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What service(s) do you recommend for printing a self-published book?

Some people prefer off-set, and others say print-on-demand is the way to go. Have you used either kind of service? Is there a company you particularly love? Do they offer other services on top of book printing, like order fulfillment?
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30 answers
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Neil Clarke
3-time creator
32
Answered on

Print on demand has higher unit costs, lower financial risk, and doesn't require a lot of money up-front. If you end up needing more than 500 copies for rewards, consider getting quotes from some offset printers. I've used Worzalla http://www.worzalla.com/, but there are tons of options out there. The downside to offset is that there typically isn't an option to handle distribution, like there is with POD. You need a distributor to get books into Amazon, B&N, etc. If you get a distributor, be prepared for the big ugly secret of publishing... returns. You can sell 1000 copies and get a nice check and then a few months later 600 are returned and you could end up owing money back to your distributor PLUS returns fees. (Getting a distributor is hard. Particularly if you only have a single title scheduled.)

Ingram and Createspace are the two big players in POD. It pays to look at the prices and terms and figure out which (or what combination) works best for you. Keep in mind that books through a POD printer/distributor are harder to get into brick and mortar bookstores. Most will only take them as special orders, particularly if you have them set as non-returnable. It does get you into the big online stores. Here, Amazon is critical. You'll make most of your sales here. Sadly, your per-unit profit is lowest with POD, but at least it's all profit and almost no risk.

You should be releasing a print book with a digital edition. If you don't know how to make an ebook, find someone who does (same goes for the print book or cover). It's important to put your best foot forward with a book, so work with people who know what they are doing or the project will suffer for it. The last thing you want is to look amateur and you may not be the best judge of that.

Once again, Amazon is the big player for ebooks, but other places may be big too (talk to people in your genre). There is no excuse not to put it everywhere. 

By the way, if you manage to get an offset title into bookstores that will drive ebook sales. I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the bookstore a marketing opportunity for the ebook. Sometimes that can offset any smaller returns costs.

And of course, none of this works without marketing... and that's an even bigger topic for discussion.

3 comments

10

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Michael Mulvey
6-time creator
10
Answered on

I used Gorham Printing (in Washington) for my Kickstarter project last year, Charms, Quivers & Parades. They were great to work with and the quality of my hardcover books was great.

My favorite aspect of ordering my books was the fact that I could customize my book design on their website and get an estimate (based on volume) immediately. This was integral in making accurate rewards and funding goals.

1 comment

7

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David Diez
7
Answered on

I manage all publishing for OpenIntro, which publishes textbooks, and we outsource our printing and have worked with a few printers and explored many more. I haven't done a KickStarter, but I have examined a lot of printers.

I'm on this thread since I'm always on the lookout for additional printers; I'm now exploring some of the options others have noted here. My main goal in finding more options is to reduce our dependency on Amazon.

My two favorite printers:

- PrintNinja for high quality books (requires a larger print run -- definitely not worth doing 500+ books and preferably 750+). We use PrintNinja for our full color hardcover textbooks. My wife has also used PrintNinja for her children's book, and as a graphic designer, is very picky about quality but has been very happy with PrintNinja. The downside is you have to sell / distribute books yourself, at least to my knowledge, and that's more work. They do have some some warehousing options. If you want to explore PrintNinja, use their online form to check pricing online and play around with options. As an example, I did a 5000 book run for an 8x10 full color hardcover book and after some complex shipping demands on my part, the total was $8.19 per book *delivered*, so ~$41k up front cost. These books are, of all the printers I've explored, easily the highest quality. We list our hardcovers on Amazon* via FBA, and our ultimate margin at $25 list price is about $8 per book sold after all costs are considered.

*Amazon has been a really expensive way to sell books, and their fees have unexpectedly been going up in ways that have made it more difficult to justify working with them.

