If you’re self-publishing your “dead tree” book, you know how costly it can be to print copies. When you print a number of copies in advance, you run the risk of no one actually buying them. Having a lot of books on hand with no buyers will cost you money. An alternative is to print on demand (POD) or self-publishing. You only pay for the book and get it printed after someone has ordered it. POD is an excellent way to maximize your profits and avoid holding excess stock. CreateSpace and Lightning Source are two major POD companies that offer a variety of tools and services to help you with self-publishing. But which one should you choose?
Both CreateSpace and Lightning Source will print books and send them directly to you, to your customers, or to other distribution channels, such as a warehouse, brick-and-mortar bookstore, or Amazon. They’ll eliminate your need to keep a large inventory. When customers order your book from your website, CreateSpace or Lightning Source will print their book then. They’ll also print your books for whatever other channels you use to sell them, or send them right to you. They can help you get a presence on Amazon or in a bookstore. As far as services go, they’re equally good choices.
Self-Publishing POD Printing Cost
The cost is going to be the most important factor in choosing between CreateSpace and Lightning Source. The cheaper it is to print your book, the more money you’ll make off of its sale price. You can choose to sell your book at whatever price you wish. CreateSpace will charge you 12 cents per page and 85 cents for the cover. Lightning Source will charge you 13-15 cents per page, depending on how the book is distributed, and 90 cents per cover. Judging by printing price alone, CreateSpace is a better choice. You’ll earn more money per book because it costs less to print.
Self-Publishing POD Fees
There are other fees associated with self-publishing POD, such as one-time set up fees, proofs, and shipping. For the cost of fees, CreateSpace also wins out over Lightning Source. For each book you setup to print with CreateSpace, you can expect approximately $50 in fees. For each book with Lightning Source, you’ll pay more than double in set up fees at approximately $115.
Self-Publishing POD Quality
Getting a high quality product is also essential. You want a book that looks professional and is printed using quality materials. As far as quality goes, CreateSpace and Lightning Source produce books that are of equal caliber.
Self-Publishing POD Discounting
In order to entice bookstores and Amazon to sell your books, you need to offer them at a discount. This is where your real potential for profits with POD comes in, and discounts are where CreateSpace and Lightning Source really vary. With Lightning Source, you can select only one discount. You cannot discount your book differently for Amazon versus brick-and-mortar bookstores. However, Lightning Space uses a discount of 20 percent for Amazon. Brick-and-mortar stores prefer a discount of at least 50 percent. When trying to decide which company to go with, it’s important to consider what channels will be selling the majority of your books. If it’s brick-and-mortar, go with Lightning Source. If it’s Amazon or direct selling, go with CreateSpace.