Self-Publishing Company Comparison: Amazon CreateSpace, Lulu or Lightning Source?

This post originally appeared on Blogthority on 11/15/10.

This article will compare the book costs and overall costs (including distribution) for three of the biggest self-publishing companies – Amazon CreateSpace, Lulu and Lightning Source.

Ok, so you wrote a great book and were rejected by every publishing company in North America.  Or maybe you would rather self-publish your book and do your own promotion and maintain more control over the book.

The question now becomes:

Which self-publishing company do I use?

Lulu and Amazon CreateSpace are probably the best known self-publishing companies, but there are many to choose from.  Lightning Source is another option, but it is not a publisher – in fact it is a printer and you have to set up a publishing company (easy) in order to get an account there.

Most of the self-publishing companies you will encounter (such as Lulu) use Lightning Source as the printer for your book.  Needless to say, having an intermediary company involved will cost you money, but it should also be a bit easier to get your book into print.

How self-published compensation is calculated

In order to analyze the self-publishing options properly, we need to understand the costs involved with self-publishing – printing and distribution.  Note that the distribution costs are only applied to books sold through a distributor such as  If you buy the books directly from your publisher and sell them yourself – then you are the distributor.

To calculate the book profit, you simply subtract the printing cost and the distribution cost from the retail price (set by the author).

Example:  An author has a book with a retail price of $10, the distribution fee is set to 40% and the printing costs are $3.50.

The profit  = Retail price – distribution fee – printing cost = $10 – $4 (40% of $10) – $3.50 = $2.50 per book.

Using a Third party publisher


Read the rest of the post on Blogthority.

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