When it comes to printing your book, you have two options:
- Traditional Printing
- Print on demand (POD)
My recommendation is print on demand, for the following reasons:
- No upfront costs, just provide your print-ready files and go.
- There is little difference between a print on demand book and a traditionally printed book. CreateSpace do add their own barcode and ‘printed by’ message on the reverse side of the back page – but it is not obvious to the untrained eye. Black and white books look the same as traditional print, though full colour are slightly better quality via traditional print.
- No difference in distribution options.
- You can order copies at print cost for your own distribution purposes – reviews, gifts and if you’re in the UK sending a free copy to the British Library compulsorily, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities should they request one (seriously!).
The unit cost of your book will be higher with print on demand, but traditional printers typically require significant minimum order numbers. And do you really want to save a few pennies at the cost of having to store and ship your books yourself? I don’t consider it worthwhile.
The Writington Recommendation
So, the easiest option for a novice self-publisher is Amazon’s CreateSpace. It may remain the best option for the experienced author as well, but I recommend an additional route. Register and set up your book with Ingram Spark at the same time. They require the same information as Amazon to get print on demand set up and their costs are broadly similar, but Ingram have one key advantage. They will list your book in catalogues for real book shops to order as necessary, this will also mean that the book stores list your book on their websites as available for order – and that to me makes your book a real, published book.
The next section details how to go about ISBN numbers and print-ready barcodes.
We have an opinion based on experience but ‘your mileage may vary’, as they say. Let us know how you get on – leave a comment or head for Facebook and Twitter if you prefer, as well as our other social media networks from the links in the menu above. Check back on the self-publishing section to get more insights!