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Old 07-26-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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How does print-on-demand with LULU work?

I don't know if that topic has been discussed before but I couldn't find anything to answer my questions although I've spend the last half hour on Lulu's website.
How does the print-on-demand work? I mean, I wanted to do that with Lulu but their website is very confusing and I don't understand what happens after I've submitted my book. Do I pay anything beforehand? Do they take some kind of royalties? Do they set the price of the book (my book shows as 4.99 when I choose all the relevant requirements, is this going to be the price on amazon?) How long after a person purchases the book on amazon can they expect to receive it?
If anybody has done the print-on-demand service with them, can you please explain how it works, I'm very confused.
Thanks a lot!
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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Edit: - sorry I miss read your last line and thought you wanted some thoughts on alternative PODs as well. I'll leave the post in case anyone else is interested in Feed a Read!


I'm going through the POD process with Feed a Read at the moment - they are a UK based POD similar to Create Space. I've not really looked at Lulu but I imagine it's similar to Lulu as well.

Basically, I upload my book and cover and then approve the PDF of the book (you can contact the Feed a Read team directly if you have problems - I found them to be quite useful and prompt). Then after around 10 days it's ready for printing. You can then order an author copy which is 5.55 but over 8.00 with P&P which I thought was a bit steep to be honest.

Once you have your copy you proof read it and then send them an email to approve the print and they can make it ready for publication, it will also get an ISBN number. In the Email they sent me they said that it is important to be sure of all proof reading errors before approving the book as any changes after this point can result in the printers charging more to print the book.

In terms of royalties Feed a Read offer 80% of the profit from all orders direct from the website. This worked out about 2 from a 7.99 book for mine - it differs depending on how many pages your book is and how much it costs to print. The cost of the printing is taken out of the price.

If you would like the book to be distributed to Amazon, Waterstones, B&N etc worldwide you can pay 88 one off fee. You won't get as much back in terms of royalties as Amazon or whoever will take a cut. But you can charge more for the book.

As for the quality of the book I'm not sure yet because I haven't had my author copy yet! I've seen some photos from another author and it looked quite nice, so fingers crossed!

Last edited by sarahdalton; 07-26-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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I forgot to mention. There are two big drawbacks to Feed a Read:

1. The website is not particularly good. It's certainly not set up for browsers or readers. But if you are promoting and diverting people to a direct link then hopefully it will be OK. Otherwise you generate sales from Amazon etc.

2. You are paid royalties every 6 months and they only give you updates at this time as well! I think this is ridiculous but my alternative was paying tax to America via Create Space and I didn't really want to do that.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:09 PM   #4
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Lulu and Createspace are very similar. I can't say a whole lot about the differences between them, since I've only actually self-published through Createspace, but I have printed books through both.

The main difference I see is that Createspace is quite a bit cheaper than Lulu when it comes to your standard book sizes, and it has a direct attachment to Amazon. However, while Createspace does have the Kindle/ebook side of things, it does not have hardcover books. If you want to print your book in hardback, you may want to consider Lulu.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:03 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys, all of this is very helpful!
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:00 AM   #6
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Please note that Feed A Read is a new identity for YouWriteOn and, strictly speaking, is vanity publishing and not self publishing. If you want more information on how horribly wrong YWO's publishing schemes have gone go to my How Publishing Really Works blog (there's a link in my signature) and search for YouWriteOn.

I can't recommend them to anyone interested in finding a POD facility to produce their work: Lulu, CreateSpace and LightningSource are all ok; Feed A Read takes control of the product away from the writer, and gives them a smaller share of any resulting sales too. It's not the best way to proceed.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:34 AM   #7
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Lulu has changed since I used it a thousand years ago, but the basics are easy. The amount you get is set by you, I think they called it a creator fee. They add their costs and profit to that to get the price they sell to a bookstore/Amazon, etc. Any bookstore may decide to offer a discount of course. To get distribution to anything other than Amazon you need to buy a Lulu distribution package.

Your printed book is fulfilled by Lulu, and can take 3-5 days for paperback, according to their site. Amazon sends the order to Lulu as soon as it's placed, so it's usually less than a week until it ships. Remember, with POD, there is no stock to ship immediately.

Lulu has a lot of additional services you can buy as well. Opinions vary on the effectiveness of these.

