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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which is better these days?

I visited Lulu and saw this page about distribution: http://www.lulu.com/services/distribution
Their Global Reach distribution option is $75 and it gets you in the Ingram database. Is there a recurring cost you have to pay to stay in Ingram if you go through Lulu? I didn't see that anywhere.

I don't see anything like that for CreateSpace. They have a similar distribution option, but it's a reoccurring cost. I'm trying to avoid monthly/yearly fees, if possible.

That said, is there anything else comparable between the two companies? I've been using CreateSpace to publish the paperback version of The Necromancer's Apprentice, but I'm wondering if Lulu is better these days or not? Which would you guys (speaking more to the veterans who might have had the opportunity to utilize both services) recommend?
Thanks in advance!
 

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I considered Lulu as well--they were my favorite for years before I'd ever heard of CreateSpace.

In the end, though, I went with CreateSpace.  My biggest reason?  When I put a book up with CreateSpace, it shows up as In Stock, Ready To Ship on Amazon.  If I publish with anyone else and put it up on Amazon, it will show Usually Ships in X amount of time.

For some, that may not be a consideration.  But I know I don't usually order things from Amazon if they aren't in stock...if a book shows that it takes days to ship, and I'm not rabid to have that particular book, I'll usually go find something else that is immediately available.
 

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RM Prioleau said:
I don't see anything like that for CreateSpace. They have a similar distribution option, but it's a reoccurring cost. I'm trying to avoid monthly/yearly fees, if possible.
I'm not familiar with the details of either Lulu or LS, but I'm documenting my CreateSpace experience in a blog series at my website. Their ProPlan costs $39 one-time with a tiny recurring fee of $5 per year. If you choose CS, the ProPlan makes much sense, as it significantly raises your royalties and lowers your cost to buy copies of your own books. I calculated that in 12.5 books sold, I've recouped my $39. A modest breakeven point. The only money you are required to spend with CS is the cost of a proof copy. I could have spent as little as about $9 to make a paperback edition of my novel available on Amazon. Take care.

Helen
 

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I can't claim that they will do this every year, but CreateSpace waived my recurring fee for all my books this year, and I've heard from other folks that they did this for them too, and for a couple of years now. Plus the author's copies are soooooo much cheaper on CS with the pro plan that I switched over from Lulu as soon as I ran one test print. The books are equal quality and at least for me they deliver faster from CS, but that's a feature of my location (NC) and their printing location (SC).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
John Hartness said:
I can't claim that they will do this every year, but CreateSpace waived my recurring fee for all my books this year, and I've heard from other folks that they did this for them too, and for a couple of years now. Plus the author's copies are soooooo much cheaper on CS with the pro plan that I switched over from Lulu as soon as I ran one test print. The books are equal quality and at least for me they deliver faster from CS, but that's a feature of my location (NC) and their printing location (SC).
How long have you used them? Were they just doing this randomly for people?
How much of a discount do you get for ordering your own books with the pro plan?
 

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SandraMiller said:
For some, that may not be a consideration. But I know I don't usually order things from Amazon if they aren't in stock...if a book shows that it takes days to ship, and I'm not rabid to have that particular book, I'll usually go find something else that is immediately available.
THIS.

I like e-books for instant gratification, but even so, sometimes I want a print copy of some books. And crazy though it may seem to us, many readers don't have e-readers and have no intention of ever getting one, and want to continue to buy print.

So when it comes to print books, my first choice is ALWAYS to go to the local bookstore and browse. Always. I don't want to wait a day or two for it to arrive in the mail, even if I do get free shipping. The only time I ever order a print book from Amazon is when I can't get it in the bookstore, so if I saw a book that wasn't even in stock, I'd get kind of annoyed. Not only do I have to wait a couple of days to get the book, but I might have to wait upwards to a week or longer. Heck no.

Don't make it easy for a potential reader to go find a different book to order. You want them to buy yours...not to have an excuse to buy something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Amanda Brice said:
THIS.

I like e-books for instant gratification, but even so, sometimes I want a print copy of some books. And crazy though it may seem to us, many readers don't have e-readers and have no intention of ever getting one, and want to continue to buy print.

