Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lulu vs. CreateSpace, or There's always a 'but'

At this point, I'm willing to sumarize my impressions of and CreateSpace, as I understand it.

Lulu has the lowest costs if you don't want to get your book onto Amazon. If you want to get on Amazon, you have to buy a distribution package for $100. On the other hand, CreateSpace will get you on Amazon, theoretically for nothing. The wrinkle is that you have to order a "proof copy" which will cost you a minimum of $15.00. You can't get a e-book version from CreateSpace (I'm guessing to avoid competing with Kindle); An e-book version is built into the Lulu package.

Lulu has the more automated process but generally speaking lets you do more things...with the chance that you'll do something stupid; the Createspace process has more manual intervention (which protects you from mistakes) but, interestingly enough, is more limiting.

For instance, Lulu's automated process insisted that I couldn't have a title that consisted of nothing but capital letters (which is why the book's title morphed from "RTFM*" to "rtfm*"). Other than that, Lulu let me do whatever I wanted. On the other hand, at CreateSpace, my book was reviewed by a real-life person who (among other things) noticed that I had one ISBN number inside my book and a different one on the cover. But CreateSpace insisted that I leave a .5" border around my cover (meaning that I couldn't carry the cover image right to the edge of the cover); Lulu noted that my cover didn't have the margin but let me go ahead with it.

So, there's always a "but." If the e-book isn't critical to you and if you have some money, I'd suggest going with CreateSpace: it's just easier to get on and it will cost you less than $50 (assuming you only need to order one or two proof copies). If you're tight for money and the e-book is important to you, go with

Or, do as I do, and publish with both companies. If you want to get that route then make sure that you get the ISBN on your own. If you get an ISBN through Lulu or CreateSpace then you can't take your ISBN with you to another publisher.

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