Limited options for hardcover books with ISBN

I have published hard and soft cover versions of my book (6x9). I attached ISBNs that I bought from Bowker. When I later decided to change my hard cover dust jacket from Glossy to Matte, and the interior paper from cream to white, the attached ISBN got dropped. I was told by Lulu support that that's the way it is. Any change from cream paper, blue cloth, gold lettering will drop the ISBN. My question is: Why? Why would Lulu not attach my ISBN to a book with white paper (when the soft cover book has white paper). Why would Lulu not attach my ISBN when the cover cloth is gray instead of blue? Why would Lulu not attach my ISBN when the cover and spine lettering is white instead of gold? Why can't an ISBN be on a matte finished dust jacket. I see other hardcover books with the characteristics I want, and they have ISBNs on them.

Comments

  • I should add that Lulu does publish my hardcover book the way I want it, and I have copies, but the ISBN number won't attach.
  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    Apparently a new cover means a new edition, hence a new ISBN. I guess it is an international requirement.

  • I want to assign a new ISBN, but the system won't let me do it.
  • On the first page of options when we create a book, there is a green down arrow signifying "allowable for retail distribution" that disappears when we select a format or option that can't have an ISBN attached. Try this: Select 6x9, hardcover w/dustjacket, cream paper, matte finish dust jacket. The arrow stays green until you select matte finish. Why should this prevent my book from having retail distribution and an ISBN printed on it? Try this: Select 6x9, hardcover w/dustjacket, cream paper, gray cloth. The green arrow disappears when you select gray cloth. Why can't an ISBN number be printed for retail distribution on a glossy dust jacket when the cloth color is gray?

  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    lejenkins a écrit :
    I want to assign a new ISBN, but the system won't let me do it.

    Probably because this is not accepted by some of the Lulu printers. In that case, you should select the options that allow you to have an ISBN on the dust jacket.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    With POD one has to compromise, and I prefer glossy anyway. The glossy laminate that Lulu's printers use to protect (and thicken) the covers are not all that shiny anyway. It depends how one holds them to the light.

  • Just as Jean Paul mentioned, the matte on dust jacket is not accepted for retail distribution. Because retailers need to be able to print on demand your book when it's in distribution, we have to limit the formats to those the retailers can all handle.

  • The system would not give me that choice.

    Before I changed to white paper, gray cloth, white lettering, and matte finish, the system let me attach my ISBN.

  • What about the other options? (white paper, gray cloth, white letters) Are the same printers who send me my acceptable books with those characteristics the same printers who refuse to attach an ISBN on those same books when they are for retail distribution?
  • I will repeat the last question on my post of 3-11-16 at 3:28...
    Why can't an ISBN number be printed for retail distribution on a glossy dust jacket when the cloth color is gray?
    And I will re-phrase my most recent question: Why would a printer send me hundreds of books in blue with an ISBN, and hundreds of books in gray with no ISBN, but not send me hundreds of books in gray WITH an ISBN. I am printing them "on demand" so why can't a retailer do the same?
  • To add a note: I see from the Lulu page on hardback book print requirements:
    "Dust Jacket
    Book - Navy blue linen with gold foil stamp on spine for title and/or author name (max 42 characters including spaces). Additional book cover and dust jacket design options are available to authors in the USA. Lulu is working to make additional options available in all markets."

    Has Lulu made any progress on other options? Why could overseas customers buy my hardcover book in Blue cloth with ISBN on the dust jacket, but not have an ISBN on the jacket if the cloth cover is Gray?
  • I think I know why Lulu restricts hard cover formats. Although other printers that Lulu uses can do the covers the way I want, Amazon has their own printing machines to do print-on-demand. I'll bet they don't want to swap out cloth and lettering colors. So as a result, every hard cover book has to be blue cloth with gold lettering. This restriction makes their POD hard cover books look all the same no matter what's inside, and that's why I want my hard cover to be distinctive. Since Amazon is the 800 pound gorilla, Lulu bows to them. A note on the Lulu support database says they are working on getting more options, but the note is dated 2011 and nothing has happened, so I'm considering other options.

  • You're basically right, we have to limit our retail options based on what other printers can/will handle with their printing.

  • Thanks, Paul.

