UPDATED – 2018 Print on Demand (POD) Price Comparison!

UPDATED – 2018 Print on Demand (POD) Price Comparison!

UPDATED: 02/02/2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please also see “SELF-PUBLISHING? – How Many Book Sales Needed to Recoup Your Investment?” HERE.

SUMMARY (see details about each firm below)

  • BookLocker: Only $875 (Deduct $200 if submitting your own cover. Ask for BookLocker’s $150 off discount code for additional savings. Allows unlimited cover images and up to 50 interior images. DIY program available for only $78.)  

  • Infinity Publishing: $997
  • Balboa Press: $1,174
  • Trafford: $1,474
  • Bookbaby: $1,499
  • Lulu: $1,738 (D.I.Y. program available for less.)
  • Xlibris: $1,873
  • iUniverse: $1,899
  • Westbow Press: $2,070
  • Dog Ear Publishing: $2,099
  • Mill City Press: $2,744
  • Xulon Press: $2,846
  • AuthorHouse: $2,874
  • Outskirts Press: $3,095
  • CreateSpace: N/A – No longer offers formatting/design/editing services to authors.
  • Llumina Press – out of business
  • Tate Publishing – out of business
  • Publish America – out of business

NOTE: All publishers listed offer distribution through Ingram (the world’s largest book distributor), as well as inclusion of their titles in the major online (Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.) and physical bookstore systems. However, some of these publishers, like CreateSpace, may limit where they sell ebooks. CreateSpace has the worst ebook distribution (only one store), which means their authors lose out on ebook sales through BarnesandNoble.com, Apple and Kobo.

**Prices include print publication services and distribution (editing costs are excluded), as well as basic ebook formatting and distribution. Prices also include the cost of production files for those publishers who offer that, but many now don’t. Some don’t give or even sell production files to authors when those authors leave their service, even if the author has paid them thousands to produce those files. We call this a forced marriage and it’s a ridiculous and extremely greedy practice! In this list, only BookLocker.com and Dog Ear give production files to authors on request at no extra charge.

SEE THE END OF THIS LIST FOR DETAILS ON THE PRICING FEATURED BELOW.


BookLocker: Only $875

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+

NOTE: Deduct $200 if submitting your own cover. Booklocker allows unlimited cover images and up to 50 interior images in print books at no extra charge! Also offers a D.I.Y. program for only $78, as well as a Payment Plan Program. 

BookLocker is rated “Outstanding” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. This is the fastest publisher on this page! Most books are on the market in only a month. Also offers an expedited 2-week package for an additional fee. BookLocker offers an alternative Payment Plan Program, as well as a D.I.Y. program. No hidden fees or upselling. Ebook formatting/conversion/distribution includes mobi (for Amazon’s Kindle) and epub (for Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iPad, iPod and iPhone, and Kobo – Canada’s popular ebook retailer). No extra charge to include graphics (up to 50), tables, footnotes, etc. in print books. ADDED BONUSES: 1. Returning authors are only charged $267 for print setup fees on their second and subsequent books (cover design is extra). 2. No extra charge for production files!  The 2-week rush publishing service is only $1199 (which is still less than most of the firms below charge for publication in several weeks to several months). BookLocker offers a paperback/hardcover/ebook combo as well. Read more HERE.

BOOKLOCKER REVIEWS:

According to The Independent Publishing Magazine, “Overall, BookLocker offers a very particular kind of POD publishing service, honest, upfront, a quality product, but no unnecessary frills. This model may not suit all authors, but their personalized approach and focus on book sales is worth all the value alone.

“As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I’ve ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and has put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here. Plus, they’re selective and won’t publish any manuscript just because it’s accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors’ books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know.”
Attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing


Infinity Publishing: $997.00 

Better Business Bureau Rating: F

Rated “Outstanding” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Unfortunately, there are several complaints listed about Infinity Publishing HEREHERE, and HERE. No mention of an expedited or rush option on their website. Their contract does not specify who owns the rights to production files.


Balboa Press: $1,174.00 

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Victoria Strauss writes: “I generally advise authors to avoid the Author Solutions self-publishing services (iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford, AuthorHouse, BookTango, and the self-pub services Author Solutions runs for major publishers, including Thomas Nelson’s WestBow Press and Hay House’s Balboa Press), since I’ve received many complaints about quality, price, and high-pressure sales tactics.”

