make passive income forever. The company then gets thousands of designers creating works that taken together, appeal to a massive audience. They also get some free advertising every time one of their artists promotes their products on social media.

Important: I’ve found that none of the sites I sell on require exclusivity or try to take ownership of your work, but you should always check the user agreement to make sure you retain the rights to your work before you start any kind of art business venture. I also only sell on sites that allow you to have a free profile. There are ones out there that charge you a monthly fee to use.

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