4 Of The Best Online Print-On-Demand Book Publishers

Blurb 300   4 Of The Best Online Print On Demand Book PublishersDid you just promise yourself you’d write a book? Many of us make resolutions at this time of the year to finally start writing a novel or a picture book for children. If you’re one of the many, you’re probably not expecting a book deal. Rather, you’re just looking to get it written and put it out there for those who are interested in reading it.

If this kind of self publishing is for you, then a print-on-demand publisher is exactly what you’re looking for. You don’t need to spend much (or any) money upfront – all you really do is publicise your book and the buyers can get one made when they want it. Meanwhile, you could be making a small amount or a large amount in passive income and it hasn’t cost you much except your time spent writing. Sounds good?


Choosing your print-on-demand (POD) book publisher is another thing entirely. In the end, it comes down to your needs and your particular book. For instance, some publishers are better at printing novels or photography books than others. Some will give you better royalties, while others will do a better job of helping you with promotion. To help you choose, here’s a list of four of the best online print-on-demand book publishers and a few of their key features.

1. Lulu

Lulu is one of the larger publishers and will happily cater for many types of books. You can easily publish a novel, a cookbook, or simply create a photo book for your family. They have the ability to publish and sell eBooks on your behalf and claim to have the largest distribution channels of all online publishers. Useful free services include consultations, while paid services offered include cover design, ISBN purchasing and distribution. If you choose to sell in the Lulu Marketplace without an ISBN, your upfront costs are negligible.

You can also set your profits by choosing your own royalties and Lulu makes its money by taking a small cut from your sales. Lulu pays royalties via Paypal or cheque. Read more about publishing with Lulu here.

Lulu   4 Of The Best Online Print On Demand Book Publishers

2. Blurb

Blurb is well known for its full colour photography-based books, however it also offers a couple of black and white text novel options. You can either use their online software to prepare a book or you can upload a pre-prepared PDF. Whichever option you choose, there’s no upfront costs.

When you sell the book, Blurb takes a small fee. Plus, you can set your own prices and thereby choose your own profit margin. Blurb offers payments through PayPal.

Blurb   4 Of The Best Online Print On Demand Book Publishers

3. Wordclay

Wordclay offers a basic DIY publishing service which is free for publishers. If you wish to pay a modest fee, services such as editing, ISBNs and distribution are available to you as well.

Again, you can choose your own royalty and Wordclay takes a cut from your sales. Wordclay sends US cheques.

Wordclay   4 Of The Best Online Print On Demand Book Publishers

4. CreateSpace (aka Booksurge)

CreateSpace offers a DIY “no fees upfront” royalty-based publishing option to complement their regular publishing offers. They are actually part of the Amazon group of companies, so there’s no extra fees involved to distribute your book through Amazon. ISBNs can be obtained for free via CreateSpace.

CreateSpace also claim to offer the best royalties in the business “” plus they allow you to choose your own royalty. Royalties can be paid by US cheque or to a US bank account.

CreateSpace2   4 Of The Best Online Print On Demand Book Publishers

Words of Advice

When choosing your publisher, make sure you research well and ensure it’s a good fit for you before you commit your time and money or sign any agreements. Companies such as these do have the occasional unhappy customer but it’s not the norm. Here’s a few important things to look out for:

  • For non-US citizens, remember that different companies have different tax witholding requirements and that the cheque fees and your ability to deposit US cheques may de-value your earnings somewhat.
  • Having your book formally listed with an ISBN will often require you to ensure the quality of your book. This may require you to purchase a copy of your book each and every time you make a change (this can include price or directory changes). If you sign up for an ISBN, read the fine print, be prepared to purchase if required and don’t make changes to your book after this unless it’s very important.
  • No-frills DIY publishers will endeavour to make money from added extras such as cover art, editing and ISBNs. If you want to use these services, ensure you compare the prices between publishers and the cost of doing it yourself.

More about Self-Publishing and Writing

You might also like these articles on publishing and creating books:

If you’ve written your own book and have self-published, let us know about your experiences with the publishers. Who did you choose and why? Were there any unforseen problems? Were you happy with the book quality? Let us know in the comments!

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

20 Comments -

AMAppZON.com or AMAppSTORE.com

I like very very much this kind of online services!!!

the free on-demand books services are one of the best innovations born thanks to internet

I like also services like Scribd, but, unfortunately the Scribd Store still is open only to US users

AMAZING WEBSITES AND PROJECTS

I like very very much this kind of online services!!!

the free on-demand books services are one of the best innovations born thanks to internet

I like also services like Scribd, but, unfortunately the Scribd Store still is open only to US users

Angela Alcorn

Glad you like it – hope you get some use out of these!

Just Outsourcing

I’d also add that interested writers should also read forums that discuss these resources. These are of course, forums that these companies host themselves. Read the complaints and observe how the company responds. Should be a tell-all.

Angela Alcorn

Nice point! Thanks for sharing.

Bryan “bytehead” Price

I just need something to kick me in the ass to actually get it written. :/

Angela Alcorn

Have you tried Nanowrimo? Could help!

Kitkatkaity

I really wish I could find a POD printer that wouldn’t take cuts. You know like basically just a printer, not a publisher or distributor. I’d like to print out copies and them sell them myself. The printer should have a set price for printing the book and it shouldn’t matter how much I want to sell te book for because they are just printing it and deserve no profits from the actual sell. Does anyone know of the website to do that?

Angela Alcorn

I think there are a few around, but I haven’t properly researched them. From memory (which could be wrong), I think Blurb started as exactly that, but then they realised it would be possible to let people sell their creations via their website for extra sales.

In reality though, the prices from these POD printer/publishers aren’t that different from what a straight POD printer would be. From the printing perspective, it’s always going to cost more to print runs of different sizes, shapes and content rather than hundreds of the same book in one go. So, they’re going to pass those costs on to you.

Angela Alcorn

I think there are a few around, but I haven’t properly researched them. From memory (which could be wrong), I think Blurb started as exactly that, but then they realised it would be possible to let people sell their creations via their website for extra sales.

In reality though, the prices from these POD printer/publishers aren’t that different from what a straight POD printer would be. From the printing perspective, it’s always going to cost more to print runs of different sizes, shapes and content rather than hundreds of the same book in one go. So, they’re going to pass those costs on to you.

Short Run Books

Yes, to echo Angela’s point, straight POD printers are often marginally cheaper. However, some may be less willing to offer the same level of advice and guidance, as that is not the service which they are charging for.

Perhaps, if its your first time preparing preparing work for print, then it may well be worth employing a professional book designer, to gain some tips.

That said if design is not an issue, then printers such as Azimuth Print, and Biddles are worth checking out.

Short Run Books

Yes, to echo Angela’s point, straight POD printers are often marginally cheaper. However, some may be less willing to offer the same level of advice and guidance, as that is not the service which they are charging for.

Perhaps, if its your first time preparing preparing work for print, then it may well be worth employing a professional book designer, to gain some tips.

That said if design is not an issue, then printers such as Azimuth Print, and Biddles are worth checking out.

Angela Alcorn

Thanks for the tips!