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Last updated on Dec 31, 2021

Print on Demand Books: The Best Services in 2022

Evaluating different print on demand services is no easy feat. There are so many crucial factors to consider: cost, quality, timeline, and distribution, to name a few. How can you know which company is best for print on demand books, and which one you should use as an author?

To help you out, we’ve streamlined the process by testing out the major print on demand services and reviewing them below! This post will cover KDP Print, IngramSpark, BookBaby, and Blurb, comparing their key features so you know just what to expect — and can confidently decide which to use.

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The major print on demand book services

The video above reviews print quality and physical differences among POD books from CreateSpace (now KDP Print), BookBaby, and Blurb. It’s a great intro to the topic if you’re wondering just how different these services are!

For an even quicker overview of user-friendliness, pricing, quality, and distribution, check out this POD comparison chart — which also includes IngramSpark, a company that’s become a much bigger player in print on demand over recent years.

Print on demand books | POD comparison chart

Note that we haven’t included printing timelines and royalties in this chart because they’re much more variable. Two authors using the same POD service and distribution plan, with the exact same list prices, may end up with completely different timelines and royalties — depending on the materials, number of units ordered, and where the books will be shipped.

How exactly do POD royalties work?

Indeed, as you read on, keep in mind that each platform’s standard print royalty percentage won’t necessarily represent the amount you’ll receive as an author. This is because printing costs will typically be taken from your share of royalties.

To clarify: say you’re going through KDP Print and only selling on Amazon. You’re entitled to 60% royalties, so you price your book at $10 and figure you’ll get $6 per sale. But after Amazon takes its cut, the print cost for that book will come entirely out of your $6. So if it’s $4.45, as in our chart above, this leaves you with a profit of $1.55 per book.

Each platform’s royalty calculator accounts for this, so there shouldn’t be any surprises if you fill them in correctly. But in case you’re thinking, “Wow, 60% royalties — great deal!”, know that it will be more like 10-15% after printing costs — which is what most Big 5 authors make on print books as well (after they’ve earned out their advances, of course).

Now that’s all cleared up, let’s meet our contenders for the title of “best print on demand service for authors”! 🏆

1. KDP Print

Print on demand books | KDP Print

KDP Print is Amazon’s print on demand service for indie authors, operating through its Kindle Direct Publishing platform. For those who remember CreateSpace, Amazon merged it with KDP Print in 2018, so that all Amazon’s POD services are now under the KDP Print umbrella.

Pros of KDP Print

To be sure, KDP Print is one of the most popular print on demand services for indie authors. The upload process is very straightforward — and most authors have to go through KDP to self-publish their ebooks on Amazon anyway, so it’s convenient to use the same platform for printing.

KDP Print also has the lowest printing costs of the major POD services, and relatively quick production — just 3-5 business days. In other words, KDP Print is smooth, efficient, and affordable. What more could you want?

Calculate your minimum list price and estimated print royalties from Amazon right here.

Cons of KDP Print

If you’re hoping to “go wide” with other retailers, you might be interested in better expanded distribution. Though KDP Print does offer an Expanded Distribution route, you’ll earn just 40% royalties before print costs, and it can take months for non-Amazon sellers to receive your book.

Authors should also be aware that print quality may be slightly lower than with other POD services. While the book we printed with KDP Print (see above) looked fine, KDP Print users have reported variations in quality, often changing with the season and supply chains. Look up recent reviews before committing to KDP Print — especially if you plan to try its new hardcover option, which costs more than paperback printing.

The verdict

KDP Print is great for Amazon-exclusive authors, with low printing costs, decent royalties (again, 60% on Amazon itself!), and rapid production. However, those looking to sell their book on non-Amazon retailers should look into other options.

2. IngramSpark

Print on demand books | IngramSpark

Speaking of other options, IngramSpark is the premier POD platform for authors looking to sell their book in all stores, not just Amazon. If you’ve heard of the Ingram Content Group, this is their wide-reaching POD service — and as you’d expect, it has much to offer.

Pros of IngramSpark

With IngramSpark, you’ll get direct distribution to over 40,000 retailers in the US, from Barnes & Noble to your local bookstore. You’ll also be connected to Ingram’s global printing partners in the UK, Asia, Australia, and more. Furthermore, you can decide your own royalties: if you want to appeal to retailers, you can allow them to take a greater cut of your sales, or you can max out your own royalties around 75%.

