Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Selecting a POD Service Revisited - CreateSpace or Lightning Source

The publishing industry seems to be changing at breathtaking speed. Just a few years ago print-on-demand was the business model combined with access to Amazon was the business model most self-publishing authors used.

Know eReaders, particularly Amazon's Kindle, have changed the industry again, giving authors who self-publish more control of their ability to market and sell their work. In addition, the Kindle Direct Publishing allows authors to make a larger percentage of each sale if Amazon's guidelines pricing guidelines are followed.

Where does this leave print-on-demand? I would not neglect producing a print version of any book. Concentrating on getting the ebook version to market first seems to be the best strategy but follow-up with a POD edition as well.

Why? Research seems to indicate the market for ebook reading devices may begin to level off soon. Does this means the dramatic increase in sales of ebooks will level off soon as well? Only the God knows the answer to that question.

What I have noticed when looking at my own sales trends is while my Kindle sales have taken off and earn about 70% of my revenue now, my POD sales are also at the highest volume they have ever been. Failure to introduce paperback versions of my new books would mean a still significant portion of income and revenue would be lost due to lack of a print version.

For authors who view self-publishing as a business as well as first time authors trying to work their way through the maze of information required to learn to self-publish, selecting between CreateSpace and Lightning Source as a POD printer is still a major issue.

CreateSpace seems to be working to gain an edge over Lightning Source, at least with self-publishing authors. CreateSpace just recently dropped its requirement for the $39 Pro Plan fee and now has only a $25 fee for authors who wish to take advantage of Expanded Distribution services, meaning selling books through more book retailers and wholesalers than just Amazon.

There has also been the issue with changes in how the relationship between Amazon and LSI seems to work. Aaron Shepard has addressed this at great length and has posted what he refers to as "Plan B" on his self-publishing website. Mr. Shepard addresses questions generated by his Plan B proposal with a second informative post.

Given what can seem like a complex decision in selecting a POD provider, a side-by-side comparison is helpful. I have published a short and inexpensive Kindle book that does just that, Selecting a Print-on-Demand Company: Comparing CreateSpace and Lightning Source for Print-on-Demand Self-Publishing, available for just .99. Also available as a paperback is Self-Publishing With Amazon's CreateSpace.