- CreateSpace for B&W paperbacks (print on demand). Great if you're writing a book that doesn't need color. We have graphs and images in our textbooks, but they greyscale well. Pricing for B&W paperbacks is very competitive and you can sell books with $0 investment. You can use CreateSpace's calculator (Books > Publish a Trade Paperback, then look in the Royalties tab) to understand exactly how much you'll get from sales. Books are also eligible for Amazon Prime, which is great, though honestly I'm personally getting fed up with Amazon (as noted above) so we're actively exploring other options for selling books.

Other printers I've looked at and / or used:

- IngramSpark (Lightning Source), which does print-on-demand books. Honestly, I've repeatedly had really bad experiences with IngramSpark to the point that I cannot recommend them to anyone. They're expensive, their customer support is difficult to reach or work with, I've had surprise charges, books have been damaged even before they were shipped (delivered damaged, and the books couldn't have been damaged during shipment given where the damage was), and there have been other manufacturing defects as well. Seriously, every interaction with IS is basically crap. There's also little transparency in pricing and royalties.  Investment to get rolling: realistically about $100. For reference, a 436 page full color hardcover book costs ~$20 from them, and the quality is also only so-so and certainly inconsistent.

- Lulu, which does print-on-demand. They may be reasonable for shorter books if you sell on lulu.com, but for longer books CreateSpace is definitely best ... if you're okay selling via Amazon.

- WebCrafters, Inc, which does large-scale printing analogous to PrintNinja. They are a viable option, with lower prices than PrintNinja (roughly ~$1-2 per book savings if I remember right for our books when looking at purchases of ~4000 books). However, the book quality isn't as good as PrintNinja's. We've decided to err on the side of higher quality vs lower cost for our books, so we're staying with PrintNinja. That said, WebCrafters is good enough that they are still on my mind, so if you think they might work for you, check them out!

3

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Elly Blue
27-time creator
29
Last edited on

We're talking about different business models here and it's really all about what you want. If you just want the satisfaction of publishing a book, don't need it to be a beautiful object, and don't plan or want to market it beyond your Kickstarter project, then print-on-demand is fine. If you'd like your work to find a wider audience, and you are excited about the prospect of launching a publishing company with all the many things that entails, then offset is your jam--and it's fine to ignore POD and ebooks since they will likely not recoup the time and money you invest in making them. 

If you're building a publishing company, I strongly recommend waiting to seek out distribution until you've been at it a few years. I also advocate for ignoring Amazon/B&N/etc as much as possible, and focusing instead on building a loyal following around your work through direct sales, events, participation in your communities, and any other scrappy thing you can figure out how to do. All the other stuff is just going to make you top heavy until you've built a solid foundation for it to work off. And you probably don't want to bet your money on the publishing industry right now.

1 comment

2

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Sean Tilley
73
Answered on

It depends on what you are looking for. If ease of use and price are of concern to you, both Amazon CreateSpace and Lulu.com are pretty well-respected as platforms for printing self-published books. CreateSpace is cheaper than Lulu, however.

With that being said, I have heard that Lightning Source yields books that are of a higher print quality. Their system and process is a little more time-consuming than CreateSpace or Lulu, and a little more expensive, but the book quality is more favorable when compared to the other two services.

Full disclosure - this commentator works at BackerKit, a post-campaign platform for project creators.

2

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Lisa Vollrath
8-time creator
90
Answered on

It really depends on the type of book you're creating. I've used Amazon's CreateSpace, which creates low-cost, mass-market paperbacks. The process is simple, and the product arrives promptly. The books are automatically listed on Amazon, with the Look Inside feature, and there's an easy conversion to Kindle offered, as well. But what I create there isn't great moments in art, so if I was making, say, a coffee table art book, I would look elsewhere.

2

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Ivan Mendez
Creator
2
Answered on

Try to find a local print shop, one that have a HP indigo machine, that machine is design for long short runs. it's like a off set machine but printing digital and the quality it's 100% I know because I use to run that machine when I use to work for a print shop. Don't go to Staples or Kinkos they don't know what they are doing.... 

Thanks all the best.

