Self-Publishing Cost Comparison: Createspace, Lulu and Lightning Source


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Blogthority recently posted an interesting review of three self-publishing sites that I often talk about here–Createspace, Lightning Source and Lulu. It focused primarily on book costs and overall publishing costs, which are very important factors for authors to consider, so I thought I’d share it with you.

I should be clear upfront that Lulu.com, my alma mater, did not fare too well in this particular comparison. Although Lulu pretty much started this new industry of online self-publishing, you’ll find that Lighting Source and Createspace can be less expensive.

However, Lulu does offer some specific advantages for authors. For one, Lulu has a large product offering of books–not only paperback, but hardcover and coil bound as well (whereas Createspace only offers paperback books). In addition, Lulu has an international presence–it’s in six different languages and utilizes three different currencies, so it has a larger global footprint (Createspace is US only, although Lighting Source does extend into the UK).

But now that I’ve got that off my chest, I think you’ll find that the author of this article provides an accurate and well-balanced cost comparison of these sites. He also states that he uses Lightning source as his publishing platform, primarily for their book distribution advantages:

With Lightning Source you can set the distribution fee to 20% and still get listed on Amazon.  The minimum distribution fee at CreateSpace is 40%.   For a $10 book, CreateSpace will cost an extra $2 in distribution which you won’t make up with the printing costs.

However, the author also recommends Createspace due to their low costs, saying:

“It really depends on the author and their books, but in a lot of cases, CreateSpace can be a better option than Lightning Source.  One great feature of CS is that you can list a book for free, whereas it costs a bit over $100 to list a book with Lightning Source.

Another reason for going with CreateSpace is that their printing costs are the lowest.  For an author who distributes their own books, CreateSpace will probably be the best deal.

I definitely agree with this last statement, which is why I primarily use Createspace for my authors. Of course, there are other factors you should consider when choosing a self-publishing path, and many may be specific to your book, your budget, your situation, and even your personality. One article won’t answer all your questions, but it should get you thinking about the right topics to consider.

Have a question about your publishing options? Shoot me an email or call me at 919-247-1832 and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you. Let’s get your journey off on the right foot.

Until next time, keep publishing!

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