January 16, 2006

The uncle and aunt factor – Part Deux

Everything, as I said yesterday, is relative :p I had investigated a few Print on Demand (PoD) publishers a week or two ago and had settled on Lulu as the best of the lot. My decision was based on the cost per book since I wanted to set a reasonable cover price for the book and not be priced out of the market even before I began putting my books up for sale. Of all the PoD companies that I looked at, Lulu appeared to be the only one who could produce my book at a reasonable cost so that I could set a cover price of around $10 and be still able to make some sort of profit. But that was before I looked closer at Lulu’s Global Distribution Service.

If you publish with Lulu the normal way, your books are simply listed on Lulu’s own website or you can get a bunch of copies printed out and then take them around to booksellers yourself. However, your book will not be listed with any online booksellers or with the major book wholesalers and that’s where I expect most sales (if any would come in). After all, most of the people visiting Lulu are trying to sell their own books – would they actually want to buy more books?

In order to list your books with an online bookseller or the wholesalers, you need an ISBN number. You can get an ISBN from Lulu for $45 but it doesn’t get you much beyond that. If you go with Lulu’s Global Distribution Service for $150, then you get listed with the major wholesalers and with the major online bookstores as well as having Lulu act as your book distributor. I was all set to to with the Global Distribution Service before I read their FAQ and realized that if I used their Globabl Distribution Service (GDS), my cover price would have to change. According to Lulu, there are two prices when you go into their GDS channel – retail price and wholesale price. The wholesale price would be the one I originally had in mind for the book, the new retail price would be twice that! So suddenly, my book would jump from an affordable $10 to a rather high $20! Of course, according to Lulu, Amazon for instance would list the $20 retail price but also give a secondary discounted price which would be a few dollars lower but according to a friend, this doesn’t always happen and besides, even at $18 – $15 it would still be pretty expensive.

This was when I began looking around for other alternatives to Lulu and I did find one that I think is the best PoD publisher that I’ve discovered so far – they do charge an up-front fee unlike Lulu but their overall costs are reasonable and they do produce books for even less than Lulu’s production cost. Besides, they will place your books with Amazon (and other online booksellers) as well as with a lot more wholesalers than Lulu and they will act as your distributor but you would (or at least I would) still end up with a cover price around $10! So who is this mystery publisher? I will reveal all tomorrow in the third part in the It’s All Relative series after I’ve done some more investigation of this particular publisher to make certain that they are as good as they seem :p

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Tags: Internet, Self-publishing, Writing
Posted by Fahim at 7:17 am   Comments (2)