Ingram’s distribution network is so good that even BookBaby and Blurb distribute via Ingram. This means that if you choose IngramSpark, you avoid the middleman fees you’d have to pay with other distributors.

Set retailers’ wholesale discount (aka their royalty share) in IngramSpark’s calculator and discover how much you’ll make per book!

Cons of IngramSpark

That said, IngramSpark comes at its own price. Firstly, there’s the $49 setup fee — not prohibitive, but worth noting for authors on a budget. Secondly, and more importantly for first-time authors, IngramSpark is hardly the most user-friendly platform out there.

Most authors will go through IngramSpark’s Book Building Tool, which walks you through your upload step-by-step. However, you still have to upload a carefully pre-formatted manuscript file, then comb through the preview yourself to ensure nothing has glitched. You’ll also have to prepare your cover file to their specifications (see their File Creation Guide for tips).

After submitting these files, your book will undergo an automated review and a manual review. IngramSpark claims typical turnaround is 3-5 business days, but authors have recently reported longer delays. All in all, it’s a thorough, time-consuming process which won’t be ideal for low-tech authors, especially given IngramSpark’s minimal customer support.

Check out our full IngramSpark review for our insider view of this service

The verdict

IngramSpark’s prices are good and its distribution setup is unparalleled. It’s not terribly user-friendly, and the file review process might slow you down — but with persistence and patience, you won’t find a better wide distribution deal anywhere else.

3. BookBaby

Print on demand books | BookBaby

BookBaby is another POD service that’s been popping up more lately in self-publishing spheres. But what can BookBaby really do for you as an author?

Pros of BookBaby

In contrast to IngramSpark, BookBaby is known for how user-friendly it is. The upload process is quick and easy, with just one page of manuscript guidelines to follow and a simple book cover design template for your front cover, spine, and back cover.

There’s also no manual file review process that might delay your printing. Instead, BookBaby supplies a more time-saving form of quality control: excellent customer service to call upon (literally) if you run into trouble. BookBaby is the only major POD service to have not only email support, but an actual phone line! 🤙

Furthermore, BookBaby produces high-quality books and ships them quickly — under two weeks for 500 books or less (though as with all book printing services, this will vary depending on supply chains). The book we printed with BookBaby (see above) was lovely, with creamy pages and an aligned text grid, and users seem consistently pleased with BookBaby products.

Read our BookBaby review for a complete overview of its services and products!

Cons of BookBaby

So what’s the catch? Pricing. BookBaby’s printing costs are significantly higher than its competitors. For an order of 50 books, other POD services range from $4.50-$7.50 per unit, whereas a single BookBaby unit would cost nearly $11; even with larger orders, the volume discount barely helps.

That’s not even including the $399 setup fee if you intend to distribute your books — meaning that an author who prints just 50 books to sell would end up paying nearly $1,000 to BookBaby!

And because you pay upfront for printing, you might expect BookBaby royalties to be better, but this sadly isn’t the case. For distribution to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., you’ll still have to pay BookBaby 80-90% of your royalties. In other words, you’re very unlikely to recoup your costs.

To calculate your own BookBaby royalties, log in and fill out your book’s specs, then go here.

The verdict

BookBaby entices with its stress-free upload process, stellar customer service, and quality products. But the pricing is pretty exorbitant, especially if you’re printing lots of books and hope to actually make money selling them — authors on a budget should steer clear.

4. Blurb

Print on demand books | Blurb

Finally, there’s Blurb: a print on demand service that strikes a nice balance among all these platforms. In terms of pricing, Blurb is similar to KDP Print or IngramSpark, i.e. not too expensive. But like BookBaby, Blurb will help you turn out a beautiful product.

Pros of Blurb

Blurb’s print quality is excellent — the service specializes in illustrated and highly visual books. Even if your book doesn’t have illustrations, you may want to choose Blurb just to be certain that even small design elements (like chapter headings and ornamental breaks) are well-rendered.

