The Magical (Re)Appearance of Print on Demand, or Wherever Did All Those Old Books Come From? (A Fairy Tale)

The Way of the Lord
The Way of the Lord

Once upon a time, in the dark ages, old Eerdmans books — books that had been around for so long that only a few people remembered about them and wanted to read them — simply faded away. The publisher hated to let them go, but it simply couldn’t afford to print and stock small batches of books (even very good books) for only a handful of devoted readers.

Then, thanks to the magic of technology, the publisher found a way to give new life to many of these old books through its Print on Demand program. With Print on Demand, readers could, for a small fee, have a book — like Gerhard O. Forde’s On Being a Theologian of the Cross, for example, or N. T. Wright’s The Way of the Lord — printed and bound especially for them.

The publisher was happy. The readers were happy. The books were even happy (if books can be happy).

There was, however, a dramatic and sinister plot twist headed for this happy scene.  In 2011, the publisher launched a new website and with it, a new inventory database and order management system.

The new technologies were sleek and shiny. In many ways, they worked much better than the old ones. But . . . they didn’t at first know exactly how to handle and process orders for all those POD books. So once again, the dear old POD books had to go away for a time — and what a sad and dismal time it was!

Happily, though, our story doesn’t end there.

This month, at long last, all (or nearly all) of the glitches have been dealt with and all the details sorted out. Eerdmans’s Print on Demand program is back online, and with it, 640 titles — including classics like Carl Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism and Richard N. Longenecker’s Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period — have once again been given new life and an opportunity to reach the reading public.

We expect that they will all live happily ever after.

The end.

What are Print on Demand books?

Print on Demand books (sometimes known as “POD” or “books on demand”) are books that are printed specially for you. A high-speed digital printing press produces books in any quantity, as few as one at a time. Print on Demand books can be ordered, printed, and shipped in one to two weeks, not months. The content of Print on Demand book is identical to that of the original edition, although there may be negligible differences in paper type and cover image quality.

Eerdmans offers Print on Demand books in order to make available titles that could not be kept in print using the traditional publishing model and would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find.

Although information about all POD books — including descriptions, publication information, key reviews, cover images, and authors’ biographical statements — is now available on, we regret that POD titles cannot be purchased through the website at this time. They can, however, be ordered directly through the Eerdmans customer service department, by phone, email, or fax.

Visit the Print on Demand page on our website to learn more.