It allows you to print one, or just a few books at a time and the books will ship directly from the printer to your customers.
But there are a lot of Print-On-Demand Publishers.
Paper Wings Apprentice Alan Evans reviews five different POD publishers to help pick the right one for you.
To help us compare publishers…
Here are quotes from four companies all for the same hypothetical product:
…a 132 page, full color, 6” x 9” book.
…and we want a hundred copies.
Shipping is not included and ISBNs cost extra.
But you only need an ISBN if you plan to distribute through channels like Diamond (the comics distributor in North America) or Amazon. (Good news for Canadian citizens–ISBNs for your books are free!)
Cost: $1351 plus shipping.
Ka-Blam’s biggest strength is that they cater directly to comic creators. One look at their site and you can see that printing comics is their specialty.
Templates specifically designed for your comics are available and all of the information and options are right on the price calculator so you know what you’re getting.
They even also offer a small discount if you place their ad on the back cover. (Though, if you consider selling advertising in your book, I would suggest selling the back cover ad space yourself because you’ll make more money that way, over using Ka-blam’s back cover discount.)
Ka-Blam has no set-up fees and will send you a proof sample for a small price that will later get credited to your first order. You can also set up online distribution through their Indy Planet, ComicsMonkey and Indy Digital sites.
They even offer a 10% discount if you can hold off for 42 days. The down side is that the sooner you need your books, the more they will cost you.
Unfortunately emails have been known to go unanswered which adds unnecessary stress when preparing for a convention.
Also, the profit made by going through their distribution sites are slim.
Is Ka-Blam right for me? If you are are a comic creator who just wants a small, affordable print run and aren’t interested in listing listing on Amazon or digital distribution, then YES! Ka-Blam is for you. Ka-Blaam is arguably the easiest way to get your comics printed.
Cost: $1759 plus shipping or $1,009 with their Pro Plan.
Createspace is the POD division of Amazon.
Through them you can create DVD’s, digital videos, books and comic books.
Createspace will provide you with an ISBN for a tiered fee– the more you pay, the more creative control you have of the ISBN.
Distribution is through Amazon and Amazon only. No Diamond, Barnes & Noble, etc, but you can always set that up on your own.
Is Createspace right for me? If you’re looking for all-in-one setup–listing on Amazon, an ISBN, direct to consumer offerings–with great customer service, then YES! Createspace is for you.
Cost: $905 plus shipping and ISBN.
Lightning Source is the POD division of Ingram, one of the biggest book distributors in America.
They do excellent work, turnaround time is under a month and have excellent customer service.
For $12 a year you get listed on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and any bookstores that ask for it. They also have printers in the UK and Australia, making easier for your international customers to order your books.
Lightning Source even regularly offers discounts on printing where you can save 10% or more on your orders if you time it right.
The biggest drawback is that you HAVE to have an ISBN because they are going to list your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and anywhere else that Ingram distributes. But this is pretty easy to do yourself from Bowker.com.
Also, your PDF has to be X-2001 compliant which is standard in this day and age for printers. If you don’t know what that means, it can be pretty intimidating. Don’t worry! It just means that your PDF will print exactly as you intended.
Lightning Source also has a few one-time set-up fees that total about $80. And your book MUST be approved by you with a physical copy before they will sell it. They overnight a copy to you but you will have to pay for the shipping on that.
Is Lightning Source right for me? If the exposure and availability that listing on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Nobel appeals to you, and if you have a significant international readership, then YES! Lightning Source is for you. The profit shares aren’t as high but that might be offset if your book gets into the hands of more people.
360 Digital Books
Cost: $988 plus shipping.
360 Digital Books also does excellent work and has excellent customer service.
They offer fulfillment services that work directly with your own website.
360 will send you examples of their work, free of charge.
Unfortunately, there is a small set-up fee, and you need to sign off on a physical proof copy of your book before it goes to press, but that’s not really a bad thing. Signing off on the proof copy gives you the ability to see how your book is going to print and is the last time you can catch any errors or make any changes.
Minimum order is 25 books, but you were going to do that anyways, right?
You don’t need an ISBN as they won’t be getting you into Amazon. Of course, you can always do that on your own.
Is 360 Digital Books right for me? If you want to sell your book directly from your site and skip other book distributors, and if you’re only interested in a very small print run, then YES! 360 Digital Books is for you.