My book/portfolio on Blurb.
The Print on Demand 101 PDF file contains 24 pages of detailed instructions accompanied by images and related links which will guide you through the world of Print on Demand self publishing, book design and online marketing.
This article is the result of 8 years of experience in designing and self publishing books.
In this article: Starting with an idea, designing the book, Adobe InDesign, Which Print on Demand should I choose?, Standard books POD, Lulu & CreateSpace, Publishing a Photo book, Publishing on Amazon,
Thank you for your support!
Now that I’m holding in my hands a book that was printed with Blurb I have to say I’m undeniably impressed!
The book I put together using BookSmart which is Blurb’s bookmaking software, is titled
Chasing George Washington – Road trip in Virginia & Pennsylvania
I created the book for personal purpose and also to test blurb and so I’m not planning on selling it.
Working in BookSmart was quite fun and simple and maybe the main advantage of this software is that it leaves lots of room for creativity. It lets you layer backgrounds, images and text, much like inDesign.
Once the book is ready it can be uploaded to Blurb from within BookSmart. After I ordered a copy I waited 4 days until the book was printed and ground shipping took another week or so.
The price of the book was quite reasonable; a Standard Landscape 10×8 inches premium printing Hardcover ImageWrap 80 pages is priced at $43.95.
The book is printed on a premium paper and the print quality is excellent! As I mentioned, I’m very much impressed with the whole process and mainly with the high quality of the actual printed book.
And finally as a bonus I discovered BookSmart makes it possible to create a pdf file from the file/print menu (printing as a pdf using a pdf writer such as CutePdf) and though the pdf file has the blurb watermark on it, it is certainly a plus.
If I had to choose between Blurb and Lulu then my choice will depend on my objective.
I would definitely choose Lulu (and/or CreateSpace) for publishing a standard book but for a coffee table/portfolio type of book I will absolutely go with Blurb;
1) Blurb’s BookSmart software permits more room for creative design and layout which is rather limited with Lulu Studio.
2) Another bonus point Blurb gets over Lulu Photo Book is the price: the same book mentioned above will be prices at $54.99 with Lulu (instead of $43.95 with Blurb) even though it will actually have somewhat a smaller size (9X7 at Lulu’s instead of 10X8 with Blurb)
3) The ability to create a pdf file with BookSmart is a nice feature.
Publishing a book with Lulu Studio
What Print on Demand should you choose?
Print on Demand photo books / part one
Print on Demand books / part two
The process of writing a book – part one
The process of writing a book – part two
When it comes to Print on Demand one of the first questions the future-bestseller must answer is; which Print on Demand service is the right one for them?
In the last few years the number of POD services grew a lot which is great as it created a larger spectrum of choices but it is also confusing because it created a larger spectrum of choices.
So basically your first task is to scan through these services, see what they offer, read reviews, and choose the right one for you. Essentially conduct your own little research.
It is very much recommended that you choose your publisher before even beginning laying out your book because you want to make sure you are designing your book according to their requirements.
Some of the POD services, like Booksurge , Xlibris and others, require that you to purchase some kind of a publishing package from them, basic package starts at $799 at Booksurge, I’m not really sure what’s the point of it, but whatever, I’m sure it somehow works for someone.
Other POD services, like Blurb and mypublisher require that you design your book using their desktop application which I find to be quite limiting since all your design work is confined within a file that can only be used with their publishing services.
Not such a good idea.
This leaves us pretty much with Lulu and CreateSpace.
Both services let you create your own PDF, DOC, RTF etc, and then upload your content to their server. Both don’t charge you anything upfront and they print your books once they are purchased. You keep your share of the loot and everybody is happy.
There are two main differences between these two:
1) Lulu offers to sell your book as a download which makes your book available for just about everyone because the price of a download can be kept low. For example, my own bestseller,
No Rules Streets Photography is sold as a download 4 times more than its print version. CreateSpace doesn’t offer a download version.
2) When you publish your book with CreateSpace your book is automatically assigned an ISBN number and is published on Amazon and as a part of the service it also includes the “Look inside” the book feature. Lulu offers an ISBN number and the Amazon promotion only if you purchase their Distribution package which costs around a $100, takes forever to establish and you need to do some work, like adding the “look inside” feature on your own (which btw, a pain in the neck!)
OK, so the Grand question now is which one should you choose?
And the answer is….both!
Yes, actually, why not? Since both of them accept a PDF file, with just a little bit of adjustment your file will work just fine with both of them.
This way you get the benefit of offering your book in a download edition while also enjoying the exposure (and sales) through Amazon without any further expense or effort on your part.
And this should never be an under-rated quality.
When talking about publishing a book one needs to make a distinction between putting together a photo book and writing a photography book.
There are lots of print on demand sites out there; Blurb, MyPublisher, Picaboo, sharedInk, and others. For the right price, they will put together a photo book for you.
And the price is somewhere around $25-$40 for 20 pages. These books mostly resemble a photo album or a portfolio and are probably the best choice for any photographer who wants to put together a portfolio of their work.
Seems to me the high price tag on these books will make it quite difficult to sell them, and so they are probably more appropriate for personal purpose.
But if you are interested in writing and publishing a book about photography or maybe have a selection of your photos printed into a store quality book you should consider other options, such as soft cover books of standard sizes which are offered by most of the POD publishers. And since their prices are competitive you should definitely consider printing your book with Lulu.com
Some book-on-demand publishers, such as Xlibris and iUniverse require you to purchase a certain amount of books when you publish with them and with a steep price attached.
The only POD service I found that is somewhat similar to Lulu was CafePress, but their printing quality is poor and not suitable for photo books .
Next time: writing the book, publishing choices, prices, quality and turn around.
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