Moreover, Blurb’s pricing is a serious steal compared to BookBaby’s. There’s no setup fee, and the printing costs cover the middleman distribution fee, which is reasonable. And as with IngramSpark, you get to select your own royalty scheme.

Cons of Blurb

That said, Blurb’s printing costs per unit are slightly higher than you’d get with KDP Print or IngramSpark. As a result, you’ll have to price your book higher or give retailers a lower wholesale discount (which makes them less likely to order your book) in order to make a profit. 

Authors should also note there’s no bespoke Blurb royalty calculator. But since Blurb uses Ingram for distribution, you can just use IngramSpark’s and subtract from the final “Publisher Compensation” figure, depending on quantity:

  • For orders of 50 books or fewer, subtract $1.75 to get your Blurb royalty.
  • For orders of 100-500 books, subtract $1.87 to get your Blurb royalty.
  • For orders of 500+ books, subtract $2.00 to get your Blurb royalty.

If you anticipate selling lots of books, this royalty loss is nothing to scoff at. However, for the print quality you’re getting — and because Blurb’s pricing and royalties are still so much better than BookBaby’s — it might just be worth the cost.

The verdict

Blurb offers excellent quality, fair pricing, and good distribution. Though there are some trade-offs, it’s reassuringly well-rounded, and ideal for authors who want to print design-heavy books without breaking the bank.

We’ve even partnered with Blurb to make it easier (and more affordable!) for authors to format and print their beautiful books. Find out more here.

Which print on demand service is right for you?

Time to answer the million-dollar question: which POD service should you actually use to print and distribute your book? 🤔If you’ve read up to this point, you probably have a good idea already — but we’ll lay it out crystal-clear just in case.

For Amazon authors: KDP Print

If you’re only interested in selling your book on Amazon, focus on KDP Print. Low printing costs and high royalties make it a fantastic deal for Amazon-exclusive authors — not to mention that you and your readers will receive print copies lightning-fast. Get started with KDP Print today.

For “wide” authors: IngramSpark

If you’re looking to sell on all the big (and small!) stores, digital and brick-and-mortar alike, we’d recommend IngramSpark. The learning curve is steep, but you’ll kick yourself for losing royalties if you don’t at least try — and having read through all their formatting guidelines, you might find it’s not so difficult after all. Get started with IngramSpark today.

Of course, you can always combine KDP Print and IngramSpark to get the best of both worlds! Set up your book on KDP and IngramSpark separately, then opt out of Amazon distribution via Ingram. It’s a bit more work, but you’ll ultimately get maximum royalties through each service.

For visually demanding books: Blurb

For authors with vivid covers and/or visually intricate images within, Blurb is the way to go. Its specialized formatting templates and printing tools are perfect for these kinds of books, and the pricing is much more reasonable than BookBaby’s. Get started with Blurb today.

For non-distributing authors: it’s up to you!

Distribution is such a huge factor in most authors’ POD experience that it’s tough to untangle from our recommendations. But if you simply want to print copies of your book, ship them to yourself, and sell or give them away in person, you don’t have to worry about distribution at all!

If this describes you, it’s really your call as to which POD service would best suit your needs. Do you want high-quality books that aren’t too expensive? You’ll probably pick Blurb. Looking for something fast and cheap? KDP Print. Need a lot of technical support? BookBaby is there for you.

At the end of the day, only you can decide what’s best for you and your book. We hope you feel ready to make an empowered choice based on your own needs! Remember, whichever POD service you choose, you’ll get hard copies of your book that you can admire for years to come — and with any luck, this is only the beginning of your publishing success.

– Originally published on Feb 13, 2019

66 responses

Matt Beighton says:

14/08/2018 – 18:35

I've used Ingram for a couple of years now and have no idea where your annual fee for them comes from?

↪️ Gandalf-the-Geru replied:

15/08/2018 – 10:42

They are probably automatically taking it off your account without you noticing. It is $12 per year.

↪️ Matt Beighton replied:

15/08/2018 – 13:57

Nope, they definitely don't have one. I've phoned and checked. The lady thought Lightning Source (another branch of Ingram) may have, but Ingram Spark definitely don't have.

