Self-publishing has made it easier than ever for writers to get their books into the hands of readers. Gone are the days of needing a traditional publisher to publish a book, and with print-on-demand technology, the costs and risks of publishing have significantly decreased. However, choosing the right platform can still be overwhelming, especially when it comes to printing options. This article will compare the quality, cost, and fulfillment time of print-on-demand books from different self-publishing platforms for standard vs. premium color paperbacks.
The five self-publishing platforms compared in this article are Amazon KDP, Ingramspark, Lulu, Barnes & Noble Press, and Blurb. Each platform offers different options when it comes to printing, distribution, and pricing.
Standard vs. Premium Color
Standard color books are printed with four colors, while premium color books are printed with six colors, providing a wider range of colors and making images pop. Standard color is ideal for high page count books with fewer images, while premium color is best for image-heavy interiors like children’s books, cookbooks, or photography books.
The writer ordered standard color and premium color paperbacks from each of the five self-publishing platforms and compared the quality of the books, along with the cost and fulfillment time.
|Platform||Standard Color||Premium Color|
|Barnes & Noble Press||$4.84/book||N/A|
The results show that Amazon KDP is the cheapest option for both standard and premium color. However, the premium color book’s cost is significantly higher, making it the most expensive option. Ingramspark and Blurb are close in price for the premium option, making Lulu the most expensive.
When it comes to distribution, Amazon KDP distributes standard color paperbacks to 10 regions and premium color to 12 regions, with expanded distribution available through Ingram book group for both options. Ingramspark has the widest reach of all self-publishing platforms with a direct pipeline into Ingram book group, reaching tens of thousands of retailers, libraries, and schools.
Ingramspark offers the most trim size options with 30 for standard color and 22 for premium color, making it the best option for those looking for non-standard trim sizes. KDP and Barnes & Noble Press have fewer options but still offer a decent selection. Lulu offers a wide range of trim sizes, but not all sizes are available for both standard and premium color. Blurb has the fewest trim size options overall.
Proofs and Shipping
KDP is the cheapest option for proofs, with the standard color costing only $6 and the premium color costing $15. Ingramspark’s shipping is cheaper without tracking, but KDP has faster turnaround times, making it more practical for those under tight deadlines.
Each platform has its own limitations and options, so research should be done ahead of time to decide which platform is best for your book. Amazon KDP is the cheapest option but may not be the best for a higher quality book. Ingramspark has the widest reach and most trim size options, but their prices may be too high for some budgets. Lulu offers a wide range of trim sizes but is expensive overall. Barnes & Noble Press is a good option for those looking to sell their books in Barnes & Noble stores. Blurb has fewer options but still offers a decent selection and could be a good option for those looking for non-standard trim sizes.
- What is the difference between standard color and premium color when publishing a paperback?
- Which self-publishing platform has the highest quality printing for both standard and premium color paperbacks?
- What is the cheapest option for printing proofs for both standard and premium color paperbacks?
- Which self-publishing platform has the widest reach for distribution?
- How many trim size options does Ingramspark offer for both standard and premium color?