Friday, November 5, 2010

CreateSpace versus Ligthening Source Revisited

Currently I have three book projects underway. One is a simple experiment in converting an existing book into a Kindle book using the new CreateSpace conversion service. The next two projects won't be finished until the spring of 2011 at the earliest. Just as I am experimenting with the CreateSpace Kindle conversion, one of the two as yet completed titles will be published with Lightning Source.

The title I published using Dog Ear Publishing, Game Strategy and Tactics for Basketball,  is printed using LSI's POD and sold on Amazon. Dog Ear's staff did a wonderful job in the design of the book and editing and LSI does a great job printing the book. However, the up front cost for me to continue to rapidly introduce books was prohibitive in developing a back list. This was one of the reasons I invested the time to learn how to do much of the work myself, hired an editor and used CreateSpace to publish the bulk of my titles.

CreateSpace has continued to improve the ease with which authors can self-publish using CreateSpace's services. I am still working my way through getting my account opened with LSI.

The advantages of using CreateSpace now, are largely the same as when I started using CreateSpace and I believe a few additional advantages have been created since that time. They include:
  • ease of use
  • automatic listing on Amazon
  • low cost to publish a book (Free or $39 for the Pro Plan - Pay the $39 for the Pro Plan - it is worth it).
  • low cost per copy to print
  • hourly sales updates on the author's member dashboard
  • monthly payment - payment is 30 days after the previous month's sales. In other words, at the end of October you are paid for September's sales.
  • author services are now available for those who wish to take advantage of these services.
  • expanded distribution to other retailers
The disadvantages:
  • required 40% discount for all Amazon sales
  • an even higher discount for sales through the Expanded Distribution network
The advantages of using LSI:
  • authors are allowed to use the short discount business model (this is a really big advantage in terms of profitability!)
  • automatic listing with Ingram
The disadvantages of using LSI:
  • not as easy to start using to self-publish
  • higher cost per copy
  • quarterly instead of monthly payment
For many, the main issue is one of profitability. An author can make more money per sale on Amazon using LSI than CreateSpace. CreateSpace is easier to use, offers lower cost per copy, but has the disadvantage of a higher required discount.

For authors new to self-publishing and who desire to learn more about the industry, you may want to consider my newest book, 301 Frequently Asked Questions About Self-Publishing, available from Amazon. If you are interested in learning more about using CreateSpace, you might check out my book Self-Publishing With Amazon's CreateSpace, also available from Amazon.