There are lots of places print your book if you want a tangible product. It's also a great feeling to actually hold your book, which is one of the reasons to create a paperback edition. My experience is with Create Space, which is a division of Amazon.
Before entering the publishing arena, I did a lot of homework--as in a year of research. I talked to indie authors, checked out lots of websites and blogs about print-on-demand (POD), vanity publishers, hybrid printers that offer a bit of POD and vanity press. There were plenty of horror stories--lots of money up front, purchasing hundreds of books, etc. I decided that POD was the best path for me and I chose Create Space over several others who offered the same services.
The biggest advantages of print-on-demand were these:
1. I was not responsible for storing inventory, and thus forced to sell books from the trunk of my car.
2. No money out-of-pocket.
3. No requirement to purchase books as part of the deal to print my book.
4. I was in control.
5. Amazon would place me on their website.
6. I could order books at cost in any amount.
7. Depending upon the type of ISBN I chose, major book distributors like Ingram and Baker & Taylor would be able to sell my book.
8. I can upload a revised book file at any time for free after publication.
I'm not convinced of any serious disadvantages. Traditionally published authors may have that extra bit of help, but authors lose control over their work and the cover design, and are expected to build a viable platform for marketing. I have found Create Space to be responsive to questions, helpful when I've clicked the wrong button (they can work magic to undo whatever it was I did), prompt with royalty payments, and tax documents. They even offer a CS store which does give authors greater royalties than directly through Amazon. I can even generate discount coupons there. However, I haven't found that readers want to set up an account with CS even with a coupon. They're happy to purchase through their existing Amazon account.
The ease of ordering a few books for a special event or to have them on hand for gifts is convenient. Amazon may be the ginormous retailer of the day, but they are customer focused. The account is free and if you want additional paid services like editing or cover design, they're available. I haven't used these services, so don't have an opinion on the quality.
If you're ready to jump into the POD industry, please do your homework. Study the POD company's requirements, royalty information, how they pay, etc. Use their templates for uploading your work. It makes formatting a breeze. You'll experience less frustration and more time to write the next book. CS has forums, online guides, and actual people answering telephones to help.
I'll also mention Snowfall Press which is a POD printer as well if you have an aversion to Amazon. I've found them to be reputable and an excellent alternative to Amazon.
Here are some helpful links: Create Space
With over 30 years in administration as a manager, paralegal, and administrative professional, my experience runs the gamut from finances, policy, contracts, and human resources. My goal is to help writers navigate the business side of writing with understandable and practical advice.