Head-to-Head: Hardcover vs. Dust Jacket for Self-Published Books on Amazon and Beyond

Head-to-Head: Hardcover vs. Dust Jacket for Self-Published Books on Amazon and Beyond


In the era of self-publishing, it is crucial to create a high-quality and visually appealing book that stands out in the market. The content creator of this article has worked with four different authors, comparing the quality, cost, and fulfillment time among Ingramspark, Lulu, Barnes and Noble Press, and Blurb. For this episode, they will be ordering a hardcover with dust jacket from these platforms for Mel Kepler’s debut novel, Resonate. This article will help authors to choose the best option for their book with a head-to-head comparison of hardcover and dust jacket for self-published books on Amazon and other platforms.

Comparison of Platforms


Ingramspark offers four trim sizes on different types of paper, two digital cloth cover variations, and jacketed case laminate. They also provide a direct pipeline to Ingram Book Group, which puts the book in front of over 39,000 retailers globally, including Amazon. However, Ingramspark has a reputation for slow printing and shipping times.


Lulu offers the most selection for hardcover with dust jacket, with up to 16 trim sizes and various color and stamp options. Lulu also has printing locations in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, with fast printing and shipping times. However, Lulu can be more expensive than other platforms, and its interface is not the easiest to use.

Barnes and Noble Press

Barnes and Noble Press only distributes to barnesandnoble.com and the US, and they offer four trim sizes on 50-70 pound white or cream paper. Barnes and Noble Press also has a feature of adding your book in-store for a month for visibility, which can be an excellent opportunity for new authors. However, the platform has fewer customizations compared to other platforms.


Blurb provides numerous options for book customization, including photo books, trade books, and magazines, and distributing through Amazon and Ingram Book Group. Blurb offers superior paper quality and unique trim sizes with finishing options for a professional appearance. However, Blurb can be expensive, especially for hardcover with dust jacket, and can also have longer printing and shipping times.

Pricing and Discounts

Most of the platforms offer a wholesale discount for retailers, ranging from 45-70% minus print fees. For self-published authors, the retail price is essential to cover the printing cost and maintain profits. After comparing the printing cost, retail prices, and discounts offered, the platforms show a substantial price difference.

The Decision: Hardcover or Dust Jacket?

There are pros and cons to both hardcover and dust jacket for self-published books. A hardcover can make the book look more prestigious, and it also offers more durability and protection. On the other hand, a well-designed dust jacket can create a beautiful, eye-catching cover that can peak a reader’s interest.


  1. Can I use Kindle Direct Publishing for printing a hardcover with dust jacket? – No, KDP only offers paperback for printing, making it unsuitable for our comparison.
  2. Which platform offers the most customizations for hardcover with dust jacket? – Lulu provides the most customizations with up to 16 trim sizes and various color and stamp options.
  3. Is there a difference in the printing quality among different platforms? – Yes, there are differences in paper quality, printing resolution, and color accuracy, depending on the platform and paper type you choose.
  4. How much does it cost per book on average? – The printing costs per book vary depending on the platform, trim size, paper type, and cover design. However, after comparing the platforms, Lulu is on the higher side, while Barnes and Noble Press is on the lower side.
  5. How long does it take to print and ship books from these platforms? – Printing and shipping times vary from platform to platform and are also affected by geographic location and shipping speed. Blurb is known for longer printing and shipping times, while Lulu and Barnes and Noble Press provide faster fulfillment times.


Choosing between hardcover and dust jacket for self-published books is a difficult decision that requires careful consideration of the book’s genre, design, and target audience. In conclusion, Lulu is an excellent option for self-publishing authors who value customizations and fast fulfillment times, while Blurb and Ingramspark are suitable for those who prioritize paper quality and color accuracy. Barnes and Noble Press is a budget-friendly option that provides decent quality with a limited set of customizations. Therefore, the final decision depends on your preferences, budget, and publishing goals.

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