↪️ Gandalf-the-Geru replied:

16/08/2018 – 10:15

Thanks for the update, Matt. I've read this misinformation in two places. Mind you, they misinform in their own instructions too. In their set-up guide they state "IngramSpark does not offer barcodes. You must supply your own." I went to the trouble of buying one and then found out they DO supply barcodes if you don't add one.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

16/08/2018 – 10:32

Ah, that's interesting. Thanks for flagging it up, folks. We'll have a look into it again and make the edit :)

↪️ Bill Peschel replied:

30/09/2018 – 14:15

They used to charge. Now they don't (or, at least they dropped it awhile back).

↪️ Denise replied:

07/11/2019 – 23:29

I have the same question. I also use Ingram.

Michael Doane says:

14/08/2018 – 18:46

Great article. These charts are very helpful for authors who are looking to compare different platforms for self-publishing print copies of their books.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

05/09/2018 – 20:01

Thanks Michael! :)

Swami Tarakananda says:

14/08/2018 – 18:48

I would like to share my experience and frustration with working with IngramSpark. First, they have TERRIBLE customer service. Phone customer service is virtually non-existent, and email is slooowww, and often they have not grasped the import of my question. Their printing has been mediocre, with one page being light and the facing page dark, and as far as images go, it is a flip of the coin if they will get things right even after following their specs to the letter. It takes weeks to get your proof copy, and if there are problems such as the ones listed above, it can be a months to get the final product as you want it, with the slow costomer service and slow printing/shipping. And furthermore, the broad distribution has not yeilded sales. Yes, I know it is up to the author or publisher to do the marketing, but don't expect an automatic sales increase just for being listed with Ingram. It is true that Amazon is not the best place to have your books available to bookstores and libraries, but IngramSpark seems to be no better as far as sales, with a big headache thrown in for good measure. Take this into consideration as one person's experience before trying IngramSpark. Brother Simeon

↪️ Jill R. replied:

06/03/2019 – 23:06

In my experience Ingram Spark/Lightning Source is a terrible company to work with and prints a horrible quality of book.

↪️ P Berman replied:

23/06/2019 – 17:09

Our former publisher used Lightning Source. The results were mixed and sometimes inconsistent. The black and white paper #50 is HORRIBLE. The books look like a bound photocopy and the show through makes it almost unreadable. Photos come out dark and blobby. They don't offer any better paper thickness or whiteness options for B/W. However, the color printing is better quality and the hardback covers are really nice. They REALLY need to offer upgrades to the paper stock for B/W printing and then they would be almost perfect.

↪️ Jerry Gomez replied:

19/06/2019 – 22:08

I've made several attempts to list my book with IS, but their form is more like an obstacle course. It will delete your info without warning and there is no way to save it!?!! Customer service has been helpful 50% of the time which means you are on your own the other 50%. I am uncertain if I will ever get their book listing process to ever work like Amazon's, and therefore I am looking at other options for a printer/distributor.

↪️ Christian Kelly replied:

30/08/2019 – 22:49

I am encontering the same issue with Ingram. Primarily the customer service issue. They are not suited very well for new authors. If this is your first rodeo, maybe don't use them because they are more trouble than they are worth.

Lexi Mize says:

14/08/2018 – 20:00

I went with I epub'd to Draft2Digital, took their 6x9 PDF they provided for POD over the thebookpatch. I downloaded the cover template that matched my page count; made mine to fit; upload it and the ready-to-print PDF and presto-chango I had a physical book people could buy with a link. All as a free service. And the books are reasonably priced, but I could charge whatever I wanted (above a certain cost basis). Text grids do not match up, ink is matte. Soft cover turned out nice.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

05/09/2018 – 20:02

Hi Lexi, sounds like you had a pretty positive experience — glad to hear it! We'll look into covering them next time :)

↪️ Whatisgoingon replied:

07/03/2019 – 19:38

I just did a comparison for printing of my 6x9, 250 page novel. Printing on Amazon is $3.92 and the book patch calculated it as $7.75 for 1-49 copies. I would love to find a printer who can compete.

Patricia Horan says:

18/08/2018 – 19:59

Why is a barcode called an ISBN here? An ISBN is nothing more than a string of numbers. Very confusing to this professional.

↪️ Krisz Nadasi Writes KNW replied:

21/08/2018 – 12:20

Because it is called an ISBN. You have to put both the string of numbers AND the barcode on the book if you want the book in retail (and there are other rules too).

