Print & Ship
There are many self-publishing site on the Internet for Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing. Arc Light Books mainly uses three of them: CreateSpace.com, IngramSpark.com, and Lulu.com The one that is best for your project is dependent largely upon your budget and goals for distribution. For instance, many bookstores will buy a book from Amazon.com if they have a request for a title they do not carry, but few will carry a book publish through amazon’s CreateSpace.com. Books published by IngramSpark.com can easily be purchased by bookstores because most bookstores have wholesale accounts with Ingram, traditionally the biggest supplier of books to bookstores.
When you book production requirements don’t fit within the sizes or paper and cover offerings of Createspace.com or IngramSpark.com, LuLu.com may be our choice. Lulu is best when you want an oversized book of dimensions greater than 8.5 inches in width; a hard cover and premium paper; or a coffee-table quality picture book—and distribution options.
If you are willing to pay setup fees and fees for corrections after publication; accept lower royalties; want a wider distribution than Amazon.com and Kindle; would like a hardcover version of your book; and want bookstores to carry it on their shelves, IngramSpark.com may be the fit for you. Ingram has traditionally been the biggest book wholesaler in the publishing industry. Many bookstores have an account for buying books through this company. It is tried and true in the traditional publishing world.
CreateSpace.com requires no fees up front and no fees for corrections or changes, even after publication. When author J. Edward Taylor came to Arc Light Books for publishing assistance, his goal was to self publish affordable textbooks for his economics students at the University of California, Davis. He also wanted the publisher to matched the logo of his project’s website, RebelText.org, but didn’t want to manage the ISBN. We added RebelText as an imprint of Arc Light Books, to be printed on the cover and copyright page, using an Arc Light Books ISBN. We printed through CreateSpace, linking college bookstores directly to the author’s CreateSpace Store, where he could set the required discount. The books and concept were such a hit that UC Press picked up the titles for traditional publishing, which was another major goal for the project. UC Press assigned their ISBNs to the new editions.
Local Combined with POD
Occasionally a project needs traditional printing. After Patricia Adler published book her memoir about her father, she wanted to publish her illustrated storybook. The problem for her project Beyond the Hedge, was that she wanted bookstores to carry it, but the print on demand distributors could not accommodate text on its spine (a bookstore requirement), because there wasn’t enough bulk to the paperback. A hard-copy spine would have been wide enough, but the author wanted a paper cover. She also liked the idea of buying local, so we engaged a printer in the city where she lived to make a small run of books that she made available to bookstores. Then we used CreateSpace for direct sales to Pat’s readers.
♦ The key to choosing an online publisher is defining the budget and goals for you project