2

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Stephanie Pereira
55
Answered on

Quite a few Kickstarter creators have had success with BookMobile in Minneapolis. http://www.bookmobile.com/

2

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Andrew White
2
Answered on
You need a distributor to get books into Amazon, B&N, etc. If you get a distributor, be prepared for the big ugly secret of publishing... returns. You can sell 1000 copies and get a nice check and then a few months later 600 are returned and you could end up owing money back to your distributor PLUS returns fees.

Asus Warranty Check

1

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Brewer Family Enterprises LLP
4-time creator
1
Last edited on

It greatly depends on the book being printed. POD worked well and looked fantastic printing the highly specific specs on one of our recent photography art books.  Every person that held a printed copy loved the book  -- hated the price to have a personal copy printed. Even the cost to sell copies is prohibitive. And the worst part was the minimum amount of Kickstarter campaign funds to fund the printing, rewards, fees, etc. for such a book were large enough to be detrimental to success.

Trying for digital printing of the same file by a different company at a more affordable price, created too many technical problems to overcome.  Many other printers cannot even accommodate the books designed size.

One of our upcoming books is a very average, ordinary spec'd book.  Standard size, black and white text, relatively few pages, and little to no color management.  Several companies can print it. Our choosing a printer is based in time, ability to meet a deadline and Kickstarter success.

I've contacted a dozen or more print companies.  All have a basic price list.  I'd check different printer company websites and then spec the book to one or two of the companies.  Then contact them when the book is ready for an actual quote.  They can and will help with the decisions to make it as easy as possible for you.

Some companies to search out are Blurb, Bookmobile, Lulu, 48hr Books, CreateSpace (Amazon), Universities with publishing divisions, UBuildABook, DiggyPOD, Bind 4 You

Good luck!

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Earl Brown, Project leader
14
Answered on

Here's some insight from a successful campaign - http://bit.ly/2xqSjeq

1

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Terry@interact
Creator
1
Answered on

New to KS but I have published a lot of books; including some v. ambitious digitally published personalized ones. I pursued several quotes for my KS project (a mix of personalized and 'straight' books). For ebooks check out Papeair (at https://papeair.com) At 500 copies + I'd find an offset printer but shop around. 250 to 500 compare traditional print with digital print solutions, below 250 I've found Print-on-demand (PoD) to be the best solution. As others have said, it comes with good distribution. 

I'm currently live hoping for 200+ traditional copies and double that number of personalized copies so planning to put it all thru PoD. But only just launched so no clues yet.

Find the best size and quality formats before you get too far into the planning and you can always print all the text (inside pages) in one print process then split them to add hardback or softback covers, if you include both in your rewards. Get a lot of quotes because you don't know how the numbers are going to finalize and print is a numbers game. Hope this helps someone out there.

1

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A K Nicholas
21-time creator
92
Last edited on

I have tried Ingramspark, Createspace, Lulu, Blurb, and a few others.

Ingramspark and Createspace are decent quality for text-only books. Createspace is okay for anything but photobooks. I have used Ingramspark for photobooks, but they are a very old company that is having trouble adapting to contemporary quality standards. Most problematic is inadequate packing. They don't follow the guidelines of UPS or USPS, using almost no padding and flimsy 32 lbs/sq in cardboard boxes (Blurb and others use 80 lbs/sq in cardboard.) 30-40% of the books I've ordered from Ingram arrive damaged. They have always replaced damaged books but it is very time consuming to photograph each damaged book and fill in a lengthy old-school form. Additionally, your replacement order will be similarly packed and damaged. This may be okay if you are doing low-cost paperbacks, but not for nice photobooks. I have also had printing, gluing, and dirt problems with Ingramspark books.

For photobooks, I use Lulu and Blurb. Both do an excellent job printing, an echelon or more above CS and IS.  The both follow industry standard packaging guidelines. Blurb has better options for paper and typically better customer service.

All print companies make mistakes. Some will argue with you and make you jump through hoops to get your order printed, then replace the books with another faulty order. Beware of this when looking at low-cost providers. Blurb has been the best at customer service. However I have learned not to order from Blurb during the Christmas printing season; they are far too busy to ensure quality and their normal <5% defect rate went up to more than 50% in recent months.

