As great as ebooks are, as an author, there is nothing like seeing the result of perhaps years of work materialize in a physical book. Holding your book in your hands is one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment any author can experience. This is just one reason "print on demand" books are as popular as they are. Besides the subjective feeling of accomplishment, printed books still account for about half of book sales, and serve many purposes that ebooks cannot such as giveaways, promotional copies, and back-of-room sales at events.
Just what the name implies. Your book, in paperback or hardcover (case laminate or cloth with jacket) format, black and white or in color, printed as needed. What is great about print on demand, is that you, as the author, can do short-run book printing and have 1 or more copies printed and shipped to your home, to sell or give away as needed. This is unlike going through book printers who require hundreds of books minimum. The major online retailers—Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble will sell the printed version of your book, and the major distributor, Lightning Source, will make your book available to virtually every bookstore in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, both online and brick and mortar. Or, you can simply get books printed for your own distribution.
The best part—besides the low production costs, is that there are no storage fees, nor any need to invest huge sums of money into large quantities of books. Book printing via print on-demand is a very inexpensive option thanks to technology in printing books.
After almost a decade of being in the business, we discovered that to maximize both availability and sales, it is important to print books with both Amazon KDP as well as Lightning Source (LS)—both have their pros and cons but together they will help you dominate the market. LS allows for many unique sizes as well as hard cover, whereas Amazon will never show your print book as being "out of stock" if we use their print book service. Also, depending on your books specs, one of the two options can be significantly less expensive for book printing (which we refer to as "author copies").
By using both KDP and LS, we can take advantage of Amazon's direct-to-consumer marketing and receive a larger royalty while maintaining a reasonable retail price. Then with LS's bookstore-to-consumer marketing we use the industry standard 55% discount so that bookstores make a decent profit when reselling your book. The result is that you, the author/publisher, make the most money while your book has maximum distribution!
How much it will cost to get your book in print depends on what services you need. Most customers have us professionally layout the interior and design the cover, but if you have the capability to do it yourself and provide print-ready files, then you can save a little money. First we'll start with the setup costs. Simply check the options you will need to see the total price.
Now that the setup is out of the way, you should have two other questions: 1) How much will I make on each books sold and 2) How much would it cost me to buy copies of my own book for my own distribution? To answer these questions, we have three interactive tools. One for Amazon KDP paperback books, one for paperback books through Lightning Source, and one for hardcover books through Lightning Source. Select all the options and enter your retail price in order to see your cost and royalty per book sold.