It is better to print, because you can control how many is printed, and not see your prints being sold on ebay without your permission. Just think a lot of people need the money, so they will do what it takes to get money, and if they can download stuff for free, then they can make money selling the prints. They just get enough people to buy them and then send the order to a print service that will ship them out to the addresses after they get their money.
I have a print account here, and I bought my own prints on 12 ounce mugs. I got people willing to pay for personalized mugs and I put what they wanted on them and sent them to myself to give them out. The mugs cost $12 and then there is shipping. I ordered enough to get them to pack 3 mugs in a box, and I pay shipping on one of the 3 so I could make extra money with the shipping. They were packed great, and I can't imagine they would break when dropped. So it was better than what I can do, and I would do the same thing with digital art prints, because when I charge full price, I get half and the printing service is fine with the other half. There is more than one size people can order, they might get an 5x7 or an 8x10 very cheap, that don't seem worth the effort, like $6 or $8 for my half. They get the art pretty cheap, while the prices can go up to the full size image around $240 for a print on canvas with a black frame.
Without trying to sell them, nothing gets sold. I don't think the printing services sells all the things they use to sell, like puzzles, mouse pad, 8 ounce and 12 ounce mugs, and shirts. I know they still do prints, and the canvas prints are more expensive. I had canvas prints done locally, and even with the artist canvas there is details missing because of the texture. I think a simi-gloss paper shows a better quality at full size printing. People might be impressed by the canvas, but the art would have less quality.
I don't know how other printing services does their packing, but inside the United States, the mail is more protected from damage. Out side seem to look like everything needs to survive a war. I trust this website printing to get my art where it needs to go. I tried myself to get 2 people in Germany some 8x10 I did on my printer, and one got half, and the other got nothing.
Many thanks for the detailed response. I appreciate it.
That is true.
Currently I am using printful and I don't seem to get much of a profit. So I was tempted to buy a bulk of my own prints and do it that way too. But I just wasn't game enough with Covid slowing international flights.
No but I'm not most people. I've had people download and print commissions so I'm sure there's a market for it. I think having the option would be good. To be fair, if you post your work online people who are assholes that want to steal it will do it anyway.