Card Printing: The Basics

What is "Print on Demand"?

Print on Demand (POD) is a term for digital print technology that allows for very small quantities of cards to be printed at one time (down to a single deck or even a single card). POD allows cards to be printed as needed, per sale, rather than printed in large quantities and stored in a warehouse to be sold from inventory.

Here is an in-depth article by Steve Wieck about printing and digital print-on-demand.

Who prints my cards?

We have partnered with On Demand Technologies, Inc. (ODT), an industry leader in digital printing and a premier print-on-demand company. When customers order print titles on our site, we transmit the order electronically to ODT's print facility in Kansas City, where the order is printed, packed, and shipped.

Can I print cards featuring copyrighted material?

We expect partners to hold the rights/license to the cards they print with us (even if only for personal use.) This includes trade dress, artwork, and other copyrighted images.

If you do not have explicit permission to use another's IP, or if you cannot point to a company's open-license use of its IP, we cannot print your cards.

How long does it take to print my cards?

Once a print-ready PDF is uploaded and an order placed, it typically spends 5-10 business days in production (6-14 business days from Nov 14 to Dec 18), then 3-5 days for shipping (within the U.S.). (You can pay for expedited shipping via UPS.)

This turnaround time is the same for a single deck or a large order (or anything in-between). A single proof deck must be ordered prior to any larger orders (to ensure the cards turn out the way you expected). So, essentially, double the above to accommodate proof and full order.

Custom-printed tuckboxes tend to add a day or two to production. For more, visit our Packaging: Tuckboxes and Deckboxes article and scroll to Tuckbox Production Timeline.

How does the printed card program work?

The print program is purely optional. You choose to participate on a title-by-title basis. Once you choose to join the program, you can choose which of your titles you would like to offer in print. You can activate or deactivate print options for each of your titles at any time.

You will need to upload files prepared specifically for print use (which are not necessarily formatted or prepared in the same way as their digital versions), and then order a physical proof copy.

Once you receive and inspect your proof copy, you can then decide if the product is acceptable for customer purchase, or if you need to make further changes to your print files. When you have an acceptable proof, you price and activate the title for customer purchase in print.

When a customer places an order for a print title, we credit your royalty account and have the copy printed, packaged, and shipped to the customer on your behalf.

What printed card formats are available?

Visit our Printed Card Formats & Costs article for a full rundown of offered formats and costs.

How are my cards printed?

Our printing process uses an ink-based HP Indigo Press which yields better results than cheaper, toner-based printing equipment used by most on-demand card printers.

Exclusive or non-exclusive?

The license you grant us to create and sell printed versions of your titles is always non-exclusive. If you're a partner who offers either digital download book editions or a print-n-play version exclusively with us (thanks!), then you get your exclusive royalty rate on your printed sales margin as well, yet you are still free to sell printed editions wherever you like.

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