Why is Cool Gus Publishing switching from Lightning Source to CreateSpace?
Posted by Jen Talty
In my last post I mentioned that Bob and I decided to switch our POD (Print on Demand) needs from Lightning Source to CreateSpace. Many readers here at Write It Forward requested an explanation on why?
Warning: This blog post gave Bob a killer headache…
First, lets compare the finances:
- $75.00 Upload fee for Cover/Interior
- $12.00 US Distribution (a year)
- $12.00 UK Distribution (a year)
- $30.00 Proof
- Change your files it will cost $40.00 per Interior and $40.00 per Cover
- $1.50 Shipping and Handling charge per order
- must provide own ISBN
****No services provided on cover, editing, or anything else that goes into the making of a book
- FREE self-service (there are services you can pay for, but the basic upload is free)
- $25.00 Expanded Distribution (one time fee)
- A proof is the cost of printing plus shipping.
- Can use CreateSpace ISBN for free
****There are many services that CreateSpace offers from building your book, editing and cover design that are all at the author’s expense, but they are not required at all
The distribution is not getting your book in actual stores, but making them available so if someone wanted to order it from Barnes and Noble they could.
Another thing to consider is that Amazon’s free service gets you on Amazon and Amazon UK for free. The Expanded makes your book available other places. The only negative about the Expanded is because of wholesaling you might need to price your book a little higher to make a profit.
So, on the outside, it appears that because of costs that is why we are switching. But it’s not.
Now let’s take a look at some other differences between LSI and CreateSpace:
First, LSI (Lightning Source) and CreateSpace are really two different types of services. Lightning Source is geared more toward the small publisher and has two primary purposes. The first being the Print on Demand technology to create a book and distribution (of information) into the Ingram system.
When we first started with LSI they wanted only those who were gong to have a certain number of books a year, otherwise they suggested other self-service sites such as Author Solutions or LuLu. I just searched the website and I can’t find that statement anymore, but they are still geared toward the small publisher, not the self-published author.
CreateSpace is a self-publishing service.
The second part of LSI is an ebook fulfillment service that allows publishers to push their ebooks into bookstores that Lightning Source is partnered with. This system works much like the print book. The publisher provides the eBook, metadata, cover, etc. and then Lightning Source pushes the information to the proper channels who then loads the information on their sites and makes your eBook available for sale. Since we have not used this service for a while now, I don’t have a complete listing, but I do know it pushes to Kobo, Disesel, All Romance and for a fee it can push the information to the iBookstore.
We stopped using this service with LSI because of pricing issues (same reason we stopped using Smashwords). When you make a change it takes weeks for it to show up. We removed our eBooks from LSI nearly a year ago and I’m still seeing them available on sites that I’ve loaded myself, causing confusion. The information is coming from Ingram and its old and incorrect information. I’ve requested, yet again, for the information to be removed from the system. This is in part a problem with LSI and with the Ingram system. Too many fingers in the pot.
The eBook issue was not why we stopped using LSI, but it was just one of many things that made us rethink our business plan.
CreateSpace does not provide any digital services or distribution. They simply send you over to KDP (Kindle Digital Publishing).
So far, I have not given you the real reason we switched. Well, here we go…
Business is made up of people and people like connections, even us introverts. We talked a few months ago about switching and decided that we were fine right where we were. Then we talked about just putting new books at CreateSpace and I started doing some research. Then we went to BEA and I meet three lovely women who work for CreateSpace.
I spoke with one, asking questions. What impressed me was the moment I asked a question she didn’t know the answer to, she went and found someone else. Who then introduced me to someone else. While Bob chatted it up with a few gentleman at KDP, I talked with the people at CreateSpace.
When I got home, I began the process of really comparing the services and writing out the pros and cons. The people at CreateSpace connected with two team members, Karen and John, and we began discussing what books we’d bring over and how we’d go about doing it. Karen even went as far as to explain the positives of us staying at LSI. She pointed out a few negatives I hadn’t thought about, like having to pull from Ingram, then push the titles back through CreateSpace could cause the books to disappear for a short time. However, since we’ve been making some adjustments to covers and interior and the way CreateSpace is willing to work with us, having a short lull will be okay.
Cost did come into play when we changed covers for the Atlantis Series and some other books like Chasing the Ghost. These would cost up to $80.00 per book to make the changes, but that really isn’t a large expense. The bigger issue then became ease and something that my father taught me a long time ago when it came to business:
Customer Relationships and Service.
The bottom line for us came down to customer service AND ease of the system. LSI is a bit clunky and if you don’t know what you are doing with formatting a book, cover, etc., you are bound to make a mistake. I made a few the first time around. CreateSpace gives you templates (for free) for both interior and exterior so your book looks professional. They also have a cover tool. I have not used it since I’m an InDesign junky, but I’ve played with it and for the novice user, its pretty good, but my big caveat is most of us are not cover artists and always best to hire a professional.
Between talking with my team to wargame the best course of action, the ease of their on-line system was the deal closer. They have this 360 digital proof that shows you the cover and how it wraps around the book, well that right there sold me. Their entire system is very easy to use and while I just created more work for myself as we are going to transfer ALL of our books, I highly recommend CreateSpace.
About Jen TaltyPublishing Consultant, Author of Romantic Suspense and Co-Creator of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer.
Posted on June 28, 2012, in Cool Gus Publishing, Publishing, Publishing Options and tagged Adobe InDesign, Amazon.com, Bob Mayer, Cool Gus Publishing, CreateSpace, E-book, IBooks, Lightning Source, Print on demand, Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.