↪️ Victoria replied:

20/08/2019 – 01:52

A barcode is that little square box of lines that's found on everything you buy, most often as a machine-readable price tag. An ISBN is the record-keeping number of a BOOK, and it identifies that book/manuscript worldwide. The barcode they mean here is specifically the one that carries the ISBN. (dictionary:" international standard book number, a ten-digit number assigned to every book before publication, recording such details as language, provenance, and publisher.") A barcode can be anything, but an ISBN is this only, and can be coded into a barcode.

↪️ Denise replied:

07/11/2019 – 23:33

Excellent response.

Stephen Connor says:

22/08/2018 – 17:45

I sell paperbacks on Amazon through Ingram at 30%. There is no extra 'fee' to Amazon. My books show as 'in stock' and they sell. As an example, yesterday I uploaded a cover change to Ingram and today it is showing on Amazon (but third-party sellers still have the old cover up).

Michelle Lovi says:

28/08/2018 – 23:54

You can't "opt out" of Amazon distribution for print books published at IngramSpark. This is only available for IngramSpark ebooks. However, if you also publish using the same ISBN at CreateSpace/KDP Print, they will get preference to supply the book ordered on Amazon.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

05/09/2018 – 19:58

Hi Michelle, this is absolutely right, thank you for bringing it to our attention! We're amending the post to reflect the correct "opting in and out" information now.

Daniel says:

05/09/2018 – 18:29

Just a quick question; Which platform shall I use to print out my own book for myself? I mean, I'd like to get around 100 books for the wholesale price for my own use. I'm based in the UK.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

05/09/2018 – 18:30

I can personally recommend CPI in the UK:

↪️ Daniel replied:

05/09/2018 – 18:44

Thank you very much. Just sent them a quote.

↪️ Victoria replied:

20/08/2019 – 01:57 does beautiful printing on very good paper (in "standard" and even better on "premium" at very low cost, and is blissfully user-friendly to work with. Beware tho - plain "" is totally different. If you just want books for yourself, or to sell to bookstores yourself, go to, NOT, that one is a nightmare.

Whatisgoingon says:

20/09/2018 – 17:50

I am wary of Amazon. My first novel went live in e-book and printed formats through KDP. On my Facebook page I had eight people who purchased the printed 6x9 tradebook through Amazon wanting me to sign it. I check with my stats and it says I have sold only five paperbacks. I email them with the discrepancy and they say, "No. our records are right." How do we know? They control everything in the process and we have to take their word for it. It would take nothing to add a bit of code that skims off a few books for their added profit. E-books are generally about 1 mb in size and cost close to nothing to host and send off. Amazon also has a eight dollar fee that they tack on that for electronically dispersing our funds. I see this all as a recipe for disaster.

↪️ Jill R. replied:

06/03/2019 – 23:59

Amazon is so netorious for writing the problem off. I despise working with them but have to at my job,

↪️ Victoria replied:

20/08/2019 – 02:04

I hate Amazon for so many reasons. They robe authors and publishers alike, and ge away with it as all the millionaires do. This is Trump's new "Great Amemrica." It's great for all greediest and richest few people, but not so great for decent people) What I hate most about Amazon is that when you go there with the plan to buy a new book, they immediately try to sell you a USED copy dirt cheap. This means they get that money, whatever it is, and the author gets NOTHING. This is an outrage, and unethical, but legal. It;s just WRONG to do that, when 99.5 % of any good authors never make any actual profit by writing.

LDianeWolfe says:

01/10/2018 – 13:45

Another option is Lightning Source (also Ingram) if you fall into the category of small publisher by publishing others' books. There is no set up fee, no revision fee, and the first year distribution is free.

AMartin123 says:

31/12/2018 – 22:33


Diane Frances Elliott says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

I am both traditional and self published. I just received my first shipment of books from Ingram. They are exactly as we designed them an are beautiful.

↪️ Denise replied:

07/11/2019 – 23:37

I have been with Ingram Spark (I started when they were Lightning Source) and I haven't experienced any of thr issues I've read here. I'm very happy with Ingram Spark. I have actually won two book awards and the criteria includes design & print quality.