For the low-cost photobook printers, I would just say avoid any price that seems too good to be true.

For self-distribution, one option easy to research and set up is Amazon, no matter who prints your books.

1 comment

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Grethania Amiya
1
Answered on

Offset printing is a printing technique using roll plate media that has loaded the design you want to print. Various designs are created and printed to meet the needs of promoting a product, service or information to a person, a group or a wider community. Promotional techniques that can be run in addition to promotions with print displays can also use printing business cards, brochures, calendars, company profile and more.

Print Print On Demand is a printing technique that uses digital technology or print techniques without the use of plates (Digital Printer). The advantages of Print On Demand is more time-saving, power and cost compared to Offset printing type.

So in my opinion it seems that for the current digital era it would be more suitable if you choose to use the print on demand method to print your book.

Although there are also some printers that can be used to print books, but the resulting quality may not be in line with expectations. However, if you feel the need to try it, you can try first to download some necessary drivers. For example if you are going to be using Canon MP237 printer you can download canon mp237 driver from Canon Official website.

thank you

1 comment

1

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Sanguine Productions LLC
14-time creator
1
Answered on

OneBookShelf.com has been an excellent partner. Their customer service has been stellar - no matter what the issue, technical or billing or customer-service - they have had prompt, personal support to help us fix it.

In the past few years, they've added excellent features such as revenue-sharing with multiple creators, and a "pay on demand" coupon system for people to buy their printed books later. Most of what they make is genre-themed (sci-fi, fantasy, comics, RPGs), but they permit a wide variety of content. I can't recommend them enough, they've been an excellent help through our last dozen Kickstarters.

1

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Cindy Olivia
1
Answered on

Ingramspark and Createspace are decent quality for text-only books. Createspace is okay for anything but photobooks. I have used Ingramspark for photobooks, but they are a very old company that is having trouble adapting to contemporary quality standards. Most problematic is inadequate packing. They don't follow the guidelines of UPS or USPS, using almost no padding and flimsy 32 lbs/sq in cardboard boxes (Blurb and others use 80 lbs/sq in cardboard.) 30-40% of the books I've ordered from Ingram arrive damaged. They have always replaced damaged books but it is very time consuming to photograph each damaged book and fill in a lengthy old-school form. Additionally canon printer driver, your replacement order will be similarly packed and damaged. This may be okay if you are doing low-cost paperbacks, but not for nice photobooks. I have also had printing, gluing, and dirt problems with Ingramspark books. For photobooks, I use Lulu and Blurb. Both do an excellent job printing, an echelon or more above CS and IS. The both follow industry standard packaging guidelines. Blurb has better options for paper and typically better customer service. All print companies make mistakes. Some will argue with you and make you jump through hoops to get your order printed, then replace the books with another faulty order. Beware of this when looking at low-cost providers. Blurb has been the best at customer service. However I have learned not to order from Blurb during the Christmas printing season; they are far too busy to ensure quality and their normal <5% defect rate went up to more than 50% in recent months.

Canon Support

1

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jihan laura
1
Last edited on

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1

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aldo josh bernal
2
Answered on

no eh utilizado nada

1

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Lee Mark
1
Answered on

Print on request has higher unit costs, bring down monetary hazard, and doesn't require a great deal of cash in advance. On the off chance that you wind up requiring in excess of 500 duplicates for rewards, consider getting cites from canon MG2220 driver. however, canon ij setup there are huge amounts of alternatives out there...

