December 10, 2019, 08:05:36 PM

Author Topic: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace  (Read 10415 times)

Offline Michael Sullivan

Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« on: December 21, 2011, 01:34:57 PM »
If you plan on having a paperback book I don't think you could do better than one or the other of these companies and I would go "direct" to them as opposed to buying a package from a company like iUniverse or Xlibris who is just going to use LS and CS anyway.

For copies you buy yourself - always use CreateSpace (and spring the $39 for the pro plan) as their "to the author" price is much lower than Lightning Source.

For copies sold online (through Amazon etc)...both have good programs for distribution (i.e. tied in with Ingrams etc) but Lightning Source allows for a 20% discount where as CreateSpace is 40%.  This is all fine and well for Amazon Selling (where most books will be bought) but bookstores won't purchase unless they can get a larger discount - typically 55% - 60%.  Personally I don't think you need the bookstore, as most won't stock POD books even if you give them the discount option. 

Lightning Source setup fee is higher: $117 verses $39...and their per book pricing is higher.  But if you do sell a lot of print through Amazon then the 20% discount is much more attractive than the 40% from Create Space.

Offline DRMarvello

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2011, 07:56:16 PM »
Have you uploaded a book to Lightning Source lately? They recently reduced their fees by half! You can now upload the cover and interior PDFs for $37.50 instead of $75. I assume your $117 figure was the $75 upload fee, plus $30 proof charge, plus the annual $12 catalog fee. Well, the price is down to $79.50 now. ;D Also, the proof is optional -- they offer e-proofs now for free.  8)

The other problem with using CreateSpace for distribution is that the discount is actually 60% on all sales that go through their Extended Distribution program. Nasty!
Daniel R. Marvello
Blog: The Vaetra Files
Books: The Vaetra Chronicles

Offline Overlord

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 06:18:15 AM »
As someone who is considering self-publishing a book (not a novel) very soon, this is pretty interesting. Quick question - in terms of larger quantities such as 1000 / 2000 what kind of cost should you be looking at per unit?
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Offline DRMarvello

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 04:28:32 PM »
As someone who is considering self-publishing a book (not a novel) very soon, this is pretty interesting. Quick question - in terms of larger quantities such as 1000 / 2000 what kind of cost should you be looking at per unit?

I recommend that you only print what you have already sold. That is the beauty and advantage of Print-on-Demand. Let Lightning Source or CS deal with fulfillment for you. On the other hand, if you really do already have a buyer for 2,000 books, you should seriously consider doing an offset print run.

The highest cost-per-unit is true POD, where the books are basically printed as they are ordered by the customer. The next level is "short-run digital printing," which uses the same equipment as POD, just for a larger run. Lightning Source gives you discounts for higher print quantities (5% at 50, 10% at 100, etc). Last time I checked, CS did not offer quantity discounts.

Once your order size gets past about 1,000 units, it is time to start looking at offset. Lightning Source offers offset printing for orders over 750 (hardback) and 1,500 (paperback). However, you should get quotes from several printers as setup fees and prices vary considerably.

Hope that helps!
Daniel R. Marvello
Blog: The Vaetra Files
Books: The Vaetra Chronicles

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 01:23:03 PM »
Have you uploaded a book to Lightning Source lately? They recently reduced their fees by half! You can now upload the cover and interior PDFs for $37.50 instead of $75. I assume your $117 figure was the $75 upload fee, plus $30 proof charge, plus the annual $12 catalog fee. Well, the price is down to $79.50 now. ;D Also, the proof is optional -- they offer e-proofs now for free.  8)

The other problem with using CreateSpace for distribution is that the discount is actually 60% on all sales that go through their Extended Distribution program. Nasty!

Great to know.  I did recently (mid December) do a book with LS and it was still $75 - and yes you were correct about how I calculated. Glad to see that they are down now.  It is true that the CS distribution is high - but that is predicated by the retailers - if you do a 20% on LS you won't get any "takers" in the retail chains they want 55% - 60% discounts an typically need "returnable".

I still say ... for books for your own selling (face-to-face or website) use CreateSpace. For distribution in sufficient numbers - use LS.  There is no reason it has to be "one or the other".

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 01:24:53 PM »
As someone who is considering self-publishing a book (not a novel) very soon, this is pretty interesting. Quick question - in terms of larger quantities such as 1000 / 2000 what kind of cost should you be looking at per unit?

I wouldn't recommend doing a "large print run" - it is a much bigger risk and you have to deal with distribution etc.  It of course will depend on number of pages but 2,000 books at about 300 pages per will probably run $5,000 - $7,000.

Offline DRMarvello

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 07:58:11 PM »
It is true that the CS distribution is high - but that is predicated by the retailers - if you do a 20% on LS you won't get any "takers" in the retail chains they want 55% - 60% discounts an typically need "returnable".

You are so right about retail chains. But indie publishers rarely get picked up by a retain chain anyway. The chains don't have time to make buying decisions based on browsing the Ingram catalog. The publishers have salespeople that strongly influence what books are stocked and how they are positioned. I believe that setting your discount at 55% on LSI is just giving money away for nothing.

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I still say ... for books for your own selling (face-to-face or website) use CreateSpace. For distribution in sufficient numbers - use LS.  There is no reason it has to be "one or the other".