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Old 07-28-2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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Old Hack can you explain how Feed a Read take the control of the product away from the writer?

I've just calculated what my royalties would be on Create Space. They would be exactly the same as Feed a Read through Amazon and less than direct sales from Feed a Read. Whether this is after tax or before it I'm not sure but I'm confused as to what makes you think writers will not earn as much through Feed a Read. I've read your post about YouWriteOn and can see that you disagreed with the transfer of work from this to Feed a Read. But how would this affect customers who are new to Feed a Read?
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Apparently Create Space have gone to Europe now as well which would help anyone from the UK who were thinking of using them. Payments go straight to a UK bank

I didn't realise this when I chose Feed a Read over them.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sarahdalton View Post
Old Hack can you explain how Feed a Read take the control of the product away from the writer?
FeedARead is in control of the whole process: writers only control their decision to use the company, and the work they send. FeedARead downloads your work to the printers, corrects any errors (which you'll have to notify them of as they're very unlikely to even read the books they publish for you; they also might well charge to make these corrections); they control the ISBN (if you have one), they make your work appear on Amazon--or not--and will have control of what appears on Amazon, they receive all payments from retailers and then forward them onto the authors, and so on and so forth.

This isn't self publishing, it's vanity publishing, because (very roughly) you're paying someone else to publish your book for you.

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I've just calculated what my royalties would be on Create Space. They would be exactly the same as Feed a Read through Amazon and less than direct sales from Feed a Read.
As I understand it, though, FAR pays royalties on profit, not on cover price. When YWO's publication schemes first appeared, the royalties eventually received by authors worked out to between 6% and 12% of cover price, if I remember rightly. I believe CreateSpace pays a much higher percentage of cover price: can you confirm?

Quote:
Whether this is after tax or before it I'm not sure but I'm confused as to what makes you think writers will not earn as much through Feed a Read.
It'll be before tax: regardless of how your work is published, you then have to pay tax on your royalties received.

Quote:
I've read your post about YouWriteOn and can see that you disagreed with the transfer of work from this to Feed a Read. But how would this affect customers who are new to Feed a Read?
I didn't "disagree" with it, I didn't see how it was legal, or appropriate for a publisher to transfer contracts to another publisher without even notifying the authors concerned. I had other concerns too, but that was the main one.

Did you read my posts about the YouWriteOn publishing schemes too? They'd be much more pertinent to your situation.

[QUOTE=sarahdalton;7465507]I'm going through the POD process with Feed a Read at the moment - they are a UK based POD similar to Create Space. I've not really looked at Lulu but I imagine it's similar to Lulu as well.[QUOTE]

FeedARead is only similar to CreateSpace and Lulu in that they rely on print-on-demand technology to produce the books concerned. With CS and Lulu the author is in control of the whole process: with FAR, the author hands much of that control over to FAR.

Quote:
Once you have your copy you proof read it and then send them an email to approve the print and they can make it ready for publication, it will also get an ISBN number. In the Email they sent me they said that it is important to be sure of all proof reading errors before approving the book as any changes after this point can result in the printers charging more to print the book.
I don't see how a book will suddenly become more expensive to print just because some corrections have been needed. There might be a small charge made to correct those changes; from what I remember, though, FAR makes those charges, not LightningSource.

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If you would like the book to be distributed to Amazon, Waterstones, B&N etc worldwide you can pay 88 one off fee. You won't get as much back in terms of royalties as Amazon or whoever will take a cut. But you can charge more for the book.
CreateSpace charges nothing to list your book on Amazon.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:20 PM   #11
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This is the information regarding royalties from the website. There is also a royalties calculator as there is on Create Space which is where I found little difference between the two for the UK price (when selling on Amazon).

http://www.feedaread.com/Authors/inf...Questions.aspx

Quote:
What royalties will I receive?
You set your own book price and the royalty that you will receive for each book sale before you publish during our simple publishing steps [snipped by moderator]

Book Price 7.99 minus bookseller discount minus print cost = 1.80 net profit.
80% of 1.80 = 1.44 royalty to the author per book sale. FeedARead receives the remaining 20%.
As for corrections - I didn't see anything about Feed a Read making correction for me. I proof read the copy and make amendments as I see fit. I've not seen it in print yet though so I can't confirm.