Diane Frances Elliott says:

08/05/2019 – 12:28

I'm new to this. Just published with Ingram and finding my way.

Tesia Blackburn says:

11/05/2019 – 15:24

I've had great experiences at Ingram. I've published two books with them and I'm very happy with the results. True, the learning curve is steep but the quality of the book is great. I opted to use a professional book designer after I did the rough first draft. The pro only cost me $100 and was well worth the effort. The book looks and feels great. I've had tons of compliments on both books. They sell on Amazon and through Ingram's distribution network and I get royalties every month. What more could I ask for? Check out the listing on Amazon here:

↪️ Theresa Norris replied:

08/06/2019 – 10:20

Can you share your book designer contact information? Your books look wonderful! I am beginning a new project and hope to imporve on my first! Thanks Theresa Davis Norris, Our Family, LULU PUBLISHING

↪️ Denise replied:

07/11/2019 – 23:38

I am also very pleased.

Joanne Koenig-Macko says:

14/05/2019 – 10:34

I published a 6x9 book with Book Baby last Fall and was very pleased. My ink is not glossy as was described here. The cover is amazing in gloss. For an extra fee, they got the book to all the major distributors and provide a website for your client to order from where you get a higher percentage back than anything sold on Amazon. The ISBN code was the least expensive. I have to wait 90 days to get paid from any books sold on Amazon published through Book Baby and no way of knowing what Amazon actually sold so that's confusing. I was lucky to have my own editor, a friend to format it, and my artist son design the cover which saved a me a fortune. If the book is not sent in the right way, it will be rejected. I had many illustrations/photos in it which caused a lot of problems at first to make sure they were formatted properly. Also found out that if I convert this to an e-book, it won't convert because too many photos in it would take too long to upload? The hardest part for me is getting the book to readers.. the marketing end. Once your clients buy from you or Amazon, it's figuring out how to get them to new readers.

Sarah Fletcher says:

30/06/2019 – 13:58

Thank you for a very helpful article. I'm putting together a short story collection. My main concern is that I also illustrate, so I have done cover illustrations for each story and wanted to include these cover pages throughout the book - that is, it would be more visual than your average short story collection. So based on the advice in your article, I should go with Blurb to get these images printed nicely. I have used Blurb before for poetry books, just for myself or for gifts so far. I have had a fair bit of trouble with their formatting rules both times - I follow the instructions as closely as possible, and still end up with blank pages at the start and end of the book, and their customer service doesn't seem to be able to guide me on how to avoid this. I want to have the book mainly available as an ebook, with print on demand hard copies available, but I also want to get a small batch of hard copies printed for myself to give as gifts to my Patreon patrons and friends and family. Based on the previous cost of getting single copies, I wouldn't be able to afford the number of copies I want in this small batch. Can anyone tell me more about the volume discount? I was hoping to change to a different print on demand company for this, but it sounds like Blurb might still be best given the number of images I have in my book. I was also kind of hoping to avoid using Amazon but it sounds like avoiding Amazon basically means avoiding the best options. Has anyone printed anything containing images using KDP Print/CreateSpace before? How did it turn out?

↪️ Elizabeth Beardslee replied:

03/10/2019 – 17:47

I just received my proof copy of a short photo book from Amazon KDP. After fighting with their poor formatting instructions for a few days, it was a perfection. Every page of the copy was "miscut" with uneven white margins (pages are black in background). In addition, every page had a cloud of white noise, almost like a footprint. Only the cover was as expected. I called Amazon to no avail as no one in customer service was in the least bit interested. The work that I have spent nearly a year perfecting will simply remain as a draft in Amazon KDP for eternity.

Chip Miller says:

13/07/2019 – 19:59

I have a heavily illustrated book on a Chinese martial art. I would like hardbook (a few copies for organization members) and widespread digital and paperback distribution. It seems that using Blurb to publish would be the best first step. Is it possible to take the book after it is published and then have KDF handle distribution and POD? Thanks for your help and insight. This blog was a splendid find.

Victoria S Wright says:

15/07/2019 – 19:12

What are "doublons?" Assuming this is a typo in the article??

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

16/07/2019 – 08:34

Haha, a typo indeed. Now corrected — thanks, Victoria.

