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What is the definition of On-Demand Printing?

What is the definition of On-Demand Printing?


Simply put, on-demand printing allows print providers to take a digital file or scanned original and reproduce the exact number of complete sets they need when they need it.

The print-on-demand industry began fifteen years ago with the introduction of the first Xerox DocuTech® Production Publishing System in October 1990. Previously, short-run, on-demand print jobs had been a significant challenge in the printing industry. Due to the time, cost and waste involved in creating the films and image plates, it was impractical for offset to offer shorter on-demand runs. This limitation in economical print runs has caused many print services providers to accept the costs of overprinting; the costs of warehouse storage, tax on inventory at the end of the year, the cost of destruction, and the fact that the information printed today might be out of date next week. Short-run, on-demand print jobs are cost effective, have limited set-up time and no waste.

An advantage of digital printing is the ability to frequently update the content of the material being printed. Today with digital printing, run lengths of less than 3,000 become cost effective. Information can be updated immediately through the delivery of a new electronic file. The most up-to-date version of the printed piece can be printed periodically or on demand at a customer’s requirement and convenience.

In a recent article on, Steve Aranoff and Robert FitzPatrick of The EAGLE said “digital printing is now seen as just printing. (There is) no more wonder and awe at non-offset print.”

In fact, even creatives who were historically reluctant to use digital print are specifying more digital jobs than ever before. According to a recent survey, 63 percent of the creative professionals who read Graphic Design USA now claim to have tried digital printing, compared to 52 percent last year and 25 percent in 2003. Most of them — 53 percent — also say they are using short-run on-demand digital printing more often this year than last.

This question was answered by Xerox Corporation

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