#PrintOnDemand Question

Question-Mark-Man2

At my recent workshop, I met a man who is ready to publish an oversized book with lots of color illustrations. I’ve heard there are better options for this type of book than CreateSpace. Have any of you had experience doing this, or heard of other Print on Demand sites that would be better choices for this type of thing? I’d like to be able to offer that info when I’m doing self-publishing workshops, and to pass it along to this gentleman, in particular. Since I work solely with CreateSpace, and do nothing with illustrations, etc, I’m clueless, and don’t want to lead him astray. Thanks for any info you can share!

39 thoughts on “#PrintOnDemand Question

    • I had heard that, and that oversized books make it worse. But I had also heard that there were other options (I’m assuming that means more affordable, too). I can’t find the post on Joanna Penn’s blog where they talked at length about this (among other things), but I seem to remember people mentioning Lulu and Book Baby. Sadly, I can’t remember if it was good or bad. But I DO remember that the guest poster said there were definitely better options than CreateSpace for these kinds of projects.

      Thanks for your input, Sue. I’m glad to know a color image or two might be doable. I have another friend who wants to do a wildlife photography book, though, and I suspect he’ll need to look elsewhere.

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      • Lulu offer a wide range of options, but they still come out expensive. Createspace works for colour images…and the price is reasonable if you keep the page count down. Longer books…best look at other options. I’d be interested in them too!

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  1. Today I published my third illustrated book with CreateSpace. I had previously done a novel with no illustrations, and an edition of the novel with black-and-white illustrations, and CS definitely does better with B&W: the color illustrations took a lot more work on my end to tweak them for printing. I’ve no idea how CS would compare to Lulu or FeedARead in this respect (I haven’t tried either of them yet), but I do know that CS is, overall, less expensive than Lulu for paperbacks, although Lulu offers a wider variety of binding formats, as well as several pricey hardcover options.

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    • Thank you so much for the input, Christine. I’m adding that to my files, and also FeedARead, which I haven’t heard of. I’m very happy with CS so far for my novels, but I haven’t even added a black & white illustration, yet, and that changes a lot of things. I appreciate your taking the time to share with us today! 🙂

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        • Aaah. I see. Well, then it would definitely not work for me. I order books quite often, and usually have my shipment in less than a week. Because I schedule lots of events, and never know for sure how many books I’ll need on hand, it’s always a guessing game. Sometimes I run out, and need to get replacements quickly. That sort of thing. Plus, it doesn’t cost a penny with CreateSpace, except for what you actually order, which works better for me, too.

          I definitely want to include it on the list, though, because things that don’t work for me might work quite well for someone else, whose needs are different than mine. Thanks for letting us know about it. 🙂

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  2. I’m waiting with hope that someone can answer this too – I suspect that when my first equestrian book is sold out (there are less than 100 copies left) that it will not go for reprint. My publisher has been sold on twice over the last couple of years and I don’t think the current owners are interested, and I’m planning to ask for my rights back so I can publish it myself.
    It has numerous pencil drawings, 50 colour photographs, and it’s 90K words, so a big book – currently a large hardback retailing at around $25

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  3. I haven’t any experience with Create a Space. I live in Canada and self-published my middle-grade book with Friesen Press and my picture book withTellwell publishing. They did a good job with the books. I am not that tech savvy and don’t have any idea how to use Create a Space.

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    • Once you get the template right, I think CreateSpace is as easy as it gets. And I’m very happy with their service. But I have no idea about photos and oversized books. Thanks for the names of the two you’ve used. I’ll pass them along! 🙂

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  4. One of my publishers told me Amazon has a new beta test going on that makes POD more affordable. I don’t have a link, but I’m sure if you search their FAQ in your KDP dashboard you’ll find it. Look for “beta testing POD”

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    • Thanks for the info, Sue. I don’t know that I’ve noticed a problem with affordability myself, but I’m not producing oversized books with photos or colored illustrations. That would certainly mean a bump in price, unless the overall process was made more affordable, I’m sure. I’ll keep an eye out for that.

      I’ve enjoyed my “relationship” with CreateSpace for over three years, never having had a single problem, except with the original template. I’ve modified that, and now that they accept doc files, it’s easy-peasy to upload, and make any necessary changes. I guess we like what we are familiar with, so I’ve never looked any farther. But I AM interested in what I should recommend to people asking about oversized books and color illustrations.

