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Thread: Lighting Source Experience?

  1. #1

    Lighting Source Experience?

    Hello all!

    I am still writing my book but I just like to keep a general mind of options when I get to the publishing point. I have look a lot at Lulu, Createspace and Lightning Source and they all seem to have their pros and cons. My book will primarily be an ebook but I really want a hard cover print option available (with a soft cover as well if the demand is there). That immediately eliminates CreateSpace, and Lulu is a bit pricey though extremely easy to use.

    Lightning Source caught my eye and I am aware of the general pros and cons. I understand there are upfront costs with LS but cost per book is lower and profit margin is higher, but it seems like LS has better outlets to more distributors and book stores as well as all of the printing options.

    My question is, has anyone here actually used them? If so:

    1. Were you happy with the quality of the print and the final book?
    2. Is the system and formatting a total pain to work with or with careful planning can I format it myself for them?
    3. What are some general pros and cons of their service?

    I am just looking for insight at this point, and any provided will be valued greatly. Thanks!

  2. #2
    No one has used Lightning Source at all or is there something about them people aren't saying?

  3. #3
    Senior Member CupofJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixF2B View Post
    No one has used Lightning Source at all or is there something about them people aren't saying?
    I think its the former... if it was the latter I think everyone would know, good or bad...
    Gibson: No, I... I have to write some letters first.

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    Senior Member TWErvin2's Avatar
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    My publisher uses both Lighting Source and/or Create Space, depending on the novel. I will say that the POD bindings and cover quality is better with Lightning Source than Create Space.

    I had a self-publishing friend who tried to use Lightning Source, but getting the cover right for them, to their specs and such was very difficult for him so he threw in the towel and went with Create Space, which he did easily.

    That's really my only opinion/experience. All of it indirect.

  6. #5
    That is a fair reply. I know they have upfront costs but Lulu is a little pricier than I would like and I would totally go with Createspace if they had a hard cover edition to offer. Lightning Source seemed to be a bigger player in the POD market so I had just wondered if anyone had experience with them.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Zero Angel's Avatar
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    I plan on doing both CreateSpace and Lightning Source, but have not used either yet. Should have the first collection of my math books out this winter and I want a tangible copy for that, and if I can swing my second edition of my first published novel by then too.

    What I plan on doing might no longer even be an option, but when I researched it a few months ago this seemed the best route for me. The CreateSpace AND Lightning Source is so Amazon doesn't jerk you around.

    Summed up here: why-you-need-lightning-source-and-createspace/
    Zero Angel's War of the Ages

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  9. #7
    Excellent article, thank you Zero. Maybe I am incorrect, but I thought LSI handled the Amazon sales as well. If that is the case, what purpose is Creatspace offering?

  10. #8
    Senior Member Zero Angel's Avatar
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    Createspace gives you a better royalty for Amazon sales, and I've heard a lot of people complain that Amazon deliberately goes out of stock of non-Createspace printers. As in, if you have Createspace people will be able to order your book in a few days, but if you have Lightning Source it may take a few weeks. Even though Amazon denies this, they just make a habit to keep more Createspace titles on stock I guess. So Createspace for Amazon and Lightning Source for the extended distribution.
    Zero Angel's War of the Ages

  11. #9
    That really sucks if that is true because I want the physical version of my book available in hard cover and Createspace just doesn't offer it. As far as royalties, the cost per book at LSI is a lot lower to produce than Createspace isn't it? When I was looking into it I thought I saw posts from people mentioning one of the benefits of LSI was that because of the setup fee, my cost per book would be several dollars cheaper than Lulu or CS. Wouldn't that translate to a better profit margin per book?

    Is there another service that is favored or used in conjunction with Lulu, LSI and Createspace?

  12. #10
    Senior Member Zero Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixF2B View Post
    That really sucks if that is true because I want the physical version of my book available in hard cover and Createspace just doesn't offer it. As far as royalties, the cost per book at LSI is a lot lower to produce than Createspace isn't it? When I was looking into it I thought I saw posts from people mentioning one of the benefits of LSI was that because of the setup fee, my cost per book would be several dollars cheaper than Lulu or CS. Wouldn't that translate to a better profit margin per book?

    Is there another service that is favored or used in conjunction with Lulu, LSI and Createspace?
    You could always contract with printers yourself if you have the space and ability to order several hundred (or thousand) books at a time. When I was first getting started I read Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual (which at that time was still before the mass advent of e-publishing), which had a LOT of information about how to get quotes from printers, how to sell books to distributors and bookstores, etc. Basically self-publishing the old-fashioned way, but successfully and not through a vanity press.

    From what I remember of those days, the key is to order enough books to qualify for offset printing prices (as opposed to print-on-demand prices). I think the magick number is ~2000, but some may switch to offset for less. This means that you have 2000 books that you have to sell, store, or distribute though. I went as far in that version of self-publishing as getting quotes from printers (which was pretty far down the line of things to do, but nowhere near the end) before becoming an e-publisher.

    If you don't want to go through all of that, maybe you should just do a vanity option for the hardcover. It might be good to have a hardcover for press and display purposes, and also to say, "I have a hardcover", but you probably don't need more than a few hardcovers.

    I haven't run numbers on CS or LSI since the Spring, so I really can't say what's cheaper or better. I think if you're set on having a hardcover and CS won't do it, then LSI is the way to go. I haven't heard ANYTHING good about Lulu and when I first looked into them I found them to be rather scam-my, but that was over a year ago and the market has really changed since then. Maybe they have too.

    Of course, if you do go the CS and LSI option, then there's nothing that says you can't have a softcover through CS and a hardcover AND softcover through LSI, or just a hardcover. That way you maintain the benefits of using both but still get the desired hardcover.
    Zero Angel's War of the Ages

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