Balbao Press is in partnership with Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse (all featured here), WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others, and is in partnership with Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, and Alliant Press. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Author Solutions in the past. You can read complaints about Balboa Press HERE. There’s even a “Balboa Press Survivors” Facebook page HERE.


 

Trafford: $1,474.00

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Rated “Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Warning: Has a variety of “extra” charges like $2 per page (included in price above) if your manuscript is submitted with incorrect headers/footers, page breaks, line and paragraph formatting, etc. Charges $5 extra per image (included in price above). Expedite service (“rapid release”) is only available for the $7,999.00 (!!) “Folio” and more expensive packages. NOTE: Trafford is is owned by Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse (all featured here), WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others, and is in partnership with Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, Booktango, and Alliant Press. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Author Solutions in the past. See several complaints about Trafford HERE and HERE.


Bookbaby: $1,499.00

Better Business Bureau Rating: D-

There are complaints about Bookbaby HERE and HERE. Bookbaby’s ebook program was rated 7.4 out of 10 by The Independent Publishing Magazine. Their print program was only rated 6.9-7.0 out of 10.


Lulu: $1,738.00

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Rated “Just Okay” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. LIMITATIONS: Lulu has had customer service and quality problems. Lulu does not mention production files on their site, and never responded to our email about that so it appears they don’t give or sell those to authors. We will post an update if we ever hear from them. Read THIS and THIS to learn more about Lulu’s ongoing problems from unhappy authors. More complaints are HERE. No expedite/rush publishing option is mentioned on their website.


Xlibris: $1,873.00

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the link below. 

Rated “Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Charges expedite fee of $349 (included above) for publication in 2 months instead of 3-4 months. Charges $10 per image (included above); $20 per table. LIMITATIONS: Limit of 1 cover image. Claims ownership of files you paid them to create. You have to pay them $150 more for those. NOTE: Xlibris is owned by Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Trafford (all featured here) WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others, and is in partnership with Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, Booktango, and Alliant Press. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Author Solutions in the past. See several complaints about Xlibris HERE and HERE.


 

iUniverse: $1,899.00 

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Rated “Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Has a variety of “extra” charges like $2 per page if your manuscript is submitted with incorrect headers/footers, page breaks, line and paragraph formatting (included in price above), more than 25 photos/graphics, more than 2 images on your cover, tables, etc. LIMITATIONS: They claim ownership of files you already paid them to create and they will NOT GIVE YOU COPIES. $500 “express service.” Otherwise, turnaround is 3-4 months. NOTE: iUniverse is owned by Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Trafford (all featured here), WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others, and is in partnership with Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, Booktango, and Alliant Press. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Author Solutions in the past. Read several complaints about iUniverse HEREHERE, and HERE.


Westbow Press: $2,070 

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

If the high price at Westbow Press doesn’t scare you, the complaints HERE, and HERE, and HERE might. Westbow is in partnership with Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford (all featured here), WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others, and is in partnership with Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, Booktango, and Alliant Press. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Author Solutions in the past.


Dog Ear Publishing: $2,099.00 

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Rated “Outstanding” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Despite the claims on their website about their competitive prices, they’re one of the most expensive services on this list…and they left BookLocker out of their price comparison. For print publishing within a month + ebook publishing, they do NOT have the lowest price. Not even close. Without the expedited option, their price is still too high. Dog Ear DOES give production files to authors. Read complaints aboyt Dog Ear publishing HERE. and HERE.


Mill City Press: $2,744

Better Business Bureau Rating: N/A (Says they are out of business but that’s not true.) Read complaints at the link below. 

This firm was sold it to the owners of Xulon, which also appears on this list. Read complaints about Mill City Press HERE.


Xulon Press: $2,846.00

Better Business Bureau Rating: NR (No Rating) – Read complaints at the links below. 

This publisher just keeps getting more and more expensive! Publishes Christian materials only. Rated “Outstanding” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. We found no mention of rush / expedited publishing options on their website.

Xulon is yet another firm that claims to pay “100% royalties” but you are NOT getting 100% of the list price, which is what some authors assume when they read that type of marketing verbiage…not even close. The author simply gets what’s left over after everybody else takes their cut, which is what everybody does! Read more about those silly “100% royalty” claims HERE.

There are some pretty scathing comments about Xulon Press HERE. Read another complaint HERE.


