1. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Fulfillment houses for self-publishers?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by JLT, Mar 25, 2016.

    Are there any fulfillment houses (the kind of outfit that fills orders for your stuff) that cater to books written by self-publishers?

    Some history here. I sold my first self-published book, about tents used in medieval recreations and Renaissance Fairs, using four venues: directly from my website, through Amazon, through an existing network of booksellers who specialized in that sort of topic, and via e-book (also Amazon). Only the last two venues have been really practical. The first two venues took up too much of my time, because I was mailing copies one or two or three at a time over a long period.

    My second book, on the VW bus, is almost finished. I'd like to self-publish that one, too. My market would be VW bus owners and restorers, who (I think) would prefer a hard-copy book over an e-book. The trouble is that there isn't, to my best knowledge, a network of bookstores and book wholesalers similar to the ones I used for the first book.

    I can handle the typesetting, printing, and promotion of the book, just like I did the last one. What I need is an agency I can give a case or two of books to. This agency would be the one collecting payment and mailing out the copies, for which service they would receive a set price (maybe a third of the price of the book). Has anybody in the forum here used a service like this? If so, who was it, how did it go, and would you recommend it?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Use Createspace. Amazon owned. Easy to use.
     
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  3. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Well, I tried Amazon. It worked well at first, with them ordering five copies of the book. But as sales dwindled, they only wanted to warehouse one or two copies, and when those copies sold, I had to replace them one or two at a time, at my expense for shipping to their distribution center. Even with media mail, the trips to the post office ate up too much of my time. I decided that Amazon really has no interest in titles that can't be sold quickly. Not bad on them ... they've got a business model that works ... but they're not what I need.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, I said Createspace.
     
  5. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, CreateSpace sounds pretty much like exactly what you need. POD publisher, they'll print a copy of your book when it gets sold and send it out to the customer.

    You could do the same thing through regular print shops, but unless you're doing them in bulk (been a while since I had to deal with this, but IIRC we're talking runs of 500 or so) it'd probably cost you significantly more per unit than people were paying for the book.
     
  6. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, OP needs a new avatar. I keep seeing it and thinking @Steerpike has been possessed.
     
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  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    OP, it's pretty rare for a self-published author to do a print run, so I think that's why you're going to have trouble finding a mechanism set up for that approach.

    Is there a reason you don't want to do POD, or were you just not aware of the option?
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I have a friend who used Lulu as the print-on-demand option, and he says they're great. I was very impressed with the print quality of his book that I own, and also the price of it. Worth looking into.

    They also provide a free ISBN number.
     
  9. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I originally went the print shop route because it was the only way I could think of to bring the cost of the book down.

    Thanks for the recommendation of CreateSpace. I'll check it out.

    And I'll re-visit Lulu. When I last checked them out, there were some issues with print quality, but if they've improved, then they may be a possibility.

    Thanks all for your comments. (And as for my avatar, I've had that for years on other forums, and wasn't aware of @Steerpike's. The cat is one I had some years ago, named Sable. A sweet cat, despite the picture, and sorely missed.)
     
  10. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've used Createspace for almost a year with both of my finished books and found that it works great for my currently low sales volumes. I don't know how well their POD model will work if I suddenly start selling 1000's of copies, but more successful self publishers might know.
     
  11. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Thanks again, everybody, for your responses. It looks indeed like CreateSpace is the way to go. It got me wondering, though, if there are other services now that do the same thing, and compete with CreateSpace/Amazon.
    I'm still trying to sort things out with Bowker about whether an ISBN they sold me nine years ago is still valid, and whether it makes sense to set up a publishing business (again -- the other one lapsed) or just use the ISBNs that CreateSpace provide. But that's another issue, really.
     

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