Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Print-on-Demand for Self-Publishers: Is CreateSpace the Only Viable Option Now Available?

Lightning Source Inc, LSI, was the first print-on-demand printer that allowed self-published authors access to book distribution and Amazon. Before the advent of ebooks (Kindle and Nook) it was the way to go for authors who wanted to self-publish.

One of the founding fathers of today's self-publishing industry, Aaron Shepard, wrote two books that were essential reading if you planned to make a go self-publishing as a business, Aiming at Amazon and POD for Profit. Morris Rosenthal, another of the self-publishing industries early leaders in using POD to self-publish wrote another essential book explaining the business model of using POD, Print-on-Demand Book Publishing.

CreateSpace, CS, appeared on the scene and after some bumps upon starting, soon became a viable alternative to LSI. I have written about choosing between the two companies on numerous times on this blog. The decision to use CS for all of my books since my first efforts centered around the ease of simply creating an account with CS, ease of just about anything with CS versus LSI, and my last blog post on the subject took one final look at the two companies.

For many, myself included, the quandary over which company to choose was ease of use versus the ability set the discount offered to retailers. For me ease of use won out every time, meaning I published with CS instead of LSI.

That may all be a moot point now. Ingram, who owns LSI, has started a new division called IngramSpark and is now insisting authors who wish to self-publish must deal with IngramSpark, who will control the discounts set and is, from what I understand, not overly user-friendly in setting up a new title.

The biggest supporter of LSI for self-publishing, Aaron Shepard, now directs new authors to CreateSpace, due in large part to the behavior of IngramSpark.

This combined with changes in Amazon's stocking of some LSI titles, which led to the now defunct Plan B approach,  largely limits the choice of a viable POD service for authors who desire to self-publish to just CreateSpace.

In the grand scheme of things, perhaps authors should still be thankful there is access to Amazon and other retailers using a POD business model via CreateSpace.