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Don’t be fooled by POD Services

 

POD Service companies are by no means publishers! Even if they call this themselves – many others don’t get it too. The expression “publisher” is unfortunately not protected. However, all of them cash in on your publishing success:
You have to pay for e-book formatting or printing, for cover & interior book design, for editing and for the ISBN number of your book – beware of this especially, as the one who ordered the ISBN number, is the publisher!  If your book sells, which you hope and what you work for with your marketing efforts, they get royalties. In the best case (for you) only 5-10% of the list price, in most cases way more.

You ask why? Well, they do some paperwork for you – which you could as well learn to do yourself. It is not a big deal to find an e-book format-er or a digital printer/binder, a cover designer and editor. This way you would hold total control about your book. Think about it.

This is a snippet from Mark Levin’s book “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing”. He is a lawyer and compiled data from POD Service companies. He also had a very close look at their “publishing” contracts. See also my blog: “Comparison of Vanity Presses” from December 29, 2011.

BookLocker: $517 (Deduct $200 if submitting your own cover)
Rated “
Outstanding” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
No hidden fees or upselling. Books are usually on the market within a month. No extra charge to include graphics, tables, footnotes, etc. 35% royalties based on list price for public sales; 15% royalties based on list price on wholesale/bookstore orders. Authors own all rights to their production files. Added Bonus: Returning authors are only charged $149 setup fees on their second and subsequent books.

CreateSpace: $1022.00 (Deduct $299 if submitting your own cover)
Rated “
Just OK” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Add $500 to price above if you want more than one color and image featured on your cover. Limit of 10 interior images; charges $15 per image and $25 per chart/table/graph thereafter. Does NOT publish hardcover books (all others here do). IMPORTANT: BookSurge was rolled into CreateSpace in November, 2009 but they kept employees, equipment, etc.

Lulu: $1131.00 (Deduct $450 if submitting your own cover)
Rated “
Pretty Good” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Lulu now charges directly for many services they previously farmed out to other companies. Lulu appears to be having customer service problems and authors are upset about their high shipping costs.

Trafford: $1324.00
Rated “
Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Warning: Has a variety of “extra” charges like $2 per page if your manuscript is submitted with incorrect headers/footers, page breaks, line and paragraph formatting, etc. Charges $5 extra per image. Expedite service available for the $2199 “Elite” package.

iUniverse: $999.00 (includes 5 “free” copies)
Rated “Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Warning: Has a variety of “extra” charges like $2.00 per page! if your manuscript is submitted with incorrect headers/footers, page breaks, line and paragraph formatting, more than 25 photos/graphics, more than 2 images on your cover, tables, etc. They own your files after creation and you have to pay $150-$750 to get them if you leave their service! No expedite service. Turnaround is 3-4 months.

AuthorHouse: $1517.00
Rated “
Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Charges extra for photos/graphics ($5 per image after first 10 – included in cost above). Expedite fee ($500) is for publication in 30 days instead of 6 months (included above). Claims ownership of files you pay them to create…meaning you can’t use the edited/formatted files if you want to move your book later.

Xlibris: $1972.00 – (includes 5 “free” copies)
Rated “
Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.
Charges expedite fee of $349 (included above) for publication in 2 months instead of 4-6 months. Charges $10 per image (included above); $20 per table. Limit of 1 cover image.

***Prices above based on least expensive package offered by each publisher on similar offers targeting U.S. authors. Fees include interior formatting (based on a 200-page book), original cover design with up to 5 images, print proof, ebook creation, up to 25 interior photos/graphics, an ISBN, barcode, a listing on the publisher’s website and distribution by Ingram, all within 6 weeks.

NOTE: Some companies claim ownership of files the author has paid them to create. Study each publisher and contract carefully before making your choice. See article: “Why POD Contracts Could Be Bad For Authors” from March 3, 2012

NOTE: All publishers offer distribution through Ingram (book distributor), as well as inclusion of their titles in the major online (amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, etc.) and physical bookstore systems – also POD books will be ordered by bookstores only if customers special-order them.

NOTE: AuthorHouse is owned by Author Solutions, a holding company that also owns Xlibris, iUniverse and Trafford. 

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Hyper Smash

 

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