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Back in February I did a complete analysis of CreateSpace Vs Lightning Source on my blog and CS came up as the winner. Several people pointed out something I was missing (mainly that with LS you can get a 20% dissount on Amazon rather than 40% through CS). Also recently Self Publsihing Review noted that Amazon is not keeping non CS titles in stock as they have in the past. So....I reworked my entire post and it is much different than it use to be. If you've read it in the past .... or are considering which would be right for you... you might want to give it a revisit:
 

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Thanks, Robin

This was a very informative post. I have bookmarked it for future use. It's good to know we can use both formats and take advantage of the good points of each. Right now, I'm still selling paperbacks from my original print run. (I knew nothing about print-on-demand options at the time. Ugh) I hope to switch to P.O.D. soon. Packing books and running to the post office is not fun!
 

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The thing that sold me on LighningSource? They're the ONLY affordable POD publisher that offers matte laminate covers, both paperback and hardcover!

I'm a real sucker for matte laminate covers.
 

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That's a big thing for me too and I am trying to decide if it is worth the extra effort to get it. My understanding is it is more time consuming to get set up on Lightsource.
 

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By the way, I recommend you don't do a proof copy with LSI.

Purchase 10 copies and spread it around to extra people to proofread one last time.

On the chance you do have an issue the fee to correct generally balances out what you would have spent on a single proof copy.

And the best part: If you chose not to do a proof, the customer service rep assigned gets the first copy on their desk anyway to confirm. So if there are any obvious issues with how it came out they will notify you before letting you hit the check box to approve.

That brings the setup cost down by 25%. And several times a year they also waive other portions of the setup cost.





 

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Very handy to know that you can use the same ISBN for both.  Not sure what my plans will be yet but that does broaden possibilities.  Thanks for the info.  :)
 

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Ooh, I'll definitely check this out. I know your last analysis was great and I added it to The Writer's Resource Directory. It will be interesting to see the changes.
 

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Thanks for the revisit. By the end of our last discussion on this, it seemed pretty clear that LS was better, even for selling on Amazon, but it's a lot better to see your validation of this instead of just theorycrafting.
 

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Dawsburg said:
The thing that sold me on LighningSource? They're the ONLY affordable POD publisher that offers matte laminate covers, both paperback and hardcover!

I'm a real sucker for matte laminate covers.
Yup, I want matte.
 

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Great post! I missed it the first time around but I had a lot of questions that it answered for me. :D

How exactly do you get more inventory for books (like your FULL SHARE) that are OOS or close? You don't have to buy them yourself, do you?
 

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Here's where I just got thrown. I uploaded a book to CreateSpace and indicated "Expanded Distribution." I went for the Pro program. I thought that Amazon was understood, right? Here's what I got today from "Sheila" in answer to a question I sent to their support address:

You may make your title available for purchase through our distribution channels of Amazon.com, your CreateSpace eStore, and/or the Expanded Distribution Channel for Pro Plan-enrolled titles. Unfortunately, we are unable to list the availability of your title through international Amazon.com websites. I am very sorry for any inconveniences this may cause.

Excuse me??? No International Amazons??? That means...no Amazon.uk. I wrote back and asked for clarification, but they've gone home for the day, and I can't expect a response before tomorrow. I'm irritated RIGHT NOW.

A further irritant: The Lightning Source Menu Option for "Distribution" is broken. Their site won't tell me what I need to know. Does Lightning Source distribute to the international Amazons? If so, I may have to yank my book and go with them instead.
 

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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add something like this immediately:

WARNING on Marking Books Returnable
Note: Please be aware that marking books returnable means that the bookstores can return any unsold copies. This has implications: you eat the costs of each copy returned - they are often returned in a non-sellable way (just the covers with the book block ripped out).
...because, the way it reads now could be ruinous to someone just starting out. Many a small press have gone bankrupt when they offer returns, so that should be of utmost importance to let people know.

I wouldn't recommend anyone doing this to mark anything returnable or to give the 55% discount. I offer 20% discount on my books, and they appear on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc. for online order, and you can go into the store and order them at the 20% discount. Edited to add: A friend of mine ordered in-store at Barnes & Noble at this discount, and she got her copy quickly and easily.

Unless you have already gotten a deal to get them into brick and mortar stores, I would advise against the deep discount - you're doing nothing but giving money away. The likelihood of them stocking a POD book to shelf it is slim to none, so you might as well save yourself the trouble and heartache now. Just get your extra money for your hard work, and let the brick and mortars either adapt to the new way of doing things or go out of business.
 

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Nell Gavin said:
A further irritant: The Lightning Source Menu Option for "Distribution" is broken. Their site won't tell me what I need to know. Does Lightning Source distribute to the international Amazons? If so, I may have to yank my book and go with them instead.
Yes, they go to Amazon.co.uk for sure. The Oceania (Australian/Pacific west) are geting a distribution center and a POD facility (well, I think it's up and running already), so we may see Australia and Japan in the mix in the near future.
 

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Samuel Thews said:
That's a big thing for me too and I am trying to decide if it is worth the extra effort to get it. My understanding is it is more time consuming to get set up on Lightsource.
Just the first time, when you sign up for an account. That's the time consuming part. For the most part, LS was very good about answering my questions - although I did try to keep them to a minimum and very specific. After the initial set up, it's just a matter of uploading each successive book.

The thing that sold me on LighningSource? They're the ONLY affordable POD publisher that offers matte laminate covers, both paperback and hardcover!
Wait, is this new? I don't remember that being an option the last time I did I set up a book in March. That would be wonderful.

What I do like better about LS is that the paperback covers hold up better than those that I've gotten from CS, which tend to curl and separate at the edges over time. LS's paper is a smidge thicker [ETA: I use creme paper, since this is the norm for historicals]. So even though initial costs are more with LS, I chose to go with them for reasons of quality, distribution and greater profit per book in the long run.

BTW, as for distribution with LS, I've found my books on online retailers in very faraway places: Japan, NZ, India, etc. No extra cost or set-up for those. Just part of the package.
 

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By saying you can use the same ISBN for both, you seem to be making the assumption that you are getting the ISBN direct from Bowker.  That is an expense that I don't see in your figures and may be overlooked as a "given", however that might not be the case.  I don't know about LS, but I know for sure that CS offers free ISBNs.  If I understand the ISBN rules correctly, these cannot be used at LS.
 

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ericbt said:
By saying you can use the same ISBN for both, you seem to be making the assumption that you are getting the ISBN direct from Bowker. That is an expense that I don't see in your figures and may be overlooked as a "given", however that might not be the case. I don't know about LS, but I know for sure that CS offers free ISBNs. If I understand the ISBN rules correctly, these cannot be used at LS.
This is correct. If you use a CS ISBN, you cannot use it at LS. LS does not provide ISBNs - you must buy them from Bowker. If you buy one from Bowker, you can use it at CS and LS.
 
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