So when it comes to print books, my first choice is ALWAYS to go to the local bookstore and browse. Always. I don't want to wait a day or two for it to arrive in the mail, even if I do get free shipping. The only time I ever order a print book from Amazon is when I can't get it in the bookstore, so if I saw a book that wasn't even in stock, I'd get kind of annoyed. Not only do I have to wait a couple of days to get the book, but I might have to wait upwards to a week or longer. Heck no.

Don't make it easy for a potential reader to go find a different book to order. You want them to buy yours...not to have an excuse to buy something else.
So in saying that, which one would you recommend to use?
 

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I don't have any experience working with Lulu but I wholeheartedly endorse CreateSpace. I love the quality and it was very easy. And like I said, anything you can do to make it easy for people to order through Amazon is a good thing.
 

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SandraMiller said:
I considered Lulu as well--they were my favorite for years before I'd ever heard of CreateSpace.

In the end, though, I went with CreateSpace. My biggest reason? When I put a book up with CreateSpace, it shows up as In Stock, Ready To Ship on Amazon. If I publish with anyone else and put it up on Amazon, it will show Usually Ships in X amount of time.

For some, that may not be a consideration. But I know I don't usually order things from Amazon if they aren't in stock...if a book shows that it takes days to ship, and I'm not rabid to have that particular book, I'll usually go find something else that is immediately available.
Other way round for me; well, I chose LightningSource. :) I'm just not prepared to pay the CreateSpace shipping rates. They're probably cheap in the States, but to the UK costs as much as my book will retail for. :mad: But if I were in a position to choose between Lulu and CreateSpace, I've heard better reviews for CreateSpace quality over Lulu.
 

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OK, yes, there's a recurring fee on CreateSpace, but let's be honest here.

CreateSpace's initial fee is $39 for the Pro Plan with Expanded Distribution. The recurring fee is only $5 per year. Not per month, per year.

So even with the annual fee, you'd have to keep your book active in the Pro Plan for 9 years before you'd be paying more than $75 total. And you can opt out at any time, so if your print sales ever get so low it's not making the $5 fee back for you, you'll probably end up paying less than $75 on CreateSpace.

So then it becomes a matter of end-user prices.

Everyone I know who's used both Lulu and CreateSpace has said that CreateSpace allows them to charge lower cover prices because the cost per book is lower ... significantly so ... on CreateSpace.

I haven't compared that myself, but I've heard it from so many people who've used both, I trust it. So I've decided to go CreateSpace, myself...

RM Prioleau said:
Which is better these days?

I visited Lulu and saw this page about distribution: http://www.lulu.com/services/distribution
Their Global Reach distribution option is $75 and it gets you in the Ingram database. Is there a recurring cost you have to pay to stay in Ingram if you go through Lulu? I didn't see that anywhere.

I don't see anything like that for CreateSpace. They have a similar distribution option, but it's a reoccurring cost. I'm trying to avoid monthly/yearly fees, if possible.

That said, is there anything else comparable between the two companies? I've been using CreateSpace to publish the paperback version of The Necromancer's Apprentice, but I'm wondering if Lulu is better these days or not? Which would you guys (speaking more to the veterans who might have had the opportunity to utilize both services) recommend?
Thanks in advance!
 

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CraigInTwinCities said:
Everyone I know who's used both Lulu and CreateSpace has said that CreateSpace allows them to charge lower cover prices because the cost per book is lower ... significantly so ... on CreateSpace.
I don't doubt it. I consisently see better-priced CreateSpace books than Lulu ones at the same page count. I doubt the Lulu authors are just trying to squeeze more royalties out of their customers...they simply have to price higher in order to make any money.

Customers don't want to pay an arm and a leg for a book. The lower you can price at while still making money, the better.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
I don't doubt it. I consisently see better-priced CreateSpace books than Lulu ones at the same page count. I doubt the Lulu authors are just trying to squeeze more royalties out of their customers...they simply have to price higher in order to make any money.

Customers don't want to pay an arm and a leg for a book. The lower you can price at while still making money, the better.
That's my philosophy, too. And part of why I chose CreateSpace for POD.