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[removed by moderator]
There is a one off fee for further distribution, yes. Had I known that Create Space can now pay royalties directly into a UK bank I might have changed my mind.

Regarding the control of what appears on Amazon I'll have to keep an eye on this when it happens. However, so far I've been in control of the pricing and the content. Whatever happens now it will be a learning curve. So far I'm perfectly happy with FAR and have only heard good things from people who have already published with them. I can report back and let people know how my experience goes.

Last edited by Old Hack; 07-29-2012 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Edited to remove over-long quotes and to add link, to conform with fair use guidelines
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:21 PM   #12
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This is the information regarding royalties from the website. There is also a royalties calculator as there is on Create Space which is where I found little difference between the two for the UK price (when selling on Amazon).
Thanks for that, Sarah: I'd be grateful if you'd edit the material you quoted in your post to conform with fair use guidelines, though: link back to your source material, and only quote a couple of sentences from it.

This strikes me as significant:

Quote:
For sales of your book through bookseller distribution channels, the author will receive 80% of royalties after the retailer - Amazon etc - take their bookseller discount ... 80% of 1.80 = 1.44 royalty to the author per book sale. FeedARead receives the remaining 20%.
What, exactly, does FeedARead do to earn that 20% commission? It downloads your book to Lightning Source which you could do for yourself--the hard part is formatting the work, and you have to do that all for yourself; downloading it involves just a couple of clicks of the mouse. It makes it available on Amazon--well, you can do this really easily for yourself too. You can also download it onto Smashwords yourself and get an electronic version of your book listed on all sorts of sites.

Quote:
As for corrections - I didn't see anything about Feed a Read making correction for me. I proof read the copy and make amendments as I see fit. I've not seen it in print yet though so I can't confirm.
When you get your proof copy what happens if you spot errors in it? You'll either have to provide a corrected PDF of the book to FAR and let them download it, or you'll have to inform FAR of those errors and ask them to correct them. I suspect the former will be the case and that FAR will charge you to re-download the book. I might be wrong: but I doubt it.

Quote:
Regarding the control of what appears on Amazon I'll have to keep an eye on this when it happens. However, so far I've been in control of the pricing and the content.
With all due respect, you're not in control of publishing the book. For example, if you do spot any errors you won't be able to correct them without FAR's assistance; you aren't in control of the book's sales reports, royalty statements, online listings, or anything else. This is not self publishing, and I can't see what benefits you get for the 20% of your income that you're paying to FAR.

Quote:
Whatever happens now it will be a learning curve. So far I'm perfectly happy with FAR and have only heard good things from people who have already published with them. I can report back and let people know how my experience goes.
I'm glad you're happy but I've heard negative stories about them, from people who have published with them. Please be careful. Consider if they're really worth the 20% you're paying them, and consider how easy it would be to do for yourself the things they do for their 20%.

You might like to read some of our self publishing diary threads, to see how other writers are getting on and how they're managing without using a company like FAR: it's complicated, but no more so than working with FAR from what I've seen.

Anyway. I wish you well with your publication, and hope you get what you want out of the experience. And, of course, that you sell heaps of books. That would be lovely too.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:53 PM   #13
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Are you locked in with FAR or can you change your mind? Using CreateSpace would seem to garner you more control and the option to hold an actual book proof in your hands (rather than only a digital version). I have found the print version much easier to proof and really "see" in addition to proofing online.

With CS you can make changes anytime at no cost. I have found this useful by adding the first chapter in the next book in a series at the back of the book, updating the ever-growing list of books I've written (I include this list at the front of my paperback books and the back of my e-books), and fixing typos that I found later (I hate when that happens!)
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:28 PM   #14
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Sarah, as you have dropped by to AW since I asked you to edit your post, but have not done so, I've edited your post for you.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:31 PM   #15
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Sarah, as you have dropped by to AW since I asked you to edit your post, but have not done so, I've edited your post for you.
Oh, Ok. I was going to do it only I was using my Iphone at the time and in a pub. I suppose it saves me the effort but you didn't give me very long!

(Ever tried to copy and paste text in your iphone - it's a nightmare! I actually thought you meant amend the very first post by inserting the quotes from FAR FAQ so I probably would have done it wrong anyway)

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Old 07-29-2012, 01:34 PM   #16
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Are you locked in with FAR or can you change your mind? Using CreateSpace would seem to garner you more control and the option to hold an actual book proof in your hands (rather than only a digital version). I have found the print version much easier to proof and really "see" in addition to proofing online.

