Why I Chose CreateSpace after first publishing with Lulu

Lulu royalty for my books sold on Amazon: $0.22
CreateSpace royalty for my books sold on Amazon: $7

Lulu requires you to order and pay for a proof of copy for author verification, which aside from spending extra money each proof took 2.5 weeks to receive.
CreateSpace does not require you to pay for and ship a proof of copy - while that is an option, you can verify this digitally online and immediately for free.

99.9% of my customers bought through the Amazon site. (40 sold)
<0.1% of my customers bought on Lulu.com (1 sold).

Last reason: It's really about the royalty and time & cost savings in the end.  I would have really liked to have had $280 in my pocket instead of splitting my royalties with Lulu and Amazon and because I published with Lulu I received $9 total, and I sold 40 copies! I have now taken down my book from Lulu and it is now selling exclusively on Amazon via CreateSpace, and I get $7 royalties.

I don't know if this message will be moderated and removed, but it means a lot to me to be able to share my experience with others who wish to compare these services, because in the end it's all about money guys - and whether it is your pocket, Lulu's pocket, or CreateSpace's pocket - it's up to you. 

Justin (aka wolfcorgi)
June 2nd, 2018

Comments

  • I should add that those numbers were taken over a 2-month period with a listed price of $18.95.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    This is all well and good, but I have to ask (as I ask everyone who chooses to take this route), why did you decide to self-publish at all? If, as you say, it is "all about money," I wonder what influenced you to pursue self-publishing?


    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • TheJesusNinjaTheJesusNinja Teacher
    edited June 2018
    Also with Lulu.com the books are listed not only at Amazon but worldwide at various online bookstore. I think with Amazon you are stuck with just Amazon. So yes you might make a bigger profit per sale, but exposure and the chance of selling is bigger with lulu.com. So making money selling in volume can overcome the larger profit of just selling on Amazon alone. One of my books averages about 45 to 70 a month on Amazon but then sells another 20 to 30 in the "other" outlets offered by Lulu.com. So without that I'd only make the 70 sales. That's just one book of course.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    If I recall correctly, to get an ISBN at Createspace you have to pay for it, otherwise it is as Rick says, it's just on Amazon. I also see no problem with buying a Proof. It's called that for a reason.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    If I recall correctly, to get an ISBN at Createspace you have to pay for it, otherwise it is as Rick says, it's just on Amazon. I also see no problem with buying a Proof. It's called that for a reason.
    Exactly. There is a big difference between checking a PDF file and the actual printed product.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I'm always suspicious of posts which appear on one website's forum, telling people to go to a different website.

    While it is possible that WolfCorgi is sharing this from the kindness of his heart, to help us poor blind souls who know no better, it is also possible that WolfCorgi has an ax to grind against Lulu or has a vested interest in Createspace. I hesitate to assume that anyone would post insincerely, but I also hesitate to take this thread at face value.

    Curiouser and Curiouser, said Alice.
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    edited June 2018
    Everything wolfcorgi said is true. Createspace distributes worldwide, not just on Amazon, and the ISBNs are free.

    What I can't figure out is why print books sell better using Lulu distribution even though they are much much more expensive.

    I have been publishing at both places for years, and comparing.

    The things that lulu offers and Createspace doesn't: The ability to split royalties and hardcover books with distribution. Plus, even though I'll still use it, the Createspace perfect bound paper is yellow. Lulu paper is cream. 

    I wish it were possible for Lulu to lower their print cost.
     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    One more thing, Lulu offers huge discounts, like BOOKSHIP18 or SHIPIT2018.

    Free shipping and an additional 10% off.