         I have been offering my soft cover book only on Lulu. I charged $19.95 because I wanted people to get it for less than $20 so they could ship if for $4.00 USPS and still get it fairly cheap for a 400+ page book. At that $20 price, the books cost about $10 or a little more to print, and I make $7.50 or so. Lulu gets about $4 or a little more, and the printer gets $8 or a little more. (If my figures are not exact, please forgive me because my point--my question--doesn't need for them to be exact.)

         When I wanted to put my own ISBN on the cover I had to price it for retail sales, and Lulu's software forced a minimum of about $24 so companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble could track the book and make money. (I have no problem with them making money.) But in order for ME to make any money, I had to charge about $26. At that price I make about $2 per book, and Lulu gets about $4 or a little more, and the printer gets about $8 or a little more, because it still costs only $10 or a little more to print the book and pay Lulu. At a $26 retail list price, then, the retailer gets about $( 26 - 2 - 4 - 8 ) or $12. ...So here's my question, Paul: Since Amazon prints my soft cover book themselves, aren't they grossing $20 dollars on my $26 book? After all, they get not only the retail $12 but also the printer's $8. Are they so strapped for cash that they can't afford to change hard-cover cloth color, or lettering color, or print a matte finished dust jacket? Maybe they just enjoy being the 800 pound gorilla.

         I'll bet that if I refused to go retail, and stayed with selling on Lulul only, and the book became a best-seller, some Amazon mouthpiece would spread a rumor that I'm greedy because I want $7.50 instead of $2 for each book, a book I worked on for many, many hours since before 1990.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Before I start, what is your book? Fact or fiction? Facts that are exclusive? Facts that only a minority want and are willing to pay for them? All of those make a huge difference to the price people are willing to pay.    Some will argue about that for ever, but it's a marketing fact.

     

    When I wanted to put my own ISBN on the cover I had to price it for retail sales,

     

    In what way? If you are almost adding 100% profit then that is hardly setting a price for retail sales on retail sites because they will also add their profit to that, making it a very expensive book.

     

    and Lulu's software forced a minimum of about $24

     

    It's not forcing anything. It's that much due to what profit you have added to that Cost of $10.

     

    so companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble could track the book and make money.

     

    Track? In what way?

     

    (I have no problem with them making money.)

     

    But it does seem as though you have.

     

    But in order for ME to make any money, I had to charge about $26.

     

     Why? Your book is only costing $10 at Lulu's Cost price ... Just adding $1 is also making money, and you may sell more. (People will want to buy it in the first place, though.)

     

    At that price I make about $2 per book,

     

    ... and you say you are adding $7.50 to that, not $2.

     

    and Lulu gets about $4 or a little more, and the printer gets about $8 or a little more, because it still costs only $10 or a little more to print the book and pay Lulu. At a $26 retail list price, then, the retailer gets about $( 26 - 2 - 4 - 8 ) or $12. ...So here's my question, Paul: Since Amazon prints my soft cover book themselves, aren't they grossing $20 dollars on my $26 book? After all, they get not only the retail $12 but also the printer's $8.

     

    But that's a fact of life. Retailers always get more than the actual manufacturer. People would be shocked at the factory door cost of all products and what retailers then sell them for. The fact that a retailer may own, as a subsidiary, one of those factories is irrelevant, it's just a way of business to not have to pay the profits of a supplier, but to also pocket those profits themselves. One instance is a newspaper magnet who also owns the forests the ball starts rolling in.

     

    Are they so strapped for cash that they can't afford to change hard-cover cloth color, or lettering color, or print a matte finished dust jacket? Maybe they just enjoy being the 800 pound gorilla.

     

    It's nothing to do with that. It's to do with the capabilities of the machines available and the potential cost of having to keep changing what they use as materials, which, along with the manhours of swapping and changing would add even more to the cost of the product. You are forgetting that this is POD, not the mass printing of 1000s of books at a time. Do you suggest they buy another machine costing up to $1,000,000 just so they can offer more options that few people care about? Which would make all POD books cost more because they would want such machines to pay for themselves ASAP. Cost is spread throughout a company's entire overheads.

     

         I'll bet that if I refused to go retail, and stayed with selling on Lulul only, and the book became a best-seller, some Amazon mouthpiece would spread a rumor that I'm greedy because I want $7.50 instead of $2 for each book,

     

    Why would they do that if you are only selling on a Lulu Spotlight? And to be frank, I do think you have added too much to the Cost.

     

    a book I worked on for many, many hours since before 1990.