With CS you can make changes anytime at no cost. I have found this useful by adding the first chapter in the next book in a series at the back of the book, updating the ever-growing list of books I've written (I include this list at the front of my paperback books and the back of my e-books), and fixing typos that I found later (I hate when that happens!)
Well, I've got the ISBN and I've paid the distribution fee but I've not yet approved the book for distribution.

I'm going to give it a go. I want to carve out my own experiences and I still don't feel like I'm going to get completely ripped off by this company.

I'm 28, I've got plenty of books in me. If this book doesn't pan out the way I'd planned I'll just do it differently for the next one.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:10 PM   #17
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Oh, Ok. I was going to do it only I was using my Iphone at the time and in a pub. I suppose it saves me the effort but you didn't give me very long!
I think "thank you" is a more appropriate response, but there you go.

Good luck with FeedARead. I think you're making a big mistake by using them, but it's your choice.

ETA: for anyone interested, here's the thread about YouWriteOn in our BR&BC room, in which its original publishing scheme is discussed and the person behind it turns up and brings with him a few cheerleaders.

Last edited by Old Hack; 07-29-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:27 PM   #18
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2. You are paid royalties every 6 months and they only give you updates at this time as well! I think this is ridiculous but my alternative was paying tax to America via Create Space and I didn't really want to do that.
You don't have to pay taxes to America. You just have to get an American tax number (required one quick phone call) and send some form to CreateSpace and the US won't withhold any tax.

Titles uploaded via CreateSpace automatically go to Amazon.com, Amazon.uk and the European ones as well. I recently went through the process and it was simple enough and there were no charges.

I think my proof copy cost 3 dollars US (191page book). However there was shipping costs across the Atlantic, so I just ordered via Amazon.co.uk instead.

Have to agree with OldHack as well that it doesn't seem FeedaRead give you much for what they take. With a 6month time for receiving royalties as well, I'd also worry about them going out of business at some stage, and you miss out on some royalties. Just seems an unnecessary middleman.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:32 PM   #19
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The much missed SP outlines in this thread the process of how that Brit got their ITIN for the W8-BEN form. (For those not in the know, Americans prove they do understand irony after all by taxing foreigners earning money from American companies. The W8-BEN is the form to have them stop doing that.)
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:18 PM   #20
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You don't have to pay taxes to America. You just have to get an American tax number (required one quick phone call) and send some form to CreateSpace and the US won't withhold any tax.

Titles uploaded via CreateSpace automatically go to Amazon.com, Amazon.uk and the European ones as well. I recently went through the process and it was simple enough and there were no charges.

I think my proof copy cost 3 dollars US (191page book). However there was shipping costs across the Atlantic, so I just ordered via Amazon.co.uk instead.

Have to agree with OldHack as well that it doesn't seem FeedaRead give you much for what they take. With a 6month time for receiving royalties as well, I'd also worry about them going out of business at some stage, and you miss out on some royalties. Just seems an unnecessary middleman.
Yeah, that sounds pretty odd to me, too. I know most companies don't send your money until you make a certain amount. But having that be based on time rather then sales themselves would definitely make me wary.

However, I'm Canadian and this looks like it's for Europe, so I suppose it really doesn't apply to me. Feel free to take it or leave it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:41 PM   #21
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The much missed SP outlines in this thread the process of how that Brit got their ITIN for the W8-BEN form. (For those not in the know, Americans prove they do understand irony after all by taxing foreigners earning money from American companies. The W8-BEN is the form to have them stop doing that.)
I found this blog post very helpful:
http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/...-to-be-taxing/

Basically there's now a special phone number where you can get your ITIN within minutes. (and it worked as advertised for me.)
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by sarahdalton View Post

I'm going to give it a go. I want to carve out my own experiences and I still don't feel like I'm going to get completely ripped off by this company.

I'm 28, I've got plenty of books in me. If this book doesn't pan out the way I'd planned I'll just do it differently for the next one.
Good luck, Sarah. I hope you'll keep us informed about how things go. Nothing makes me happier than to see hard work and good writing rewarded. All the best to you.
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