    For the above reasons, I just can't give them up. Plus the emotional component. I started here. I made friends here.
     A citizen of the world.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    If I recall correctly, to get an ISBN at Createspace you have to pay for it, otherwise it is as Rick says, it's just on Amazon. I also see no problem with buying a Proof. It's called that for a reason.
    If you pay for an ISBN at Createspace, I hope it actually belongs to you. For instance, you can get a free ISBN at Lulu...but the ISBN actually belongs to Lulu, who is then listed as the nominal publisher of the book.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I wasn't aware that Amazon distributed worldwide, I thought it was only their sites worldwide. The only thing I do like better about them is that their cover wizard seems to be a lot better than lulu's. But as Paul said they are working on it. Proofs aren't really that badly priced either. Last month I got one for around $2.70 and free shipping. Lulu supports sends me 25% discount codes all the time when I write and need some help with something. I think overall it evens out. And as Maggie said some of us have made friends here and gained a lot of help from them.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Everything wolfcorgi said is true. Createspace distributes worldwide, not just on Amazon, and the ISBNs are free.

    That does seem to be the case. The $25 fee was waved in 2013! That lists you in a database, I assume as Lulu do. There are other options. The next costs $99 and for that you get to be named as the publisher and can take the ISBN with you if you stop using Createspace. The next is your own ISBN, and they cost $125 each.

    But even without an ISBN on Amazon, they list worldwide, anyway, but 'only' on Amazon.

    If you use Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, as I do, it seems you cannot have an ISBN for them, unless you supply your own.

  • wolfcorgiwolfcorgi Reader
    edited June 2018
    Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone. It seems the questions were answered about worldwide distribution and ISBN details.

    Mr. Miller - I did pursue having my book published by other local, national, and international publishers but it didn't pass the test I guess. It has found its niche in local Seattle stores quite nicely, and it wouldn't have done so had I not taken the self-publishing route. Hopefully one day it will reach some eyes that will sign it to a larger distribution contract.

    Skoob_ym: My intention is to share my experience that others may glean - I hope that it doesn't come across as an attack on Lulu, but rather a presentation of events as I witnessed them. I am aware that a post such as this would draw criticism on this forum especially because of the title, and I welcome your skepticism and restraint, but I am neither a Bot or a person with vested interest in CreateSpace or with malicious intent toward Lulu. I just wish I chose CreateSpace in the first place. I do feel a little sour that either Lulu or Amazon got to keep such a large portion of each sale on work that I put many hours of my time, passion, and energy into, when in the end I made $0.22 out of an $18.95 sale on 40 copies sold.

    Em_press: thank you for your comments. Also, that's a great moniker.
    Just Kevin: thanks for your insights.
    TheJesusNinja: I wish my proofs were $2.70 with free shipping like yours was. Mine were around $12. I'm in agreement with you that the forum here is great for a multitude of reasons, including friendships and the knowledge base.
  • I'm glad that you understand my caution.
  • In recent years, I have changed tack regarding how I try to sell books. I now favour buying in stock and selling on to shops and individuals directly. I still need an ISBN to do that so I go the whole hog re distribution, but then take advantage of Lulu's base price for authors. Createspace probably is a little cheaper for this too, but at this level it is negligible, and because it does not concern me, I consider things at this point as being even between Lulu and Createspace. Here, for me, is where Lulu zoom into the lead. There is immediate and total access to one's projects; revising is a lot more easier, especially on the eye, than doing so on Createspace. The cover options suit me fine, and I have never found it problematic, either the standard process or the one cover. I also constantly remind myself that the huge prices on Amazon for Lulu books is Amazon's doing, not Lulu's. There was a big stink some years back when changes were forced on Lulu, which of course meant an adverse impact for us. I feel like shouting 'It is not Lulu's fault!'; when people complain about Lulu book prices on Amazon and elsewhere being ridiculously high. This is why I have stayed with Lulu since day one, even when dabbling elsewhere. OK, grab yourself a pair of ruby slippers, knock ankles three times and all shout. . .
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I do feel a little sour that either Lulu or Amazon got to keep such a large portion of each sale on work that I put many hours of my time, passion, and energy into,

    But that is the case with almost all retail products, unless you sell 'direct from the (your) factory.'

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Not that I have ever seen one, but many people say that books printed by Createspace are a lower quality than ones printed by Lulu's printers. Then again, I think that Lulu originated books sold via Amazon are printed by Createspace, anyway. 
  • Hey all,

    I've been on vacation a few days, so I'm just now getting caught up on some of these threads. I'd missed this one initially, but I have few things to weigh in on.