     

    If we attempted to 'charge' by the hour for what it takes us to create our books then our books would have to have a 5000% mark-up, at least!  As an example, take Ford. $Billions spent and up to 5 years to come up with a new model.  Could they then sell at Bentley prices to get their efforts back ASAP? Hardly. They set their price to appeal to the mass market so that they sell 10,000s a year, not just a few 100. They design towards that end. Average book sales are surprising low, and that's at mass-printing prices, independent POD book sales are even less. That has to be taken in to account when considering ever getting your costs and even efforts back. But you may sell far more if your price is on a par with all other books on the market, and do not forget that after a publisher gets their initial costs back they often drop the price. That's why you can see huge hard-backed full-colour books with a price tag of $40 on them, retailing at $5 after a few years!

  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    lejenkins a écrit :

         I'll bet that if I refused to go retail, and stayed with selling on Lulul only, and the book became a best-seller, some Amazon mouthpiece would spread a rumor that I'm greedy because I want $7.50 instead of $2 for each book, a book I worked on for many, many hours since before 1990.


    Several Lulu authors have reported their books sell well from the sole Lulu booktore, and wouldn't want to be distributed by Amazon. Smiley Happy

  • Thanks for your responses, Kevin. It is a pleasure to explain things more clearly [in red]:


    Before I start, what is your book? Fact or fiction? Facts that are exclusive? Facts that only a minority want and are willing to pay for them? All of those make a huge difference to the price people are willing to pay.    Some will argue about that for ever, but it's a marketing fact. [My question to Paul was not about pricing factors or what others were willing to pay, but about the percentage Amazon takes from whatever they do pay. Is Amazon really grossing $20 on a $26 book?]

     

    When I wanted to put my own ISBN on the cover I had to price it for retail sales, [Try creating a 444 page premium paperback book but select "Sell on Lulu only". The cost of such a book to an author is $10.13 and must be priced higher to recover shipping costs and make any profit. The software won't let authors attach an ISBN, and it recommends a price of $15.13 (giving us a flat $4, out of which we pay shipping and other expenses). Instead, I selected a selling price of $19.95 because $xx.95 is normal, and because I wanted to give a discount at the start (We can always reduce the price, but raising it is not a good idea). But the wider-than-Lulu retail marketplace requires an ISBN, so Lulu won't put an ISBN on the cover of a paperback or dust jacket of a hardback book unless authors select "Sell on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more". Because I wanted an ISBN on the cover, I had to price it for sales beyond the Lulu marketplace.]

     

    In what way? If you are almost adding 100% profit then that is hardly setting a price for retail sales on retail sites because they will also add their profit to that, making it a very expensive book.  [The percentage of revenue coming to me depends on whether a book sells on Lulu or "Everywhere Else".]

     

    and Lulu's software forced a minimum of about $24  [Now try creating a 444 page premium paperback book but select "Sell on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more".  Now Lulu offers the ISBN page. I selected the "Add an ISBN you already own" option. Now, on the Pricing page, Lulu's minimum list price is $20.76. If I priced it at that, I would get $8.50 for each copy sold thru Lulu, and $0.00 from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I did not choose those figures; that's what Lulu's screen says. Because I wanted to make a couple of bucks for each copy of my book that Amazon sold, I raised the list price two dollars and found that my share would be (wait for it) $.0.80 (eighty cents). So, to make $2 on my book I had to up the list price to from $20.76 to $25.95, which gives me $2.08 per book. I have marked it down 25% because I have from the beginning wanted it to cost readers less than $20. When Lulu sells a copy at the reduced price of $19.46, I get $7.46. But when Amazon sells that same book, they charge $25.95 (or less if they want to), and I get $2.08. One reason I chose Lulu over other POD publishing sites is their generous author slice of the pie. (Another reason I chose Lulu is their FABULOUS collection of helpful articles and posts from the folks at Lulu, and their GREAT user support base, including you, Kevin. I've learned a lot from your posts.)]

     

    It's not forcing anything. It's that much due to what profit you have added to that Cost of $10.  [Lulu forces a minimum list price of $20.76 for my book, and at that price I don't make ANYTHING if Amazon sells it.]

     

    so companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble could track the book and make money.

