Should I Hire a Printer or a Publishing Service?

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I have completed a business book. It was written using Word and I have converted it to pdf. The front and back covers are designed and saved as Word files along with the spine design. I have an ISBN and have assigned a number to the book. I am considering going to a standard printer, but would like to consider going with a POD publisher instead, or maybe also. Does this make sense?

You can absolutely hire your own printer but you will be responsible for 100% of everything involved with design and then with order processing and fulfillment after the book is published.

Authors who simply hire a printer to print their books must:

1. Design the interior of their book to the printer’s specs (or hire someone to do it).

2. Design a professional cover to the printer’s specs (or hire someone to do it).

By the way, MSWord automatically degrades graphics to 72 dpi. Your cover really needs to be designed using a professional graphics program, from scratch, at 300 dpi.

3. Obtain an ISBN ($99)

4. Set up a secure website so you can accept credit card orders.

5. Obtain a professional merchant account to process credit card orders, or sign up with a company like paypal, which has been known to freeze customers’ bank accounts for obscure reasons (see paypalsucks.com).

6. Purchase books in bulk and store them.

7. Create labels, etc. and package books.

8. Ship books to customers.

9. Try to obtain an Ingram account (the largest book distributor). Ingram no longer works directly with publishers that have less than 10 titles. They recommend those authors/publishers use one of their print on demand customers (like BookLocker.com, which we own).

11. Manually submit detailed information about your book to Amazon.com, bn.com, and any other websites you wish your book to be listed on.

12. Ship copies to Amazon at your own expense and agree to give Amazon 55% of the list price of each sale; or sign up as a reseller and still give Amazon too much money (and ship orders to Amazon’s customers yourself).

13. Handle all customer service issues, including complaints about orders not going through, packages not arriving, returns, and even chargebacks, which can cost upwards of $25 each (a chargeback is when someone doesn’t want to pay the charge you placed on their credit card)

There’s more but this gives you an idea about what’s involved when you launch your own publishing company, which is what authors who just have books printed are really doing.

If you don’t want to get this deep into the administrative side of the book selling business, you can sign up with a POD publisher, which will do all of these things for you. Since our systems at BookLocker.com are automated, these steps are far easier for us and, because we do such high volume, we are able to obtain ISBNs, cover design, and more at a discount, which we are able to share with authors.