Publishing a Book? CreateSpace vs. Lightning Source

Years ago I published my first book, Parallel Mind, The Art of Creativity through Lightning Source, then the premier POD (print on demand) printer for books. All the big publishers used Lightning Source. I encouraged my consulting clients to use Lightning Source as recently as 3 years ago.

Then I found CreateSpace. I haven’t looked back: last year, I celebrated my 7th year of book design when I published my 11th book, The Avatars of Eden. All of my books are now printed by CreateSpace and available on Amazon: Aliyah Marr.

avatars-unfurled-sm

Here is the record of a chat I just held with LightningSource.

–begin chat–

Aliyah Marr
I published 3 books through you, but I have republished all those books (some of them several times) through CreateSpace. Now I have 11 books on Amazon, the print versions throughCreateSpace.

First understand that I am a professional graphic designer who is a published author. I design all my books and design my client’s books. In fact, I sent some of my clients to you and they have become book publishers in their own right. Now, however, most of them are on CreateSpace.

May I state why I decided to switch my business to CreateSpace?

Becky
You may.

Aliyah Marr

1. CreateSpace doesn’t charge any setup fees.
This is important when you find that you have a small or large error in your book and you have to correct it.

2. CreateSpace has an astounding user interface.
This allows a professional such as myself a seamless way to upload my files.

3. CreateSpace is Amazon.
Enough said.

4. CreateSpace has distribution world-wide.
They have deals with printers in various countries.

5. CreateSpace connects the reviews of my ebooks (Kindle) with the printed versions on their site.

6. And most important: CreateSpace has better print quality.
I once tried to talk to the tech department at LS about the lack of print consistency from page to page. They were able to tell me that this is due to different toners on the heads, but they were not able to correct the problem.

Another time I tried to talk to a printing professional at LS about how to up the quality in the books from my end. They had no idea what the various printing terms meant. They are not printing professionals, they can only run the book making machines, IMHO.

7. CreateSpace has great turn around too.

8. Lastly, I was never able to really talk to anyone down at LightningSource.
It seemed that my account manager was never in the office, and never returned my calls. Have any of these items changed? I mean, I haven’t really dealt with LS for years.

Becky
We do have support available 7 days a week.

Aliyah Marr
Have any of the other items on my list changed?

Becky
CreateSpace and LSI are very different platforms for differing types of publishers who have different needs.CreateSpace does use Ingram Distribution and printing. They are a customer of ours. Some publishers feel that the services that come along withCreateSpace better suit their needs as self-publishers.

Aliyah Marr
Yes, I know that CreateSpace is a customer of yours. I assume that I cannot control the quality of a book outside the US, but those that I see from CreateSpace are excellent in quality inside and out. Whereas the ones from LS were not consistent at all.

Becky
I’m sorry, but chat serves as a way for publishers to ask quick questions concerning their LSI accounts. If you are interested in discussing CreateSpaces’s services compared to our own, you are welcome to give us a call for a more thorough and satisfying exchange. Do you have any questions concerning your account?

Aliyah Marr
Will you please submit my list of observations to whomever may care to receive feedback?

Becky
Yes. I will.

—end of chat—

I assume that my feedback won’t have any effect. But I hope that this helps others who want to publish their books.

via The New and Improved Ingram’s Lightning Source

The Path to Buying a Book

One of the things I learned from interface design is that a good designer / marketer has to know the common path that the user takes when first encountering the product.

Sites like Amazon make it easier for a user to peruse a book in the same way that he might in a bookstore. So the gap is narrowing in the user experience online and in the brick and mortar store.

The path to buying a book in a bookstore looks like this:

  1. See cover
  2. Read title.
  3. Read synopsis / back cover / inside flap.
  4. Read inside at random.
  5. Check out price/shipping.
  6. Buy (or put down) book.

Perhaps you don’t buy books this way—in fact, many people won’t get past step 1—but the process is probably not any longer than the above 6 steps. You might want to do your own market research: play spy and hang out in your local bookstore in the section of your genre. See what books the readers pick up. Are they picking up books that look like the ones you would pick up? Do you think they are attracted to the title, to the cover, to the author, or all three?

The path to buying a book online differs in only two areas (see #5, #6):

  1. See cover
  2. Read title.
  3. Read synopsis / back cover / inside flap.
  4. Read inside at random.
  5. Compare to other books.
  6. Read online reviews.
  7. Check out price/shipping.
  8. Buy book or leave page.

You might argue that some people might do similar comparative shopping in a bookstore, however, the one thing that publishers and authors should be aware of is that the reader has access to more books and information on those books than ever before. In inverse proportion, the reader has an ever shorter attention span, thanks to the internet (I think it is down to 2 seconds for a website page). It is ever more important that we design great book covers, brainstorm the best titles, design a great website, and write the best copy for our books than ever before.

Copyright Aliyah Marr


Aliyah Marr is the author of Squawk! Social Media for the Solitary Bird
and Parallel Mind, The Art of Creativity: The (missing) manual for your right brain