If you are indie publishing, print-on-demand is probably the best option for you to start out. You may switch to offset printing once your sales pick up. With print-on-demand you have companies that are connected to distributors or the option of printing with you handling the distribution. Let’s look at some popular companies.
If you’ve been researching POD (print-on-demand) services, you’ve surely heard of CreateSpace. Sadly, CreateSpace went out of business in 2018. They merged with KDP.
KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)
KDP is Amazon’s newer printing service that is for both e-books and paperbacks. They are free to join, free to publish with, automatically connected to Amazon, and you have the option of connecting to expanded distribution which makes your books available to bookstores both in store and online. One thing different about KDP versus CreateSpace is you do not have the option to print books without distribution (example, family photos or personal stories). All books printed with them are automatically on Amazon.
IngramSpark is the POD service of the popular book distribution company, Ingram. This is probably the best service to be connected with for distribution to bookstores. You can publish paperbacks, hardcovers, and e-books with them. They do have more fees than other POD companies.
Barnes and Noble Press
This is Barnes and Noble’s POD company quite comparable to Amazon’s POD company, KDP, and former company, CreateSpace. They are free to join and publish with. The catch is they only distribute on B&N’s website. They are not connected to Amazon or other bookstores. You also have the option of printing books just for you and doing the distribution yourself.
Lulu is one of the early POD companies that’s still around. They offer paperbacks, hard covers, e-books, photo books, and calendars. They are free to join and free to publish, but they are on the expensive side when it comes to author copies. The cost to the author is nearly what retail value is. That leaves little room for profit.
The Book Patch
It’s free to join, but be aware that the printing costs are quite high.
Blurb is a bit pricier than the above mentioned options, but seems to be popular.
This one seems to be popular, but oh my is it expensive. You also have to order at least 25 books with every order.
Draft 2 Digital is currently in beta phase for print books.
There are a lot of websites out there that mention they are print-on-demand. Be wary of any site charging $$$+ for their packages or membership. Reputable printing companies will not have high membership fees. Many of the popular companies are free to join. Assess their website and how professional it is. If they list any books they print, order copies of a few different books to assess quality.
Another option is to find local printing companies that will print your books. This requires you to distribute copies on your own and connect to distributors.
Compare the following when you are researching POD companies.
Which companies would I recommend you consider?
For more information about writing, indie publishing, and marketing, read my book Lessons on the Author Life. Click on the title to learn more.