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If you make the decision that print-on-demand is the right choice for your book, the next step is to figure out where to have your book printed.
- good quality product
- low price per book
- solid companies with good customer service
- distribution opportunities
We used CreateSpace for our book because we love Amazon’s stellar customer service (CreateSpace is owned by Amazon) and have been impressed with them on other projects. Lightning Source has been in the business for years and is owned by Ingram, a major book distributor. Either of these options can be a solid choice.
If you are new to print-on-demand, I recommend that you choose CreateSpace. There are no upfront costs (unless you add on design or interior layout or other additional services that they offer). Your book will be added to Amazon seamlessly. If you go with CreateSpace, I do recommend that you choose their expanded distribution option for $25. This makes your book available in a wider range of online stores and catalogs. If you want to know more about getting your book printed at CreateSpace, Mary DeMuth has an excellent post, How To Upload A Book To CreateSpace In Less Than 2 Hours, that explains the process of getting your book uploaded and ready to sell (keep in mind that she is talking about the process once you have your book ready to upload).
A word of caution: be aware of vanity publishers. What’s a vanity publisher? Basically it is a company that acts as a middleman to make money. They advertise themselves as an easy way to get your book in print, charge you a high price per book, and then have the book printed elsewhere (often at Lightning Source). These type companies used to be the only print-on-demand options, but with the rise of other companies offering print-on-demand services, it is unnecessary. Let’s think this through for a moment (I’m going to use some rough numbers here that are close to the reality). If the vanity publisher’s take of the profits is $8, you are going to make much less money, and it will force your book’s price point upward. If you print at CreateSpace, their take is often less than $3 depending on your book’s length. See where I’m going here? You don’t need a vanity publisher, so why give them your money when you can go directly to a company like CreateSpace or Lightning Source.
Just be careful in choosing your print-on-demand company. As with every other part of self-publishing, do your research. A quick Google search will tell you a lot.
During this series, we’re chatting about everything self-publishing—design, branding, marketing, formats—you name it! Pulling questions from Design by Insight clients, Re:Write Conference attendees, and you, we’ll take a look at what can often be a confusing and potentially overwhelming subject. Have a question you’d like me to answer? Leave it in the comments below!