AuthorHouse: $2,874.00 

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Rated “Publisher to Avoid” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Charges extra for photos/graphics ($5 per image after the first 25. Expedite fee ($500) is for publication in 45 days instead of 4-6 months (included above). LIMITATIONS: Claims ownership of files you already paid them to create. You have to pay them extra for copies – $250 for interior and $250 for cover (included above). NOTE: AuthorHouse is owned by Author Solutions, which owns iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford (all featured here), WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others, and is in partnership with Archway Publishing, Balboa Press, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, Booktango, and Alliant Press. Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Author Solutions in the past. Numerous complaints about AuthorHouse are published HEREHERE, and HERE.


Outskirts Press: $3,095.00  

Better Business Bureau Rating: A+…but read the complaints at the links below. 

Rated “Pretty Good” by Mark Levine, attorney and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Outskirts used to charge authors an additional $998 for their production files but we can no longer find that option on their website. Their rush service costs $99 extra and takes 7-10 weeks instead of 13-17 weeks. BookLocker can get your book on the market in only 2 weeks for a LOT less! You can read detailed Better Business Bureau complaints about Outskirts Press HERE. Author Michael Marcus wrote a book about Outskirts Press called: Stupid, Sloppy, Sleazy: The Strange Story of Vanity Publisher Outskirts Press. How Do They Stay in Business? You can see that HERE. More complaints about Outskirts Press are HEREHEREHERE, and HERE.

 


***Prices above are based on the least expensive package offered by each publisher on similar offers targeting U.S. authors. Fees include black-and-white-interior print formatting (based on a 200-page book) with up to 25 interior photos/graphics (BookLocker allows up to 50 graphics in print books at no extra charge), original color cover design (some firms above only offer template covers with these packages) with up to 5 images. Prices also include a print proof, basic ebook formatting and distribution to the top four ebook retailers (some have distribution limitations, and some may charge more for ebooks with complex formatting), Espresso edition (not all above offer this), an ISBN for all editions, barcode, a listing on the publisher’s website, distribution by Ingram, and feedback on your cover if submitting your own (some above don’t offer this, or won’t give you a discount if you are submitting your own cover), all within 6 weeks. Some firms above offer “free copies” in their packages but, if you look at the high prices of those packages, you’ll see that handful of “free” copies are anything but free. Authors would do better signing up for a less expensive service, and then purchasing copies at their author discount. IMPORTANT: Many of the firms above don’t offer rush/expedited publishing services. BookLocker usually publishes within a month – at no additional charge. BookLocker also offers a rush 2-week print publishing program for only $1199, which is still less than most of the other firms’ “regular” packages above. The 2-week program is also eligible for the $150 Discount Code offered to WritersWeekly readers. 

NOTE: Many companies offer perks that others don’t and some try to upsell authors on extraneous services during the publishing process. Study each publisher and contract carefully before making your choice.

To see additional complaints about print on demand/publishing service firms, click HERE.



Ask Angela About Self-Publishing

Angela Hoy is not only publisher of WritersWeekly.com, she's also co-owner of self-publishing services firm BookLocker.com and works directly with each author. That's right, you work directly with the owner of BookLocker. No revolving customer service reps, no layers of bureaucracy to navigate, and absolutely no outsourcing to low-paying overseas call centers. We don't use call centers or telemarketing at all. You will never be shuffled from one "customer service rep" to another because we don't have any of those. You will communicate directly with Angela about any needs you have at all, as well as Richard (book marketing advice), Brian (ebooks and technical issues), Ali (print formatting), Gwen (color-interior books) and Todd or Nancy (our awesome cover designers).

Since we are selective about which books we publish, we are able to work with every author one-on-one. In the past 18 years, BookLocker has published more than 9,000 titles.

Angela's been in the print-on-demand and self-publishing business for nearly two decades. She's seen it all, and is a great source of information. To ask her anything click here.


2 Responses to "UPDATED – 2018 Print on Demand (POD) Price Comparison!"

  1. pamelaallegretto  February 4, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I recommend BookLocker whenever I can.

    Reply
  2. perleyjthibodeau  February 3, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I got my files back (all 13 manuscripts of them) from CreateSpace because I have a Chase Business Card and it must have been considered merchandise paid for but not received. Don’t deal with CreateSpace at all!

    Reply

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