     

    Track? In what way?  [Everyone in the book business uses barcodes now to differentiate and account for books. Different books may have the same title or author, but they can't have the same ISBN barcode. Retailers won't sell a book they can't track. For example, they sometimes want to see where it is selling and where it is not.]

     

    (I have no problem with them making money.)

     

    But it does seem as though you have.  [My wife was in retail. I know about "keystone", and I don't mind that the price kind of doubles at every stage of the commercial pipeline. Everyone has to eat. If you check the figures in my scenarios above, it kind of doubles from my $2 to Lulu's $4 to printer's $8, and I have no problem with that even though you think I do. Don't believe everything you think. What I am pointing out is that Amazon gets $20 of the $26 list price I have set for my 444 page premium quality softcover book, and they can't afford to change cloth or lettering color or put a matte finish on a dust jacket. And you are defending them. Wow.]

     

    But in order for ME to make any money, I had to charge about $26.

     

     Why? Your book is only costing $10 at Lulu's Cost price ... Just adding $1 is also making money, and you may sell more. (People will want to buy it in the first place, though.)  [Lulu's cost price is not the issue. The issue is what the software allows as my share of the list price. And remember the example above: Adding two dollars to the price only got me an increase of 80 cents in revenue.]

     

    At that price I make about $2 per book,

     

    ... and you say you are adding $7.50 to that, not $2. [See my examples above. When Lulu sells my book I get $7.46; when Amazon sells it I get $2.08.  I can send you screen shots of Lulu's creator pages if you want.]

     

    and Lulu gets about $4 or a little more, and the printer gets about $8 or a little more, because it still costs only $10 or a little more to print the book and pay Lulu. At a $26 retail list price, then, the retailer gets about $( 26 - 2 - 4 - 8 ) or $12. ...So here's my question, Paul: Since Amazon prints my soft cover book themselves, aren't they grossing $20 dollars on my $26 book? After all, they get not only the retail $12 but also the printer's $8.

     

    But that's a fact of life. Retailers always get more than the actual manufacturer. People would be shocked at the factory door cost of all products and what retailers then sell them for. The fact that a retailer may own, as a subsidiary, one of those factories is irrelevant, it's just a way of business to not have to pay the profits of a supplier, but to also pocket those profits themselves. One instance is a newspaper magnet who also owns the forests the ball starts rolling in.  [Yep, you're right there. By the way, it's "magnate" not "magnet", but you probably know that. Anyway, I make mistakes like that too. There's probbly at least one typo or wrong word in what I've written here.]

     

    Are they so strapped for cash that they can't afford to change hard-cover cloth color, or lettering color, or print a matte finished dust jacket? Maybe they just enjoy being the 800 pound gorilla.

     

    It's nothing to do with that. It's to do with the capabilities of the machines available and the potential cost of having to keep changing what they use as materials, which, along with the manhours of swapping and changing would add even more to the cost of the product. You are forgetting that this is POD, not the mass printing of 1000s of books at a time. Do you suggest they buy another machine costing up to $1,000,000 just so they can offer more options that few people care about? Which would make all POD books cost more because they would want such machines to pay for themselves ASAP. Cost is spread throughout a company's entire overheads.  [Other printers can make the POD changes I want without changing the price, why can't Amazon?]

     

         I'll bet that if I refused to go retail, and stayed with selling on Lulul only, and the book became a best-seller, some Amazon mouthpiece would spread a rumor that I'm greedy because I want $7.50 instead of $2 for each book,

     

    Why would they do that if you are only selling on a Lulu Spotlight? And to be frank, I do think you have added too much to the Cost.  [Things are worth only what someone else is willing to pay. How do you know it's not worth $19.46? Have you read the book?]

     

    a book I worked on for many, many hours since before 1990.

     

    If we attempted to 'charge' by the hour for what it takes us to create our books then our books would have to have a 5000% mark-up, at least!  As an example, take Ford. $Billions spent and up to 5 years to come up with a new model.  Could they then sell at Bentley prices to get their efforts back ASAP? Hardly. They set their price to appeal to the mass market so that they sell 10,000s a year, not just a few 100. They design towards that end. Average book sales are surprising low, and that's at mass-printing prices, independent POD book sales are even less. That has to be taken in to account when considering ever getting your costs and even efforts back. But you may sell far more if your price is on a par with all other books on the market, and do not forget that after a publisher gets their initial costs back they often drop the price. That's why you can see huge hard-backed full-colour books with a price tag of $40 on them, retailing at $5 after a few years!  [Yep. that's true. But I'm not mass-producing books. I have just the one at the moment, although I'm working on a sequel. I would like to get $0.00037 per hour for on my first one and maybe get $0.00085 per hour on the next one since I'm a bit more practiced and experienced. Let's see how my books are selling in five years.]