I totally agree it doesn't have to be one or the other. In fact, we sometimes use both. We publish at LSI first. If the title runs afoul of the now famous Amazon stocking problem, we publish it through CS for distribution to Amazon only (without Extended Distribution). CS handles our Amazon sales and LSI handles our sales to all other retailers. We don't like this approach, because we make less money and we feel that CS produces inferior quality books, but it's currently the only way around the Amazon stocking problem.
Daniel R. Marvello
Blog: The Vaetra Files
Books: The Vaetra Chronicles

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 02:44:29 AM »
You are so right about retail chains. But indie publishers rarely get picked up by a retain chain anyway. The chains don't have time to make buying decisions based on browsing the Ingram catalog. The publishers have salespeople that strongly influence what books are stocked and how they are positioned. I believe that setting your discount at 55% on LSI is just giving money away for nothing.

I agree - when I first started I set the discount at 55% and sold next to nothing through retail outlets (i.e. non Amazon). Went to 20% and sold...about the same. 

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 02:47:32 AM »
I totally agree it doesn't have to be one or the other. In fact, we sometimes use both. We publish at LSI first. If the title runs afoul of the now famous Amazon stocking problem, we publish it through CS for distribution to Amazon only (without Extended Distribution). CS handles our Amazon sales and LSI handles our sales to all other retailers. We don't like this approach, because we make less money and we feel that CS produces inferior quality books, but it's currently the only way around the Amazon stocking problem.

Yeah the "stocking problem" is a serious one. I think it depends on how fast a book is selling. Amazon seems to buy "a bunch" of books for fast selling titles because I have some through LSI that have hit the stocking problem for about 2 weeks but then most of the time are shown in stock.  My guess is they are trying to "trim" their inventory investments so for slow selling books won't keep any in stock. If they are moving "okay" they'll keep a modest amount in stock - but if those see a "spike" they may go temporarily out of stock for a time.

Offline DRMarvello

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2012, 01:48:04 AM »
If they are moving "okay" they'll keep a modest amount in stock - but if those see a "spike" they may go temporarily out of stock for a time.

It's a marketer's nightmare. When you finally do a promotion that works, Amazon instantly runs out of your book.  :(

I'm not too worried about it for my fiction book though; I expect my sales to be 95%+ e-books. The print version may never sell enough for Amazon to move it from LSI drop-ship mode to warehouse inventory mode. Time will tell.
Daniel R. Marvello
Blog: The Vaetra Files
Books: The Vaetra Chronicles

Offline DrMclony

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 02:56:38 AM »
...we feel that CS produces inferior quality books, but it's currently the only way around the Amazon stocking problem.

That's something I can't agree with. CS has excelled with my products. I have tried other services and none came to the same high standard. The durability of a book is vital as is the eagerness of the supplier to replace if there are problems. CS print quality is exceptional, every time. Better than the other POD services I have trialled. All of them.

I had a shipment destroyed in transit recently. They held up better than products from other POD companies would have but CS happily are replacing the entire shipment. No question, no struggle, just good old fashioned high standards of customer service.

When I see the standards displayed in workmanship, product quality and service levels offered by some of the others, it amazes me CS are not alone in the POD world (or at least only joined by one or two others that may have improved in recent times).
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 03:07:40 AM by DrMclony »
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Offline DRMarvello

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 02:14:47 AM »
That's something I can't agree with. CS has excelled with my products. I have tried other services and none came to the same high standard.

I'm glad you've had good luck with them. I've seen both sides of the argument. Repeatedly. The reason I prefaced my comment with "we feel" is because the quality we have received so far from CS has been far inferior to what we've always gotten from Lightning Source (for the same titles). But CS has many die-hard adherents like yourself who have had great results and are very happy. More power to you.
Daniel R. Marvello
Blog: The Vaetra Files
Books: The Vaetra Chronicles

Offline LoboPub

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2012, 05:03:52 PM »
Hi All,

I published via create space last November and signed up for the EDC - which they no longer charge for. I am a UK author and Amazon UK do NOT stock the book for POD; however a number of seller partners DO. A friend ordered the paperback as soon as it was available in the UK via one of the sellers listed. There is no royalty record of it in my Amazon account - I'm beginning to wonder if there ever will be! Create space is great for US authors, but UK authors are most definitely the poor relations. We have to jump through fiery hoops with the IRS too!

Offline Michael Sullivan

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 10:34:43 PM »
I just want to reiterate that I've always been impressed with the quality from both CS and LSI.

Recently, I had a printing from CS where some lines were just a bit darker than others (it wasn't a "running out of ink problem") it was more of a problem of "ripping" the electronic file. The change wasn't terrible - but it was distracting. I contacted them about it and they reprinted all 80 books and mailed them to me express so I could make my release day.  Very good customer service.

Offline ColinFBarnes

Re: Print on demand: Lightning Source Vs CreateSpace
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2012, 11:05:04 AM »
I'd also like to throw in Lulu as an alternative. With B&N recently refusing to stock Amazon published books, Lulu is another way of getting listed on B&N. They also list with Amazon. My last release (City of Hell Chronicles) took about 6 weeks for the print to match up with the kindle book.

The print quality is excellent. The price is a little higher than CreateSpace, but personally, I don't mind paying a little extra by having it diversified from amazon. I'm a firm believer of spreading one's wares amongst as many market places as possible.

Also, because I'm in the UK, it takes ages or costs a fortune for CreateSpace to send proofs. They wanted $40 for the proof of my last book. With Lulu, because they have printers across the globe, I got my proof for £2.50 and within 5 days, CreateSpace wanted up to three weeks because of international postage.