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      • Yes, the overall price is more affordable with this new POD beta test. It’s a separate program, apparently, but still through Amazon. So the books with illustrations and pics should have an easier time. Sorry, should’ve made my point clearer.

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        • No apology necessary, Sue. I’m totally new to anything other than the basic novels I’ve managed to format and publish myself, so far. I didn’d even know changes were in the wind, even though I tell everyone to stay up to date, because things are ALWAYS changing. I should follow my own advice. I’m not very good at beta programs, being the devout coward that I am. (My usual mantra is “if it ain’t broke, don’t FIX it!”) So I’ll wait to see what folks think of the new program before I hop on board. Thanks for giving us a heads up, here. It will be interesting, as this whole process always is! 🙂

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          • What interesting comments! I’ve used CreateSpace—had them do the interior design and formatting. I added a black and white fleuron at the beginning of each chapter, and they didn’t charge me extra. To do that, though, I had to pay for a Custom Interior. It was worth it to me because my books (the Pairs on Ice series) are for kids and the illustration is friendly. But I will jot down some of the other names—who knows when something else (like maybe for a picture book?) might be needed.

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  5. I publish my paperbacks with Blurb.co.uk, which cuts out the ridiculous shipping charges and time delays for copies from Createspace (but I do some of them on Createspace for the reverse for US customers!).

    Blurb started from providing high quality photo books, such as cookery books, collectors books (models etc), but introduced their ‘trade paperback’ a year or so ago. I’ve done both non-fiction with lots of photos in hardback with quality paper, and ordinary paperbacks with b/w chapter illustrations since. In my view the paperback offering is not significantly different from Createspace, save the quality of the trim has so far been excellent, and Createspace’s has been arbitrary, which is a kind word for it. The set up is different; CS you do your Word file and upload it, then twiddle to make the flow work; Blurb has DTP layout boxes and picture boxes into which you import your text and pictures, and you can do the headings in the fonts on offer (many, but may not be the names you know). You do it on their application which is free to download and you have to get it right before you uploading, since the biggest downside is the way they do ISBNs; every upload gets a new ISBN. Seems daft to me, but they may realise it’s worth changing.

    Blurb.com is there for US authors, Blurb.co.uk has made life so much easier for me in the UK; I don’t know if they have others for other countries. And you can select distribution via Ingram which gets it to Amazon, Book Depository, and all the other stores. They also do ebook files, but they haven’t cracked that yet IMHO since the file sizes are massive.

    Hope that helps!

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    • Thanks for the input, Jemima. Very interesting, and I’m adding Blurb to my list. I have to say that I’ve never had a single problem with CreateSpace. Not with formatting, uploading, or delivery time. It might be where I’m located, but I almost always have my shipment within a week of ordering. Certainly within ten days. And I love the quality of my books. My eBooks go on Amazon, easy as pie, and my CreateSpace experience, so far, has been very positive. That being said, they are novels with no illustrations or photos, hence the topic of this discussion.

      Passing all this information along for those who think it might be a better option. (This business is not necessarily a one size fits all kinda thing.)

      Thanks again!

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  6. I have a friend who is thinking of self-publishing a book on walks in Scotland with photos of the landscape on each walk so I’d be interested in hearing of any solutions to this. It seems to be horribly expensive because of the colour photos – but they are what will make the book, black & white wouldn’t do.

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    • I hope we find some answers that will help us all, Mary. My friend, Doug Little, is hoping to publish an oversized book of his bird and wildlife photos along the St. Johns River, and he’ll be interested in what we find out, too. Will be tweeting this a few more times to see if I can pull more people into the conversation.

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  7. Marcia, I published my children’s book to CreateSpace ~ complete with 32 colored illustrations ~ and had no difficulty. When publishing to Kindle, however, you have to make sure your illustrations are 300 dpi. I used GIMP to convert them, and it worked like a charm 🙂

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    • That’s good to know, Tina. I keep hearing/reading that CS doesn’t do as well with color as some others, but maybe that isn’t necessarily so. Were you able to price your book competitively, too? (If color and price aren’t an issue, I’m not sure why it’s necessary to find other options.) Thanks for weighing in on this! 🙂

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      • Color illustrations must be on the lighter side, because CS will make them darker. This might be true of other platforms as well, but I have no knowledge of those. GIMP saved the day for me; it’s easy, versatile, and free. There’s almost nothing you can’t do in this program. And yes, pricing competitively wasn’t an issue. But for folks who don’t live in the U.S., a platform other than CS might be more practical for other reasons, e.g., shipping costs 🙂

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