Self-Publishing Print Books

Self-Publishing Print Books

Are you interested in self-publishing print books?  If so, we have researched several options for you to consider below.  But first, here is a list of items to consider when choosing a self-publishing option for your print book.

  • Reviews and reputation among other writers
  • Upfront publishing fees
  • Royalty payment structure and when you get paid
  • Author’s cost to purchase additional books for resell
  • Contract terms (i.e. do you keep all rights to your cover and interior, copyright, etc.)
  • Cost of any additional services (cover design, editing, marketing)
  • ISBN number and barcode included
  • Listing on and other online retailers

The publishing industry is always changing and so as it does, we plan on continuing to update this post for you.


Option #1:  Use an Independent Publishing Service

Some authors simply want someone else to manage their book project.  In this case, you will pay more to have your book published, but you will not have to invest the time into managing outsourcers, budgets, deadlines, etc.

I personally know the owners of both of the following services, have researched them fully and am confident that if you use either service, you will end up with a quality book.  In both cases, you will still be the publisher, they are simply handling all the details for you (i.e. hiring outsourcers for book design, editing, formatting, etc.).

Believers Press

Believers Press is an excellent option for Christian authors.  You can see the services they offer, pricing and more here.


Option #2:  Use a Hybrid Approach, Entreprenerial Publishing

Another approach is to use a publisher that give you the control that you get with self-publishing, but offers the quality and distribution that you get with traditional publishing.


Morgan James Publishing: The Entrepreneurial Publisher

Morgan James Publishing provides entrepreneurs with the vital information, inspiration and guidance they need to be successful. A division of Morgan James, LLC, Morgan James Publishing, The Entrepreneurial Publisher TM, is recognized by Publishers Weekly as one of the nation’s top publishers and is reported as being the future of publishing.

Shelley has personally met the owner of Morgan James Publishing, David Hancock, and has been impressed with him and his team and several of our colleagues have published books with them successfully.  We highly recommend them if you are looking for a publisher but want to maintain more control of your book and get higher royalties.

What they offer:

  • Higher Author Royalties
  • Book planning based on helping you maximize your brand and vision
  • National distribution of your book
  • A dedicated sales team to get your book placed
  • Better discount on copies authors purchase (print cost plus a percentage)
  • Enrollment in the Morgan James Speakers Group
  • Small advances available
  • Entrepreneurial Vision Mastermind with David Hancock, CEO of Morgan James, Publisher Rick Frishman, Publishing Director Jim Howard and Marketing Director Bethany Marshall to help you plan the books strategy, including 40 hours of virtual assistant time to help you get started.
  • Access to top thought leaders in public relations, membership web site development, and internet marketing
  • Long term thought leadership and strategy on a continual basis, you will have regular access to marketing strategists.

Visit to learn more.


Option #3:  Self-Publishing

If you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to publish a quality book, there are several affordable self-publishing options available.  Each option below offers print on demand services.   This means that when a book is ordered, it is printed.  This eliminates the need for stocking inventory, which lowers your overall costs.  You only pay for what you need.



CreateSpace is a company owned by Amazon that offer authors the ability to self-publish print books.

Standard Distribution

  • 40% of list price
  • Amazon Europe 40% of list price
  • eStore 20% of list price

Find out more details about royalties here.

Expanded Distribution

Expanded distribution is now free, but previously cost $25.  This changed after Ingram Spark was launched (see below).

For the expanded distribution, there is a 60% of list price for all options below.

  • CreateSpace Direct
  • Bookstores and Online Retailers
  • Libraries and Academic Institutions – Must have a CreateSpace-Assigned ISBN

More about expanded distribution here.

ISBN Options via CreateSpace

  • CreateSpace-Assigned ISBN FREE
  • Custom ISBN $10 (can only be used with CreateSpace)
  • Custom Universal ISBN $99
  • Buy your own Universial ISBN from

Details about CreateSpace ISBN’s here.

Sign Up

You can sign up for a free account here.


Ingram Spark

Ingram Spark is a service provided by Lightning Source for small, independent authors and publishers.


  • $49 set up fee (waived if you order 50 books within 60 days)
  • $12/year per book
  • From the research I did, there seems to also be a $40 fee every time you need to to update your file, but I recommend verifying that with Ingram Spark.
  • 40% or 55% discount (The author makes 45% or 60% minus printing costs)

More on Ingram Spark’s Fees and Revenues.

