Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Amazon questions, part 2

Last week, I asked questions about using's Booksurge/Create Space for my POD printing rather than only using Lightning Source. Here are those questions again:

1)How much will Amazon's new policy of requiring POD printers to use Booksurge cost?

2)How does that affect my book production budget?

3)What exactly am I getting for my money?

4)What are the marketing benefits of continuing to sell books through Amazon that I will lose if I decide not to use Amazon?

5)How much will those lost marketing benefits cost? How does that affect my book marketing budget?

6)What is the advantage of just using Lightning Source, and therefore Ingram?

After crunching the numbers, I can now answer questions 1 and 2.

1) How much will Amazon’s policy cost?

I contacted Amazon and asked customer service about Booksurge and how much their new policy will cost. The email from the representative directed me to Create Space. Booksurge is only for larger publishers. Create Space is geared toward self-publishers and they offer many services, such as editing and design. Since I don’t need any of that, I went directly to their print pricing list.

Create Space charges .85 per book plus .13 cents per page for a book with more than 108 pages. Laura’s book is 209 pages.

209 x .013 = 2.71 + .85 = $3.56

There is no set-up fee, unless I go with their “Pro-plan” which is $50.00 more. The pro-plan allows me to keep more of the royalties on each sale and the cost per book is cheaper.

Lightning Source, who I am currently using for my POD printer, charges $.90 per book plus .13 cents per page.

209 x .013 = 2.71 + .90 = $3.61 Lightning also charges a 1.50 handling fee on fulfillment orders (orders from stores directly through Ingram).

There was no mention of handling fees or shipping costs on the Create Space site.

Lightning charges a $50.00 set up fee, the same price as the Create Space Pro-plan.

Because I don’t know how much shipping and fulfillment are through Create Space, I don’t have all the information needed to determine the exact cost. However, based on the fact that Lightning and Create Space are almost identically priced, I can make a pretty good guess that they will be similarly priced in shipping and fulfillment as well. However, because books printed by Create Space will be sold directly through Amazon, those “handling costs” may be lower. To know for certain, I need more information about how books sold via Amazon will be handled.

2) How does that affect my overall budget?

Basically, I will need to use TWO printers to get my books in Amazon and the Ingram and Baker and Taylor catalogues. That means two set up fees of $50.00. After that, it’s a per book charge. Both printers are similarly priced, so I don’t see too many extra costs. Since I do my own design and editing, I don’t need the other services Create Space offers. I think my book production budget will only go up by $50.00.

Again, I don't have all the information I need, and a fellow publisher mentioned that Create Space is NOT the right Amazon POD service for me. There still seems to be some confusion about who will use BookSurge and who Create Space. Also, I don't know how the Associates Program fits into all this. For the time being, Amazon is still ordering Laura's book from Ingram, so now isn't the time to make changes.

Next, I'll try to answer question 3; What exactly am I getting for my money (besides POD)?


Mother of Chaos said...


J.L. Powers said...

Ugh, math, yes...but thanks for this helpful post!