What’s the best print-on-demand platform for your book?.

Looking for the best print-on-demand platform for your book? Search no further—Tell Tell has got you covered!

Which best print-on-demand platform is right for you?

That’s the question. The answer really depends. Let’s dig in:

What is a publishing platform?

When you self-publish, you have a few options: you can publish through a local printer and binder, or you can go through what’s called a Print-on-Demand (PoD) platform. Like the name suggests, these PoD platforms will print your book only when people order it, so it’s a fabulous option for people who don’t want to carry a huge stock of books. But to move forward with PoD platforms, there are some things you’ll want to consider.

Terms to Know

Print On Demand  – This is the style of distribution that most self-publishing platforms work from. A PoD platform allows you to upload your work, release it live, and it will print and ship the book only when people order it.

Global Distribution or Expanded Distribution – This is a distribution option that many PoD platforms have, and it allows your book to be distributed globally through third-party platforms. If you release your book on Lulu, for example, but select Global Distribution, the book will also be available on Amazon, B&N online, and other third-party platforms.

Reminder: If you release your book on two platforms such as Ingram and Lulu or KDP and Ingram, Ingram’s distribution options will be honored first, so you cannot select Expanded Distribution on KDP or Lulu.

Trim Size  – This is the margin size of the book. Most poetry collections are 6″x9″

Write down your goals

What’s most important to you and your book? Do you want to make the most amount of money per sale? Print with the highest quality paper? Get into bookstores? Do you just want to sell to friends and family and work with a platform that’s not Amazon? Do you want to try to reach as many third-party distributors as you can? Whew. Okay. Now that you have your goal, we can walk through the options.

Best Option If You Want to Get Into Bookstores

Because IngramSpark allows you to distribute to a freakton* of places, it makes it super easy for bookstore owners to search for, purchase, and return your book if necessary, and it’s easy to use.

Cover Options Ingram Offers:

Paperback

Hardcover (with or without dust jacket)

Texture Options

Matte cover

Gloss cover

Digital Cloth Cover

Things to note:

  1. Ingram charges a distribution fee (blegh) of $69
  2. They charge to upload adjustments after you’ve approved the file
  3. Their interface is a bit confusing
  4. Their customer support is lacking
  5. Ingram’s textured hardcovers do not allow you to print on the actual cloth

What you need to know:

  1. IngramSpark is not a publisher, they are a distribution platform
  2. You will be required to offer a wholesale discount. Most bookstore owners expect a 55% percent discount, which means that you won’t make a ton of money per sale
  3. You are required to either accept the book back or have it destroyed if it’s returned. This means that if a bookstore owner orders 20 copies and sends 19 of them back, you will be required to pay back that fee. There is no time limit on when a book can be returned.
  • Real number

Best Option If You Want to Get on Amazon Primarily

KDP is Amazon’s self-publishing platform, and while the other platforms also distribute your book on Amazon, if you want to use Amazon as your primary selling point, KDP might be your best bet.

Cover Options KDP Offers:

Paperback

Hardcover (case laminate only)

Texture Options

Matte cover

Gloss cover

Things to note:

  1. Not all trim sizes are available for Global Distribution

What you need to know:

  1. XX
  • Real number

Best Option if You Don’t Want to Use KDP but Don’t Care Much About Bookstores

Lulu is an independent self-publishing platform that makes it easy to release your book yourself.

Cover Options Lulu Offers:

Paperback

Hardcover (with dust jacket)

Binding Options:

Coil Bound

Hardcover

Paperback

Saddle Stich

Linen Wrap

Texture Options

Matte cover

Gloss cover

Things to note:

  1. Not all trim sizes are available for Global Distribution

What you need to know:

  1. XX
  • Real number

Mixed Option

You can release your book on multiple platforms if you have your own ISBN. Read more about that process here.

Trim Size Challenges

Once you choose your book size, check the platforms you want to go with first to make sure that they offer your trim size and allow it to be distributed for Global Distribution/Expanded Distribution . Some sizes on some platforms (for example a 5″x8″ book with premium color ink is not available for Expanded Distribution on KDP, but a 5″x8″ with black ink is available for Expanded Distribution).

 

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