ISBN Options

Have to buy your own ISBN when you publish through Ingram Spark and can do that through  Here are the current costs for ISBN’s:

  • 1 for $125
  • 10 for $250
  • 100 for $575

I recommend you check out their FAQ page here:

Lightning Source

Lightning Source is another option available and is a step up from Ingram Spark with more options available.  I have heard it is harder for independent authors to get approved for a Lightning Source account unless you have at least 20 titles. But, you can always try.

Sign Up

You can sign up for an account ($49 set up fee) here.


Book Print on Demand

Book Print on Demand is a print on demand publishing service for authors and publishers.


  • No set up fees and no additional cost to change your files.
  • Low printing costs that are competitive with CreateSpace.
  • You only pay for printing costs and shipping.

Get a custom quote for your book here.

ISBN Options

  • You do need to buy your own ISBN when self-publishing books through Book Print on Demand and can get them at
  • From their website:  “Publishers only need an ISBN number if they are planning on selling a book at retail. This includes and other online retailers. If a publisher or author is only publishing a book for family, friends, conferences or direct-to-consumer distribution purposes, they do not need an ISBN.”

Expanded Distribution Available

BookPrintOnDemand can offer expanded distribution, sometimes called Print-to-Order (PTO) gives you distinct advantages: your product data to thousands of retailers, including B&N, Books-A-Million, Baker & Taylor, Ingram and all of the Christian trade (Family, LifeWay, Mardel, CBD, etc.). This expanded distribution is available through their Anchor partnership and you can find out more details here or you can contact them for more details.

Here are a few of the details of this distribution program:

  • Set up is $249 for the first title, and $149 for subsequent titles in the line.
  • Annual renewal for each title is $99.
  • Distribution fees are 30% of net revenue. This fee includes all costs that would normally be charged separately, including storage, handling, returns, accounts receivable, and any free freight with qualifying orders. Actual freight costs are billed to the author/publisher and should be offset by the consumer shipping charges.

Ecommerce Option

This is a very unique service and allows you to sell your books directly from your website or Facebook page.

  • They print your book as it is ordered and ship it to your customer for you.  Therefore there is no inventory that you need to stock and no shipping on your end.  
  • There is an initial set up fee, but can be a great business model for authors as it is the way to collect the most royalties from your book from any option I have researched.  The only fee is a 15% gateway fee (plus printing/shipping costs).
  • All sales are done through your own PayPal account.  Therefore, you need to collect sales tax and shipping costs.  

Get all the details about their ecommerce option here.

I also recommend finding out more about Book Print on Demand at their FAQ page here:

Sign Up

You can sign up for a free account here.


Option #4:  Use a Combination

Did you know that you can choose more than one option?  As long as you have a universal ISBN, you are able to distribute your book using all three options mentioned above in the self-publishing section.

For example, you can use CreateSpace to publish your book on Amazon,  Ingram Spark or Book Print On Demand to distribute your book to bookstores via the Ingram catalog, and Book Print on Demand to buy copies for live events and sell books from your website.

Also, if you have previously published on Amazon with a CreateSpace ISBN, you can purchase a new universal ISBN and publish the same book through IngramSpark in order to get your books in book stores.  Therefore, you will have your book published through CreateSpace and IngramSpark at the same time with different ISBN’s.  This way you can keep your book published with the CreateSpace ISBN on Amazon so you don’t lose your sales momentum.

Here are some articles on how to use multiple options:


How Do I Get My Print Book into BookStores?

The first question many first time authors ask is, “How do I get my book in bookstores?”  To be very honest, retail (bookstores) is not where I recommend most authors start and here’s why:

  • It is expensive – you have to give 40-55% of your profit right away.
  • It is very competitive – there are thousands of titles competing with your book.
  • It works best when there is already a demand for you book and you have built your book marketing platform.

52% of books are sold online.  Therefore, I recommend that you start by selling your book in online bookstores first.  Once you have built a platform and have success selling your book at a local or regional level, then you can consider distribution to bookstores on a national level.  Otherwise, you may spend a lot of time pursuing something that yields very little return on investment (ROI).

 Other Considerations

Set up pre-orders for your print book before the launch date:

We personally haven’t taken pre-orders but Eric Van Der Hope, a co-author of Indie Author Book Marketing Success, has.  He describes how he takes pre-orders on Amazon in chapter 5 of our book here:


 Publishing Print Books Q&A


There are multiple options available to authors who wish to pursue self-publishing their print books. You no longer have to fill your garage full of books, go into debt, or hand over all of your rights to a traditional publishing house. You can self-publish your book!

Interested in publishing in various formats? 

We also have posts about self-publishing eBooks and audiobooks.


Was this post helpful?  If so, “pay it forward” and share it with others below: