Print on Demand. There’s so many options, it’s difficult to know where to turn.
And that’s my problem. I don’t know where to turn. A veritable plethora of PODs to pick from. But which is the best?
Everyone seems to have their own opinions and pertinent points. One offers free alterations, another has lower shipping costs, another better distribution. But one might insist on a larger wholesale discount and another has greater printing costs. It’s a conundrum which has my head spinning.
I’m looking from a UK point of view, remember. I don’t know how these companies work in your respective countries, but the main options here include:
FeedARead is sponsored by the UK Arts Council, I believe, and Ingram Spark is essentially Lightning Source for people with less than 30 books – which removes Lightning Source from the options anyway. CreateSpace doesn’t actually print in the UK (I could be wrong) and I’m worried about shipping costs. Lulu is OK (I’ve used them before), but the shipping costs aren’t cheap and others have less production costs too.
Then there’s ‘Global Marketing’ or ‘Extended Distribution’ or whatever each company wants to call their particular flavour of getting your book out into the big wide world. They don’t all take returns, which could rule out independent bookstores taking on copies.
CreateSpace are part of Amazon, so your books will be on there, which is great, but they all, pretty much, get your book on the Mighty A. With CS, your book will always be in stock, whereas with others it could say it’s normally 3 weeks delivery. Or 6 weeks, even.
Ingram Spark are, as the name suggests (and by association Lightning Source), part of Ingrams. This means your book is automatically on the Ingrams catalogue, a very useful thing to have. FeedARead apparently make sure you’re listed on Bertrms and Gardners, again, very useful when you want your baby in bricks’n’mortar stores. In the UK, some of these list on Waterstones too.
I’m heard the CreateSpace interface for adding your book is fantastic, a real breeze. Lightning Source, on the other hand, is meant to a real pain. Lulu isn’t too bad but is somewhat awkward.
Who do you use? And why? And why not one of the others? Of course, it’s each to their own. It could come down to the toss of a coin, but I’d be interested in views.
It’ll help me make my own mind up!