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Thanks for your responses, Kevin. It is a pleasure to explain things more clearly [in red]:


    Before I start, what is your book? Fact or fiction? Facts that are exclusive? Facts that only a minority want and are willing to pay for them? All of those make a huge difference to the price people are willing to pay.    Some will argue about that for ever, but it's a marketing fact. [My question to Paul was not about pricing factors or what others were willing to pay,

     

    But my question to you was.

     

    but about the percentage Amazon takes from whatever they do pay. Is Amazon really grossing $20 on a $26 book?]

     

    From what I can see from my own books, 'Everywhere Else' add around 50% to the Lulu Cost. I am just looking at one of mine on both my Spotlight and on Amazon, and they are the same price.  However, for 'Everywhere Else' I have only added £0.53p as my profit. The price I have set is £6.99 and the Min is £5.66.

     

    When I wanted to put my own ISBN on the cover I had to price it for retail sales, [Try creating a 444 page premium paperback book but select "Sell on Lulu only".

     

    I have published many books.

     

    The cost of such a book to an author is $10.13 and must be priced higher to recover shipping costs and make any profit.

     

    But you only pay shipping costs if it's you actually buying the book, and if you are buying your own books then you only pay Cost (plus shipping). It's not added to the retail price unless shipping is 'free'.

     

    The software won't let authors attach an ISBN,

     

    Well, no if you select sell only on Lulu then it will not because you do not need an ISBN.

     

    and it recommends a price of $15.13

     

    Well you do not have to use that recommendation.

     

    (giving us a flat $4,

     

    That's far more than you would get per book if you have a contract with some publisher.

     

    out of which we pay shipping and other expenses).

     

    Huh? If you are wanting to add the cost of shipping to the retail price to allow for the cost of shipping, then when you buy the book, you will be paying shipping twice. And so will all other buyers.

     

    Instead, I selected a selling price of $19.95 because $xx.95 is normal,

     

    Normal for what?

     

    and because I wanted to give a discount at the start (We can always reduce the price, but raising it is not a good idea).

     

    It's also not a good idea because prices Everywhere Else it still based on the non-discount price. I once tried marking up the price to then discount it, and it then looked too expensive on other sites.

     

    But the wider-than-Lulu retail marketplace requires an ISBN, so Lulu won't put an ISBN on the cover of a paperback or dust jacket of a hardback book unless authors select "Sell on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more". Because I wanted an ISBN on the cover, I had to price it for sales beyond the Lulu marketplace.]

     

    If you own an ISBN you can stick it on the covers yourself regardless of if you use Lulu Dist.

     

    In what way? If you are almost adding 100% profit then that is hardly setting a price for retail sales on retail sites because they will also add their profit to that, making it a very expensive book.  [The percentage of revenue coming to me depends on whether a book sells on Lulu or "Everywhere Else".]

     

    Indeed, but you still set the initial markup.

     

    and Lulu's software forced a minimum of about $24  [Now try creating a 444 page premium paperback book but select "Sell on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more".  Now Lulu offers the ISBN page. I selected the "Add an ISBN you already own" option. Now, on the Pricing page, Lulu's minimum list price is $20.76. If I priced it at that,

     

    I am fiddling with the options and it shows me a cost of  $14.77 for a 444 page US Letter size paperback. (You don't actually say what size you book is.)

     

    I would get $8.50 for each copy sold thru Lulu, and $0.00 from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

     

    You do not have to use that suggested price. But it surprises me that such a percentage on the Cost makes nothing on other sites.

     

    I did not choose those figures; that's what Lulu's screen says. Because I wanted to make a couple of bucks for each copy of my book that Amazon sold, I raised the list price two dollars and found that my share would be (wait for it) $.0.80 (eighty cents).

     

    So? I am not sure what you are complaining about.

     

    So, to make $2 on my book I had to up the list price to from $20.76 to $25.95, which gives me $2.08 per book.

     

    But why do you have to make that much? Is it not best to sell more but make less per book?

     

    I have marked it down 25% because I have from the beginning wanted it to cost readers less than $20.

