My week of researching: print-on-demand and shipping books across the border

UPDATE: Since first writing this blog, it has some to my attention that CreateSpace offers way more in the way of international distribution than I was originally aware of. After several pleasant phone conversations with the staff (great customer service, btw!), I realized that it is redundant to sign up with both CreateSpace and LighteningSource. They have essentially the same book distribution channels (Ingram, Baker & Taylor). Plus, CreateSpace has it's own eStore, where retailers from anywhere in the world can sign up for a wholesale account to order your book directly. 

So as of now, I am going to work exclusively with CreateSpace. But...of course, I will update this blog again if I change my mind. Which is entirely possible as this is all a huge learning process!

Stacey 

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Well, it's been one of those weeks with little writing accomplished but a lot of research and business planning done. The good thing is that I finally decided on a book printer/wholesaler that could meet the needs of a small, independent publisher like myself, and I finally figured out how to ship books across the border! 

It's probably no big surprise to anyone already working in the book publishing industry that I decided to go with LighteningSource (LSI), a division of Ingram. No matter where I started my research, it always lead me back down the path to LSI, even though I resisted it because the company's located in the States, and I didn't want the hassle of dealing with the border.

After some exhaustive research of LSI and its competitors (or lack thereof), it became clear to me that I needed to just make a decision and go with LSI. Some of the benefits they could offer me were discounts on title set-up fees and book orders because of my membership in the Independent Book Publishers Association; an openness to work with small publishers like myself (not every company is so receptive); print-on-demand services so that I don't have to warehouse any books; and international distribution to tap into.

For those of you who know a little bit about Amazon's CreateSpace, I've also decided to set up an account with them to print my book (yes, you can do both LSI and Createspace!). LSI will serve the needs of bookstores and retailers who usually want to order from a book wholesaler/distributer, and CreateSpace will print books based on customer orders through Amazon.com.   

The only draw back with choosing LSI is that there is no hand holding. They start you off in the right direction, but then it's up to you to ensure your manuscript is print ready (edited, formatted, converted to PDF), the cover design is ready to go (sized and layered on an LSI template InDesign), and you've correctly entered all the metadata into their system. This I can do, if it means that my book is going to be printed to industry standards and discoverable by any bookseller or library looking for it. 

And lastly, after several back and forth conversations with Canada Revenue Agency and Canada Border Services, I've determined that there's no duty on shipments of books coming across the border from the USA to Canada (yay!) but I will be charged GST 5% (boo!). 

Now, the most important thing to remember is that it's still up to me to promote and sell my book! Time to start preparing for virtual books tours, engaging book bloggers, launching a social media campaign, entering contests, etc!

Stacey D. Atkinson is finishing work on her first novel Stuck, to be available later this summer via her independent publishing company Mirror Image Publishing.    

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