createspace, lulu, nookpress, &
Many authors are so new they do not take the time to compare the various distributors, how much they give as a royalty, what the set up fees are, and if the author retains the rights to the work. To make things easier, I'm going to break down the numbers for you.
- No set up fees
- FREE Createspace ISBN
- Easy upload of PDF's
- Easy to use cover creator
- Author sets the sales price
- Distributes to various retail venues around the world
- Has a message forum for support
- Has a preview option where you can post a section of your WIP and get opinions of the other authors
- Reliable direct deposit into your bank account
- Easy sales dashboard so no guessing on how much the royalties will be for each book and from which distributor.
- No hardcover option
- Much higher royalties for sales in the Createspace Store and Amazon than other venues
- Brick stores will not purchase/sell them because they cannot be returned.
- Shipping for authors outside the US can be costly
- They offer to upload your PDF to Kindle-- DON'T DO IT! (The formatting will SUCK! Yes, that is my professional opinion.)
- Uploading Word .doc can cause formatting issues (blank pages, improper heading placement, improper borders). PDF's are much easier.
Because the author sets his own prices, he basically sets his royalty. Below you can see that one of my books which is a 6x9, 350 page, black and white paper with glossy cover had a minimum price of $12.63. I set the price at $15.99. As you can see, I make a significant royalty from the Createspace Store, less at Amazon, and only $1.34 at all other retailers-- including Barnes & Noble. This is because Amazon wants the author to promote the Amazon links, not it's competitor's.
For the book above, my author price is $8 including shipping. I sell it in person for $15. I have heard authors state the shipping to Canada from Createspace in the US can cost up to $25. According to the Createspace message forum, if Canadians place their order, then email Createspace to request shipping via the USPS, there will not be a duty or fee. Otherwise, UPS will attached a fee per box and it is possible you will be charged a duty. Keep in mind that UPS no longer accepts these payments in cash.
Editing & Marketing Services:
Createspace offers other options to Indie authors, they offer selfpublishers editing and marketing services. The most expensive editing package offered starts at $470 for the first 10k words, then an additional .05 cents per word. With those prices, it is easy to pay thousands of dollars. A better choice is Xterraweb services. I have no stake in the company, however, I used Xterraweb for Zodiac Lives and know at least 8 authors who have used their services. There is no harm is asking for a 2,000 word same and checking them out. It could save you some big bucks.
The marketing options at Createspace are just as excessively overpriced. I recommend Vistaprint for business cards rack cards, banners, and other promotional items. Vistaprint offers discount coupons, and when you get to the checkout they always offer a big discount to get you to buy a larger quantity. 50% off coupons are not uncommon.
Offers editing, illustrations, and book cover designs for a considerable fee
- One of the few places to selfpublish hardcovers
- FREE ISBN through BN
- Much cheaper per book than other hardcover services
- NO set up fees
- Easy uploads of PDF
- No minimum order - yes you can order just one book
- Does not distribute paperbacks or hardcovers in ANY stores--even BN.com
- Only offer within the continental US
My experience: My 350 page novel on Nookpress was $13.50+shipping with a dust cover 6x9. Lulu wanted $55+shipping and handling for the same book, and required a 24 book minimum order. (Lulu does offer a distribution service which is different.)
I personally love hardcovers, but the minimum price I can set for my book is $34. I doubt anyone will pay that much for an indie author whom they do not know. Having a hardcover available looks more credible to readers, so for that reason alone, I'll probably do this. Even if I just have a few copies at book fairs. With the decline in print books, I doubt that much earnings will come of this. I'm still going to do it.
- Unlike other POD printers, IngramSpark will accept returns. This may entice brick stores to sell indie books. However, the author is responsible for the cost of the returns.
- Authors with US, CA, UK, AU, EU bank accounts and paypal can utilize these services.
- Offers paperbacks in 4.7 x 7 trim size
- Title Set up fee $49
- Book distribution fee $12 per title, per year
- Must buy ISBN - Each format needs a different ISBN, meaning that if you want an ebook, paperback, hardcover in one title, you need three numbers. At $125 per ISBN, it is wiser to buy 10 for $295.
IngramSpark has a higher quality and gives you the potential for brick stores, but the costs could run you about $400+ after payouts for editing and cover designs.
Lulu can give you hardcover and paperback distribution, but the royalties are much less than wanted, and the website is not as user friendly as the other sites.
FREE ISBN, no set up fees.
Nookpress can create a decent paperback or hardcover, but cannot distribute it. The prices are decent for authors who want to sell in person. Very user friendly.
FREE ISBN, no set up fees.
Createspace decent paperbacks, very user friendly.
FREE ISBN, no set up fees.
Editing, marketing, and book cover services are more costly on these sites that off those options.