Some authors who choose to self-publish can still produce paper book versions of their work through the latest print-on-demand technology or more popularly known as POD. This option is very beneficial on the part of small-time publishers like self-publishing authors because it eliminates the need to invest cash on large print runs. And with POD, publishers will only request for printed copies that already have been paid for so no more need to worry about the risk of too much inventory not getting sold.

In the online publishing scene, Lightning Source and CreateSpace are two of the biggest players that receive the most attention from those who want to avail of the POD technology. But it is important to understand that both are not publishers. Instead, they are vendors for book printing or distribution and you would be required to provide files that are ready to print.

These websites are typically used for the following purposes:

a)  Production of printed books with high quality
b) Distribution of printed books
c)  Making books available for sale on websites

In terms of quality, the books printed by Lightning Source and CreateSpace are almost impossible to tell apart. Both the covers and interiors can be compared to those you will find on the shelves of bookstores. There may be a little distinction if your book has lots of images so you might as well take time to adjust the images and proof carefully.

When we compare the costs, you will find that they have the same pricing for printing which is based on how many pages the books have. The difference would show when all other fees are considered such as the set-up fees, proof fees and yearly fees. And the better player in this category is CreateSpace because it would only cost between $46 and $48 per book while Lightning Source would cost around $117 for the same book.

The method of distribution is where the main difference lies between these two. Lightning source is one of Ingram’s subsidiaries. Physical bookstores have a very high regard for Ingram. As a wholesaler, it is where practically all bookstores all over the United States make orders.

As for CreateSpace, it may not be able to get you into Ingram’s sphere but it will allow you to use the Expanded Distribution Channel and give you a place on Amazon’s displays. This means that you can distribute your book to a wider audience base and the outlets would include distributors, wholesalers, retailers, academic institutions, libraries and bookstores.

For most self-publishers, CreateSpace would most likely be declared as a winner. But if you will consider the other aspects of book distribution, then you might as well consider the benefits that you can get from Lightning Source. What works for others may not work for you. So take your time to weigh all factors involved before you decide what is best for your book.

There are many things that you need to think about after you have already finished your manuscript. Book-making could sometimes become a little challenging once you get into the publishing aspect. But you can cast all your worries aside because The Fast Fingers will always be there to provide assistance to self-publishing authors like you.

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Print on Demand – Comparing Lightning Source and CreateSpace

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