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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Comparing Create Space with Lightning Source.

Fellow Wayland Alum and chess master, Terry Austin, sent me what it would take to publish on Lightning Source. Thought I'd do a comparison.

Lightning Source (Underlining mine)
Professional Cover Design - $150-175
ISBN - $25 if you buy 10 at a time or I think $100 if you want just one.
             Not a bad price if you're publishing ten books. Initial out of pocket would be $250.00.
Print Set up - $37.50 for cover and $37.50 for interior
Printed Proof (if you want to see one) - $30.00
The cost of each book is calculated according to size:
·        $0.15 per page
·        $0.90 for cover
A 200 page book will cost you $3.90 plus good discounts if you buy quantities.
Lightning Source lists the book on Amazon and other sellers and take care of all order fulfillment for them. They send you a check every few months for those sales.
Create Space:
Professional cover design starts at $250
ISBN - three choices:
  • free, but Amazon has publisher rights and marketing rights
  • $10.00, author has publishing rights, Amazon has marketing rights
  • $99 author has all rights.
 Print Set up: Free for cover and interior
Printed proof, I've now purchased two at $3.00 + $3.59 S&H = $6.59 each.
Cost of Fan Plan: 180 pages minimum purchase price is $5.03 so I set the selling price at $5.99.
Lightning Source                                                           Create Space
$25.00 ISBN                                                                  Better choice for ISBN
$70.00 print set up.                                                        Print set up free
$30.00 for printed proof                                                 $6.00+ per book
Initial set up $125.00                                                      Initial set up price of printed proof
Long term $4.00/book beats $6.00/book. It would take purchasing 60 books to recover the initial set up costs of Lightning Source. I'm not sure I'll buy that many books. I'm thinking of around 20 or 30 to have an inventory for book sales. There's less temptation to give the books away if inventory is low.
Lightning Source does have wider marketing with more outlets than just Amazon, and Kindle. The $99.000 ISBN lets you expand marketing. Amazon does offer wider marketing, but at additional cost.
The real decider is shipping and handling costs. If Lighting Source has a better purchase discount for authors and equal or lesser S&H then it might be the better choice. Right now Create Space looks like the better choice.

Here's a reply from my friend:

I saw your blog post last night and had a couple of thoughts if you are going to compare Lightning Source and Create Space. Since you currently design your own covers, you will not have the $150-175 cost of cover design. Lightning Source does not design anything, that is simply what I pay for a professional designer. If you are simply interested in selling enough books to get your money back, here is the scenario with Lightning Source.
·        Pay approx. $100 for setup ($37.50 for cover, $37.50 for interior, $12 for catalog listing)
·        Purchase an ISBN $55.00 (Bowker has a plan for independent publishers)
·        Pay $4 per book (you really don’t want to use a font smaller than 11 pt if you want people to read the book).
·        Set the retail price at $15 (or $14.99 if you wish) so you will make at least $10 per book sold.
·        You have approx. $150 invested
·        Sell 15 books and you have your money back.
It’s a pretty scaled down model but it does allow you to get your money back quickly. Also, there is nothing to keep you from selling more books. Unlike Publish America or Create Space, you own the book totally, Lightning Source is simply a printer, you have complete control.
Thanks Terry for sharing.

What intrigues me now is that using LS over CS I'm free to e-publish at any price I want. With CS I can put it on KDP which goes out for free to those on Amazon Prime, but it can't be published anywhere else. The e-book and paper book have to be priced the same, I do get a bigger royalty off the e-book. But why pay the same for an e-book? Most of the cost in a paper book is in the materials. E-books are electrons.

Conclusion: I'm already committed to CS for Fan Plan. I like the ISBN options better here. I may revise Human Sacrifices and Vander's Magic Carpet and have LS print them. Something to think about anyway.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Modern publishing sure requires lots of decisions.

P M Prescott said...

Isn't it great. I spent two years looking for an agent and publisher for Optimus and hit a brick wall. Print on Demand broke the ice and now the sky is the limit.

Unknown said...

P M: I had no idea about any of this. But then I'm a little behind the curve. The ideal, of course, is to have all the rights, as I feel this is only fair since you created the book. A fascinating look into the world of publishing!

P M Prescott said...

It is, Michael. I'm sure publishing in magazines is much different. Book publishing is much easier now that ten years ago and much more artistically free.