Luci M. says:

27/07/2019 – 13:39

I am having an absolutely terrible experience with Blurb. I chose them originally because of their focus on books with illustrations/photos. The first book I had printed with them was great, so I submitted another book and a slightly revised edition of the first. The second book I did had ink-spotted pages in about 80% of the books I ordered, and a greyish tinge to the cover. But the second edition of the first book is a real nightmare. The margins range from 1/16-3/16 off and the rabbit on the cover (same file as first book with only a word added) has pink-tinged fur. Overall the books look extremely amateurish and unprofessional. Blurbs response to my concerns was to tell me problems with printing POD books cannot be changed due to the process. I knew that wasn't true; I've used other POD publishers willing to correct their errors in printing. Blurb did reprint my orders, and the book quality was even worse! Note, this second edition has the same layout and is very little changed from the first. Even the page count is the same. So I know they CAN print this book interior and cover correctly, but are so far refusing to do so, although they admit the problems are printing errors, not my errors.

zylstra says:

12/08/2019 – 04:19

Uh ... Lulu?

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

12/08/2019 – 09:09

A Lulu review is coming real soon!

Sylvia Saxon says:

18/08/2019 – 00:28

Thanks for this article. For years I used CreateSpace though Amazon. It was easy and seamless to publish through them. I bragged and voluntarily promoted them to anyone who would listen. THEN the changed the Kindle platform and Createspace went away. I HATE the new format. This is why I found this article. I would love to find a POD publisher that ISN"T KIndle.

Victoria says:

20/08/2019 – 01:34

I wonder why you do not mention They do good printing and production, reasonable (but not cheap) distribution to Ingram and Amazon. But have a really screwed-up uploader/wizard which wasted a ton pf my time. I also tried BLURB and was horrified at the printing job they did. My proof copy had the first 8 pages of the PDF file simply missing! The book's first page was the 9th page of the file (I didn't even know that was possible to do to a PDF) and they added 8 blank pages at the back of the book. Crazy. Also, the cover was falling off, and there were globs of glue at the seams, and the paper they use is very thin and cheap. No way I will send a book of mine out into the world like that. I wrote to complain, they made me prove it by sending them scans and shots of all, and resend the file, still they would not refund any part of my cost. I would NEVER recommend Blurb to anyone! A printer must be RELIABLE above all else!

MD Muller says:

05/09/2019 – 14:36

Useful article. I am using KDP but am looking for alternatives, unfortunately, amazon have virtually cornered the market

Bee says:

09/09/2019 – 11:13

I want to self-publish, but don't want to risk the "returnable". Money's tight when you're trying to make money! Would the best route be to try to go through a traditional publishing house? I'm split between the two... Anyone ever have any issues with returned books?

Deezy says:

11/09/2019 – 20:25

I respect the author's opinion on this matter, but feel to add one topic not covered in this article - print quality, specifically with book covers. Amazon's prints are inferior to others I have used on this list, and some not on this list, such as While their prices are low and their delivery time is great, their printed covers tend to curl up after one or two reads, and my customers view this as a sign of cheaply done print job. Just one person's opinion.

↪️ Denise replied:

07/11/2019 – 23:41

I've never had this issue with Ingram Spark. I highly recommend th em for books with mainly text and those with images.

Clay Clarkson says:

16/10/2019 – 22:25

What about retail price control on Amazon? With KDP, Amazon determines what price our book will sell. They are currently discounting one of our best selling titles by 30% off retail. That devalues our book. As I understand it, though, if I use AmazonAdvantage I can control the price of our books. So I'm considering using IngramSpark for all printing, and AmazonAdvantage for Amazon sales. Would that kind of strategy make sense, or am I missing something? I'm not sure what the net return comparisons between AA and KDP sales would be. Thanks for any input your might be able to provide.