1

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julius424
1
Answered on

Ingram and Createspace are the two big players in POD. It pays to look at the prices and terms and figure out which (or what combination) works best for you. Keep in mind that books through a POD printer/distributor are harder to get into brick and mortar bookstores. Most will only take them as special orders, particularly if you have them set as non-returnable. It does get you into the big online stores. Here, Amazon is critical. You'll make most of your sales here. Sadly, your per-unit profit is lowest with POD, but at least it's all profit and almost no risk. You should be releasing a print book with a digital edition. If you don't know how to make an ebook, find someone who does (same goes for the print book or cover). It's important to put your best foot forward with a book, so work with people who know what they are doing or the project will suffer for it. The last thing you want is to look amateur and you may not be the best judge of that. Once again, Amazon is the big player for ebooks, but other places may be big too (talk to people in your genre). There is no excuse not to put it everywhere. By the way, if you manage to get an offset title into bookstores that will drive ebook sales. I've done both and can speak from experience. in active directory tools. Consider the bookstore a marketing opportunity for the ebook. Sometimes that can offset any smaller returns costs. And of course, none of this works without marketing... and that's an even bigger topic for discussion.

1 comment

1

like
ij start canon
1
Answered on

I agree that You need a distributor to get books into Amazon, B&N, etc. If you get a distributor, be prepared for the big ugly secret of publishing... returns.

Ij start canon

0

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Salman Alfarish
0
Last edited on

We all should be releasing a print book with a digital edition. If you don't know how to make an ebook, find someone who does (same goes for the print book or cover). It's important to put your best foot forward with a book, so work with people who know what they are doing or the project will suffer for it. The last thing you want is to look amateur and you may not be the best judge of that. Once again, Amazon is the big player for ebooks, but other places may be big too (talk to people in your genre). There is no excuse not to put it everywhere. By the way, if you manage to get an smadav 2020 offset title into bookstores that will drive ebook sales. I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the bookstore a marketing opportunity for the ebook. Sometimes that can offset any smaller returns costs.

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1 comment

0

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jihan laura
1
Last edited on
We should all be released printed book with digital editions. If you don't know how to make an e-book, it is important to put your best foot forward with the book, so it works with people who know what they are doing or the project will suffer for it. The last thing you want is to see amateur and You might not be the best judge of that.  

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Once again, Amazon is a great player for eBooks, but other places may be great too (talk to people in Your genre). There is a reason not to put it everywhere. By the way, if you manage to get a degree offset to the bookstore that will drive sales of eBooks. I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the book store marketing opportunity for the ebook. Sometimes that can offset the cost of a smaller refund. HP Support Assistant

0

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jihan laura
1
Last edited on

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1 comment

0

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Luigi Sardo
2-time creator
0
Answered on

I recommend you try Copywell - they're a Canadian printer and offer all popular formats. They will keep you updated in the order process and even send you photos of work in progress. Check out their Crowdfunding options here.

1 comment

0

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lee mark
0
Answered on

We're discussing distinctive plans of action here and it's extremely about what you need. On the off chance that you simply need the fulfillment of distributing a book, needn't bother with it to be a delightful item, and would prefer plan or not to advertise it past your Kickstarter venture, at that point print-on-request is fine. On the off chance that you'd like your work to locate a more extensive gathering of people, and you are amped up for the possibility of propelling a distributing organization with all the numerous things that involves, Smadav 2020 at that point counterbalance is your stick - and it's fine to overlook POD and digital books since they will probably not recover the time and cash you put resources into making them.

In case you're fabricating a distributing organization, I firmly prescribe hanging tight to search out appropriation until the point that you've been busy a couple of years. I likewise advocate for overlooking Amazon/B&N/and so on however much as could reasonably be expected, and concentrating rather on building a dedicated finishing around your work coordinate deals, occasions, support in your networks, and some other crude thing you can make sense of how to do. Smadav 2020 The various stuff is simply going to make you top substantial until the point that you've fabricated a strong establishment for it to work off. Furthermore, you likely would prefer not to wager your cash on the distributing business at the present time.

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Salman Alfarish
0
Answered on
if you manage to get an offset title into bookstores that will drive ebook sales. I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the bookstore a marketing opportunity for the ebook.

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Gomoox
0
Answered on

With my experience, I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the book store marketing opportunity for the ebook. This is very interesting to discuss.

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Roger
0
Answered on

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lee mark
0
Answered on

just try to download Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Driver and avast 2020

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