Print-on-demand book publishers (aka self-publishing)

I’ve been researching getting a book published, as I’m considering writing a technical book and/or a fictional work, and have come across a few Print-on-demand (POD) book publishers that stood out from the rest to me.

The first is CreateSpace, the second is Dog Ear Publishing, and the third is Lulu. Depending on retail/list price, page count, quantity sold, and freelancing services you may acquire one of the first two will provide the greatest revenue per unit sale through their website for a black & white paperback with a color cover.

CreateSpace charges $39 per title to get a reduced cost for each copy printed, but there are no humans involved in the process, so you may need to spend some dollars on freelancers services if you do not feel confident that you can do quality cover design yourself. On the other hand Dog Ear Publishing’s most basic package is $1099, but that includes cover design and the interior design of 30 images or 5 tables. In the middle is Lulu with it’s basic package coming in at $369, which also includes cover design and formatting with up to 15 images included.

That said, using modern software application, doing interior layout and formatting probably isn’t going to be a big for anyone writing a software engineering related book, so I’ll assume that the freelancing fee you need to pay when using CreateSpace is $250 for cover design (and that’s may well be high, I’ve noted service posted lower then that). In that case, for a 200 page B&W papaerback, Dog Ear is the better choice for technical books due to their higher price. With a list price of $29.95, Dog Ear comes out ahead at 1000 unit, but with a list price of $39.95 – $49.95 then Dog Ear comes out ahead at 500 units. In all of my scenarios Lulu came in second or third.

For books priced below $30, such as fictional works, CreateSpace provided the greatest revenue per unit sale through their website for all of the scenarios I compared. That said they don’t do hardcovers, while both Dog Ear and Lulu do.

Also of note, CreateSpace is an Amazon company, and Amazon also owns BookSurge. BookSurge has been accused of strong arming POD publishers into switching to BookSurge for their printing services or having the buy links of their books listed on Amazon removed, so I’m thinking of going with Lulu or Dog Ear myself. BookLocker has filed and anti-trust lawsuit against Amazon that just recently passed Amazon’s attempt to have the suit thrown out.

Also worthy of metion is QOOP, as they allow you to “take your QOOP store and embed within an iFrame at your personal site or company site” at no cost and they have no upfront fees at all (at least no mention of that I could find); however the charge they cost for per-copy printing is comparatively steep.

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4 Responses to Print-on-demand book publishers (aka self-publishing)

  1. Jowan says:

    I’m just researching this area myself. It appears that most of the outfits you name actually print and sometimes distribute through Lightning Source Inc. Why not consider giving the design and layout work (assuming you don’t want to do it yourself) to a local firm, since all this needs is skill, flair and a basic computer — an ideal cottage industry? — and then go direct to LSI with the finished files. They’ll handle the printing and worldwide distribution, the bit where big really is beautiful, and apparently do a better job than most.

  2. I did become aware of most POD publishers using Lightning Source in my research, but I also ran across a comment that Lightning Source was no longer working with individuals directly, but only with publishers and their website seems to confirm that.

    That said I could just register as a publisher with them, since I plan to get my own ISBNs anyway; however, Lighting Source doesn’t provide an online retail store that readers can buy directly from, which is something I’m looking for as I don’t want to deal will individual order fulfillment or distributing through normal retail channels as they get too large of a cut in my opinion (unless you can make up the difference by vastly the increased volume over what a niche book will move).

  3. essenceofnone says:

    not sure myself. I am debating using createspace read alot of reviews about them…i am just waiting for my copyright and then ready to go on my first book.

    I am so anxious…I am consumed by all this.
    check out my blog http://essenceofnone.wordpress.com
    Thanks.

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