     

    Using Lulu's Discount tool? Which only applies to the Spotlights.

     

    When Lulu sells a copy at the reduced price of $19.46, I get $7.46. But when Amazon sells that same book, they charge $25.95 (or less if they want to), and I get $2.08.

     

    That's the way it goes. (And it does look as if you are using the Lulu Discount tool.) I write fiction and I am not stupid enough to think that I am not competing with famous fiction writers, so I set a price to compete, which is not easy because POD is expensive.

     

    One reason I chose Lulu over other POD publishing sites is their generous author slice of the pie.

     

    But still no control over what retail sites sell them for, any more than if you made tins of beans.

     

    (Another reason I chose Lulu is their FABULOUS collection of helpful articles and posts from the folks at Lulu, and their GREAT user support base, including you, Kevin. I've learned a lot from your posts.)]

     

    Gosh. I am blushing.

     

    It's not forcing anything. It's that much due to what profit you have added to that Cost of $10.  [Lulu forces a minimum list price of $20.76 for my book, and at that price I don't make ANYTHING if Amazon sells it.]

     

    I still have no idea why your book Costs so much. You did say paperback?

     

    so companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble could track the book and make money.

     

    Track? In what way?  [Everyone in the book business uses barcodes now to differentiate and account for books. Different books may have the same title or author, but they can't have the same ISBN barcode. Retailers won't sell a book they can't track. For example, they sometimes want to see where it is selling and where it is not.]

     

    They use ISBNs for the ordering of books mainly (they include publisher source.) POS barcodes are a different animal.

     

    (I have no problem with them making money.)

     

    But it does seem as though you have.  [My wife was in retail. I know about "keystone",

     

    That just means a 100% markup, not a markup in general.

     

    and I don't mind that the price kind of doubles at every stage of the commercial pipeline. Everyone has to eat. If you check the figures in my scenarios above, it kind of doubles from my $2 to Lulu's $4 to printer's $8, and I have no problem with that even though you think I do.

     

    But it does sound as if you do.

     

    Don't believe everything you think.

     

    If I don't, who will?  Smiley Very Happy

     

    What I am pointing out is that Amazon gets $20 of the $26 list price I have set for my 444 page premium quality softcover book,

     

    I don't see how that's possible when the Cost is around $15 (and not counting your added profit.) That's $11 Amazon are adding is it not? Not $20.

     

    and they can't afford to change cloth or lettering color or put a matte finish on a dust jacket. And you are defending them. Wow.]

     

    Read what I said. It would add far more to the Cost if they add more and more options. I am 'defending' them out of common sense. Would you want the Cost to increase by 30% I doubt it.

     

    But in order for ME to make any money, I had to charge about $26.

     

     Why? Your book is only costing $10 at Lulu's Cost price ... Just adding $1 is also making money, and you may sell more. (People will want to buy it in the first place, though.)  [Lulu's cost price is not the issue. The issue is what the software allows as my share of the list price. And remember the example above: Adding two dollars to the price only got me an increase of 80 cents in revenue.]

     

    I look at the competitive price and set the Everywhere Else retail price to try to be so, if it then says I will only make $0.50c, then so be it.

     

    At that price I make about $2 per book,

     

    ... and you say you are adding $7.50 to that, not $2. [See my examples above. When Lulu sells my book I get $7.46; when Amazon sells it I get $2.08.  I can send you screen shots of Lulu's creator pages if you want.]

     

    and Lulu gets about $4 or a little more, and the printer gets about $8 or a little more, because it still costs only $10 or a little more to print the book and pay Lulu. At a $26 retail list price, then, the retailer gets about $( 26 - 2 - 4 - 8 ) or $12. ...So here's my question, Paul: Since Amazon prints my soft cover book themselves, aren't they grossing $20 dollars on my $26 book? After all, they get not only the retail $12 but also the printer's $8.

     

    But that's a fact of life. Retailers always get more than the actual manufacturer. People would be shocked at the factory door cost of all products and what retailers then sell them for. The fact that a retailer may own, as a subsidiary, one of those factories is irrelevant, it's just a way of business to not have to pay the profits of a supplier, but to also pocket those profits themselves. One instance is a newspaper magnet who also owns the forests the ball starts rolling in.  [Yep, you're right there. By the way, it's "magnate" not "magnet", but you probably know that. Anyway, I make mistakes like that too. There's probbly at least one typo or wrong word in what I've written here.]

