Inspired by a guest post on Kindlepreneur, I invited two authors on today’s podcast to discuss creating hardcover versions of their books to sell on Amazon. The two platforms for doing so we’re looking at are Lulu and IngramSpark. Both have pros and cons we’ll discuss on the show, but depending on your niche, you may find one works better for you than the other.
John Pinedo, who uses CreateSpace for his nonfiction books, prefers to use Lulu to create hardcover versions to sell on Amazon. When using CreateSpace, the trim size is already 6”x9”, which is what Lulu already uses for their trim size. John also likes that Lulu is easily connected to Amazon, and the costs are pretty low when compared to other services. Lulu also gives you an ISBN.
Although John says it’s a low cost, there are certain situations where that cost does go up. Books that contain a lot of images, for example, require a higher manufacturing cost. The number of pages may also increase the fees, as well as how intricate the cover design is.
For both John and myself, the process itself, as well as the Lulu website layout, seems easier to understand. While it does seem simpler, there aren’t as many options available that are on IngramSpark.
Eevi Jones, on the other hand, finds IngramSpark works better for her and her clients, who are children’s authors. IngramSpark offers more trim size choices. Lulu’s trim size, though it works well for authors using CreateSpace for their book, may not work as well for a children’s author who may want a square 8.5”x8.5” or landscape format for their books.
There is also lower printing costs with IngramSpark for full-color books. Though the prices are similar for black and white books, Lulu can actually be more expensive for those looking to have books created in full-color. There are a few setup fees to be aware of with IngramSpark, while Lulu has none. There are also revision fees of $25. However, because of IngramSpark’s direct connection to Ingram, which is one of the largest distribution networks, authors may get more compensation to make up for these setup costs.
The cons of IngramSpark, however, include the steep learning curve and the lack of customer service. As mentioned before, Lulu is a bit more streamlined when it comes to their website layout and getting set up. IngramSpark does have more options and, therefore, may not seem as user-friendly. Unfortunately, with the steep learning curve, this leads to the next drawback, which is their customer service leaves much to be desired and can be quite frustrating to deal with at times.
One more thing to note about using IngramSpark is that it takes a couple of weeks to show up in Amazon.
If you're planning to launch your paper back and your hardcover at the same time, then you will want to make sure to set this up a couple of weeks in advance. – Eevi Jones
The best way to gauge which one might be best for you is to determine what features you’re looking for more with your books. If you are looking for something simple for non-fiction, Lulu may be a good option. However, if you’re creating a book that may require a more intricate cover and full-color on the inside, IngramSpark may be the better option.
Bio of the Authors in the Case Study:
John Pinedo is an online marketer and self-publisher who helps online entrepreneurs grow their business.
He talked about online marketing, self-publishing, and his online ventures on his blog, Freedom Bound Business.
Eevi Jones is the author of more than a dozen children’s books.
She is also the founder of EEscribe, a writing and marketing resource for aspiring children’s book authors.