Thursday, 31 March 2011

Kindle vs. paperback: my experience

Hi, all

As I'm waiting for my proof-copy of Excuse me, where is the exit?, I thought I'd give an overview of my experience.

Kindle: formatting is a bit of a fiddle-job, but there are some really useful threads on authonomy who helped me a great deal. Uploading is simple, the publishing process has got some terms I didn't understand, but are explained. All in all, quite a simple process. The customer support is amazing. You can upload your book today and can earn money tomorrow, though they say it takes up to three days. I'm happy with kindle. 

Paperback: I went with Lulu based on recommendation. The formatting issue is a bit of a pain, but I managed with the help of friends. They offer different sizes, but non of them really appealed to me. So I went with a size that is popular (6x9) to keep the costs down.

Now, they have the option 'global reach', which means you get an ISBN number and pay something in the region of £ 48 or $60 to get your book on amazon and other outlets. I've decided against it, because I don't earn anything from this book. All proceeds go to Japan.

So I didn't pay anything in advance. Customers now have to order through Lulu's page and here's the big deal: the delivery costs are high. I've ordered five (thin) copies and the shipping cost is £6.99 which I feel is outrageous.
To me it seems Lulu or createspace (even bigger delivery costs at about £14) only are worth going with if you take the big package of global reach. 

Lulu price is £5.99 + shipping. If you'd like to purchase a paperback please contact me, I will not accept that people have to pay such a high price for shipping. My e-mail is shown on the right.)
You'll even get it signed by me. :-)

Maybe you have made some different experiences, please feel free to leave a comment below.


  1. Hi
    I replied your thread on Authonomy regarding Lulu and Amazon.

  2. Ooh, this is very interesting. I hadn't thought about this aspect of self-publishing before, but thanks for calling it to my attention. Very helpful for the future.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  3. Russell: I've answered, thanks for popping by :-)

    Sarah, glad I could shed some light onto it. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's only worth it if you know you will sell you book well to break eaven or make a profit.

  4. Interesting... about to do my first Kindle book 'flying solo' so glad you found it relatively stress-free. Depending on how it goes I'd want to do paperback too, so your comments re Lulu are slightly worrying me!

    Have you tried Nook format on Barnes and Noble? I've got a story on there but it was formatted by the people who published it, so no idea how similar it is to Kindle...

  5. Stella, I only pay £2.99 delivery costs on Lulu and the quality of their books is superb. If a book is priced properly and the delivery costs taken into consideration, then the total isn't any more than you'd pay in a shop.
    I cannot fault Lulu and they've done me proud on three books now.

  6. James,

    Yes, I found kindle relatively easy. No, I haven't tried Nook, might look into it. As to Lulu: I'm not too happy, but I think others might be. It's not the right choice if you don't want to invest money.

    Lorraine, you said in your mail you couldn't tick the 2.99 option, which means it would probably even more.

    If I calculate, a book like mine would cost about £6.99 in a shop. My book is 5.99 plus delivery. If it's 2.99 it would be 8.98, that's almost three pounds more than in a shop. I could go down with the price, but since it's a charity project, it wouldn't make sense.

    I must sit down and think.