     

    Are they so strapped for cash that they can't afford to change hard-cover cloth color, or lettering color, or print a matte finished dust jacket? Maybe they just enjoy being the 800 pound gorilla.

     

    It's nothing to do with that. It's to do with the capabilities of the machines available and the potential cost of having to keep changing what they use as materials, which, along with the manhours of swapping and changing would add even more to the cost of the product. You are forgetting that this is POD, not the mass printing of 1000s of books at a time. Do you suggest they buy another machine costing up to $1,000,000 just so they can offer more options that few people care about? Which would make all POD books cost more because they would want such machines to pay for themselves ASAP. Cost is spread throughout a company's entire overheads.  [Other printers can make the POD changes I want without changing the price, why can't Amazon?]

     

    Why not use those then? But do those others also try to fulfill orders as close as possible to the buyer's address, any buyer, to try to keep the cost of shipping down? Or do they only use one local POD company? Lulu have to offer options that any one of the POD printers that they use (in around five countries I think) are capable of. Lulu's ISBNs do not only place us on to Amazon, so what Createspace can do or not is irrelevant also.

     

         I'll bet that if I refused to go retail, and stayed with selling on Lulul only, and the book became a best-seller, some Amazon mouthpiece would spread a rumor that I'm greedy because I want $7.50 instead of $2 for each book,

     

    Why would they do that if you are only selling on a Lulu Spotlight? And to be frank, I do think you have added too much to the Cost. [Things are worth only what someone else is willing to pay.

     

    Ermm, yes, in a competitive market.

     

    How do you know it's not worth $19.46? Have you read the book?]

     

    I have no idea, I did ask you at the start of this reply what it is, and why I asked, but you did not answer. A link to it would be handy also.

     

    a book I worked on for many, many hours since before 1990.

     

    If we attempted to 'charge' by the hour for what it takes us to create our books then our books would have to have a 5000% mark-up, at least!  As an example, take Ford. $Billions spent and up to 5 years to come up with a new model.  Could they then sell at Bentley prices to get their efforts back ASAP? Hardly. They set their price to appeal to the mass market so that they sell 10,000s a year, not just a few 100. They design towards that end. Average book sales are surprising low, and that's at mass-printing prices, independent POD book sales are even less. That has to be taken in to account when considering ever getting your costs and even efforts back. But you may sell far more if your price is on a par with all other books on the market, and do not forget that after a publisher gets their initial costs back they often drop the price. That's why you can see huge hard-backed full-colour books with a price tag of $40 on them, retailing at $5 after a few years! [Yep. that's true. But I'm not mass-producing books. I have just the one at the moment,

     

    I meant the printing of one book using mass-production, not churning out stories by the dozen.

     

    although I'm working on a sequel. I would like to get $0.00037 per hour for on my first one and maybe get $0.00085 per hour on the next one since I'm a bit more practiced and experienced. Let's see how my books are selling in five years.]

     

    Well you do have to do something towards that end. People will not buy anything unless they know it's available, at a competitive price, and worth buying.

  • So here's my question, Paul: Since Amazon prints my soft cover book themselves, aren't they grossing $20 dollars on my $26 book? After all, they get not only the retail $12 but also the printer's $8. Are they so strapped for cash that they can't afford to change hard-cover cloth color, or lettering color, or print a matte finished dust jacket? Maybe they just enjoy being the 800 pound gorilla.


    So, the short answer is yes, retailers like Amazon make more per book than Lulu. Part of the retail agreement means that we have to set the list price minimum to match the minimum retailers will charge (hence the higher minimum price). 

     

    The requirements (such as only using blue linen) for different formats is another aspect we simply have to comply to in order to distribute. Why retailers want only a single color for print on demand, I can't say exactly, but I can speculate that retailers want their margin to be as high as possible on POD books, as some will be listed for years and years without any sales. If it were up to us, we'd happily distribute all of our formats to all retailers for you.

     

    But, as Kevin mentioned, you'll still make a higher revenue on Lulu, and your price as the author stays at the cost to manufacture (plus shipping). Adding retailers provides broader reach, but at the cost of earnings. You'll still be making more per book than mass market books, and driving traffic through Lulu.com still gets you a much higher return on your sales. That's just the nature of print on demand.

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