For Print-on-Demand Books:This series will only deal with printing services that are print-on-demand. The definition of "print-on-demand" is a system that allows users to upload their print-ready files onto a cloud storage server connected to printers in multiple countries. These printers may be owned by the company, or they may just be partnerships. When an order is placed through the system, the cloud server will choose the printer closest to the location of the order, and print it there. The main advantage of POD is that it circumvents the cost of International shipping by printing at the closest location to where a book is going to be delivered.Note:
I will be discussing these platforms in more detail in upcoming posts. One must remember before using these platforms is that each has its own quirks. If you want to produce a book that can be printed across ALL these platforms, you must know these quirks and how to navigate them.
The earliest print-on-demand service, and now a pretty good one. I was messing around with Lulu as early as 2008, and back then, the quality fluctuated in frightening ways. Print-on-demand is STILL a new technology, and only in 2015 can I say that it has gotten reliable. Lulu is a good service for a beginner.
- Amazon Createspace
Amazon's main advantage is that it's connected to Amazon's massive online retail presence, and you can also put out a Kindle ebook along with it. It's cheap, easy and gives out free ISBNs, but it has the most obnoxious print-ready file requirements out of the three POD services. If you want to self-publish using CS, make sure you understand that bit about INNER GUTTERS and PAGE COUNT.
My new favourite printing platform. IS is as cheap as CS and easy to use, but it's not for beginners. Like Lulu and CS, it's free to join, but it's geared towards actual publishers, so therefore you have to bring-your-own ISBN and your own print-ready files. There's not much help available for those who don't understand how to prepare a print-ready file (but there isn't for Lulu either).
Ebook platforms are constantly going boom and bust these days, so the only platform I would trust is Amazon Kindle (and Comixology, owned by Amazon), and Smashwords. The others, Kobo, Nook, etc I won't list, because who knows whether they'll be around in a few year's time?
- Amazon Kindle
The Amazon Kindle charges a 15c fee for each MB over 1MB, UNLESS you choose the 35% royalty option rather than the standard 70% royalty option. So you can betcha that if you're a comic book artist, you'll be forced to take the 35% royalty option. Is Amazon squeezing comic book artists who publish ebooks? Of course they are!
Comixology was a good platform until they got bought up by Amazon. The day that happened, customers who used their Comixology app on their iPhones and iPads to read/buy suddenly found they couldn't buy anything through their apps anymore, and they have to use the regular Comixology website to buy their ebooks. Obviously this pissed off a lot of people, and it's why I don't use Comixology. So all I can do is point at it and say that it exists.
The only problem I have with Smashwords is that it's geared towards prose publishers, NOT comics publishers. Its upload limit is a paltry 10MB, which can go up to 20MB for ebooks, which is STILL nowhere near enough for comic book artists. Apart from that, it's a good service - taking only a small percentage (15%), and distributing your books to other ebook platforms. It's also managed to not sell out to Amazon, despite Amazon trying to buy it for a long time, which gives it some credibility.