Also... I don't know what Lulu is like, personally, but...

On CreateSpace, there is no cost difference between page sizes.

Sure, page counts will affect cost. But on CreateSpace, you can print a book at mass-market paperback size, or trade paperback size, for the exact same amount.

I felt weird when I realized that costs and having at least a slim profit margin on ProPlan/Expanded Distribution would require me to charge at least... I forget how much, but something like $9.99 or $10.99, or something... I forget... when I was looking at a mass market trim size. Because most mass-market paperbacks that run the length Most Likely does retail in stores these days for no more, usually, than $7.99.

Then I realized I could do the same book at a trade paperback size (7x10 is gonna be my choice) and the cost doesn't change one penny!

Customers at retail are accustomed to paying anywhere from $12.99 to $16.99 for a trade paperback. Which would make one priced at $10.99 or whatever seem... well, at least not unreasonable.

That's what I like most about CreateSpace. No cost difference due to trim size. Definitely allows some flexibility so that the book doesn't feel overpriced, just because its an indie POD.
 

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CraigInTwinCities said:
Customers at retail are accustomed to paying anywhere from $12.99 to $16.99 for a trade paperback. Which would make one priced at $10.99 or whatever seem... well, at least not unreasonable.
What customers are accustomed to pay is somewhat genre-dependent.

For example, romance customers aren't accustomed to buying trade paperbacks at all, so paying $10.99 does seem a bit high to many of them, even if it's priced lower than other trade paperbacks. MMPB simply dominates romance. You'd have to really want to buy a particular book to pay $10.99 for it if you're used to paying $7.99.

Likewise, many YA novels are only sold as trade paperbacks, but they're priced at $8.99 to $9.99. (Except for the longer fantasy ones, which can be up to $14.99.) Not sure why, but YA trade seems to be lower priced than adult trade.

But then you get to the mystery market, which is dominated by hardcover and MMPB. Trade isn't often used there. And hardcover is only for the blockbusters. So if your target audience is used to paying $7.99 or $8.99 for a paperback and yours is $12.99, they might have to think long and hard before buying it.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
What customers are accustomed to pay is somewhat genre-dependent.

For example, romance customers aren't accustomed to buying trade paperbacks at all, so paying $10.99 does seem a bit high to many of them, even if it's priced lower than other trade paperbacks. MMPB simply dominates romance. You'd have to really want to buy a particular book to pay $10.99 for it if you're used to paying $7.99.

Likewise, many YA novels are only sold as trade paperbacks, but they're priced at $8.99 to $9.99. (Except for the longer fantasy ones, which can be up to $14.99.) Not sure why, but YA trade seems to be lower priced than adult trade.

But then you get to the mystery market, which is dominated by hardcover and MMPB. Trade isn't often used there. And hardcover is only for the blockbusters. So if your target audience is used to paying $7.99 or $8.99 for a paperback and yours is $12.99, they might have to think long and hard before buying it.
Yeah. Unfortunately, even with CreateSpace, a 200-250 page novel simply can't be made cheaply enough to achieve a $7.99 to $8.99 price point. :( Not even with ProPlan. Not if you choose Expanded Distribution, at any rate... the margins built in for the retailer cut push it out of that range.
 

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And I personally think Expanded Distribution is important, even though you're unlikely to sell much through it. But you might. Because you really never know how your potential reader likes to shop.

Crazy as it seems to people who are comfortable shopping online, but many readers still prefer to walk into their local bookstore and look on the shelves for the book they're interested in. And then when they discover it's not there, they go to the customer service desk and have them order it...even if it might take longer to receive it (than going through Amazon) and they'd have to make a return trip to the store.

So I look at Expanded Distribution as marketing. You're taking a royalty hit, but if your reader wants to order it through a bookstore, more power to her.

I definitely advise playing with font and sizing and spacing to try to get as many words on a page as possible...while still keeping the page legible, of course. I used 10.5 pt font and single spacing and I shortened my page count by 50 pages (compared to the manuscript format), which allowed me to price at $6.99. I'm not making a ton of money per copy, but I'm ok with that. At this point in my career, it's more about getting read.
 
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