Lauren says:

22/10/2019 – 22:50

I haven't seen this option addressed--what if we want to sell a non-fiction POD book and ebook from our website ONLY (unlike most people), so don't need/want Amazon, distribution, bookstores, etc.?? Can we opt out of all those things, and just have a company print and drop ship the book when ordered, and send out the ebook file when ordered, WITHOUT making them available or seen anywhere else? Preferably a seamless, integrated process (API) on our website so customers put in their payment and shipping info (probably on our website and not the printer's), then hit "Order," and it looks like we are handling everything but the order actually goes directly to the printer to fulfill without our involvement. Obviously the printer would need to take a cut for printing, shipping, and handling (maybe charge an account we set up there if we instead of they are collecting the customer's payment). And same if they handle the ebook sales for us. So they could take a cut of sales but maybe it would be less than if they were also handling distribution? Let me know if anyone has done this or if anyone has recommendations of companies in the U.S. that could do this at a decent price (with a quick author proof and with good customer services in case there are difficulties).

↪️ ken replied:

06/12/2019 – 05:53

Hi Lauren, Your idea is a great one - have you had any luck finding out if what you seek exists? If so, please share with me?!!! Ken

April D Brown says:

11/11/2019 – 04:50

I'm just so confused about where to start with KDP. I must be missing something in terms of publishing something that I want physically printed. All I see on the site is that they offer print on demand for publishers. Then you can click on the createspace link but your only option is to enter an email for a previous account. I can't get into my old one and I don't see a place to create a new one. I just want an easy to use self publish site that will print physical copies, and not screw me over financially. I also want it to be easy to purchase online. Any advice or direction is appreciated.

↪️ Ebony Love replied:

26/11/2019 – 19:05

KDP is connected to your Amazon account. If you have an Amazon account, you can just sign in to KDP with your Amazon credentials. If you do not have an Amazon account, then you can create one. Once you are logged in, THEN you can try to connect to your old CreateSpace account and import your books. Just go to and look on the right side of the page. The difference that may be confusing is that CreateSpace, while owned by Amazon, was run as a separate company. KDP is integrated into the Amazon experience. If you have Amazon, you have KDP.

Shirley Whitney says:

12/11/2019 – 17:09

KDP has not been as helpful in resolving issues as Createspace was. Although you say that their software is the same, I have updated books previously accepted and printed by Createspace with the exact same formats and have had their screeners reply with changes needed to the formats. All of Amazon's POD has language limits. For instance, they will not do a new publish or even a re-publish of a book in Chinese. I have to carefully examine each book ordered and often find issues of either ink problems or skewed pages. I often wonder what customers who order directly from KDP get. When I send pics of misprints they do give me refunds and sometimes ask for the misprints to be returned. For that they email me a prepaid postal label. I do appreciate this article. We've been looking for other POD options, but the ones we have looked at come with reviews that make KDP look "normal". It makes me wonder if it is the technology that is inadequate or the people running it. Automation seems to have its limits!

alice han says:

20/12/2019 – 00:48

I love your suggestion after I read through your analysis to chose my final sale service and pod service. thank you very much ( that is to work with BookBabys Support Team , to use Amzon and Non-Amazon Stores , both KDP and IngramSpark for distribution but do not use Amazon expanded distribution definitely!)

alice han says:

20/12/2019 – 00:51

it is a clear well done analysis !

Lynn says:

26/12/2019 – 05:44

I'm confused on all of these if you actually have to give them money up front. I have published literary fiction with university presses, but i'm interesting in self publishing a wood fire cookbook memoir and another carnivore cookbook. i would have a lot of pictures in both. not sure the best company...


02/01/2020 – 00:59

Print-on-demand information shared is invaluable, in particular, the charts allowing comparison. The blog has done the "leg-work" which would have required days of research. Kudos are in order.

Loren Moss says:

17/02/2020 – 20:20

This is good information. I have worked as an editor for years and have worked in publishing houses as well as published directly using Createspace & Amazon which I think are just fine. Now I am editing professional industry reports that need to be perfect bound and drop shipped. They don't need to (and shouldn't) go through the traditional book distribution channel or be sold through public channels. I am trying to find a POD service where I can place (or have the client place) orders from 1-100 or so books at a time and have them drop shipped. There is no price per book, so no royalty. I guess what I am saying is I need print-on-demand rather than publish-on-demand. Any ideas? Thanks.

↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:

18/02/2020 – 10:14

That's a bit complex. You can get a small private run from a local short-run printer, but you're unlikely to find services that will give you a decent per-unit price if you were to order 10 copies (or even 100). I read this from a few years ago, which might help:

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