    First off, if I had noticed this before comments started to roll in, it would have been closed as a violation of the Forum Rules (specifically #14). Now that we have some discussion here, I'm less inclined to close it. The relevant point here is that a discussion of pricing is fine, but a title that reads like a blog post meant to promote CreateSpace is a violation and should be avoided.

    Second, the question of revenue and who gets that disproportionate amount of the sale price. It's the retailer. You can see in our documentation that Lulu makes a flat 20% on your earnings no matter the platform. Amazon cuts deeply into the margin with their wholesale pricing to create the very situation you see in this thread - an author with sales primarily on Amazon is being driven to use an Amazon product. No surprises there.

    Finally, I don't want to discourage these kinds of conversations, so please feel free to continue to discuss the competitive market of self-publishing options available, just be try to be careful not to frame the post or comment as an advert.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    The entire cost of POD books can be depressing and surely a worry for those who take it up thinking they will make a much needed wage from it. I have just noticed that price fluctuations, or whatever, can also eat away any profits 'elsewhere' if one does not keep an eye on them. I have just looked at one of my book's cost/pricing and although profits on Lulu for it are high, it's only because a high price has to be set for 'elsewhere' (Amazon) in order to make a bean. Obviously I had originally set it to make a little from sales on Amazon, but for some reason that now equates to $0. Nothing. Nowt. So in order to now make just 40c from Amazon I have had to reset it with a $1 increase. Making it a crazy price for A5 paperback fiction with just 280ish pages. And that's pre-taxes! Which is 20% on UK sales. (Used to be no taxes on books ...)
  • wildwindwildwind Publisher
    Hot air. If you are keen on making money , there is only one route to take. If you are on that road, you know it; if you aren't, nothing will take you there. To be able to compare, and comment, you really need to know what you are talking about.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Hot air. If you are keen on making money , there is only one route to take.

    What's that then? Rob a bank? Are you saying "you" as in general?

     If you are on that road, you know it; if you aren't, nothing will take you there.

    Huh?

     To be able to compare, and comment, you really need to know what you are talking about.

    I know that you are trollish.

  • wildwindwildwind Publisher

    How typical; Lulu's resident troll calls other people a troll!

    You have provided the most misinformation in this post. You do not need to purchase an ISBN over at the other place, nor is the quality pf the print inferior. It is perfectly acceptable and I continue to sell.


  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    The only problem with obtaining a "free" ISBN is that you are not the publisher of record. (Lulu and others purchase huge blocks  of ISBNs, which they can do at a very small unit price as compared to the $125 a single ISBN costs an individual publisher. Even 100 ISBNs costs only about $6 each...and Bowker offers packages of 100,000 and even a million or more. Companies like Lulu and CreateSpace can afford to give them away.)

    While not being the publisher of record may not be particularly important to most people since it probably doesn't affect sales particularly, it could be a very reasonable issue for some.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    How typical; Lulu's resident troll calls other people a troll!

    Do you actually publish here? Do you have a link to your books please?

    You have provided the most misinformation in this post. You do not need to purchase an ISBN over at the other place,

    Do you mean Amazon? I corrected my out of date assumption. Did you miss that? or just ignore it?

     nor is the quality pf the print inferior. It is perfectly acceptable and I continue to sell.

    To you it may be, but it is indeed a common complaint.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The only problem with obtaining a "free" ISBN is that you are not the publisher of record.

    That is indeed true, and on all sites it says that Lulu is the publisher, even though in principle they are not.

     (Lulu and others purchase huge blocks  of ISBNs, which they can do at a very small unit price as compared to the $125 a single ISBN costs an individual publisher.

    I will stick with a free one!

     Even 100 ISBNs costs only about $6 each...and Bowker offers packages of 100,000 and even a million or more. Companies like Lulu and CreateSpace can afford to give them away.)

    While not being the publisher of record may not be particularly important to most people since it probably doesn't affect sales particularly, it could be a very reasonable issue for some.

    If I recall correctly, when using one's own at Lulu, you had to be responsible for all the distribution. I don't think that's now the case. But I will still stick with a free one. 

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