DIY Publishing - select your vendor

While trying to independently publish a book I became acquainted with two major vendors and had to compare them.
Here is my experience as of early 2013, updated in July 2016


   CreateSpace Lulu
     
book sizes
They allow custom formats up to /about/ A4.
However restrictions apply if a distribution option is selected
 Only a limited set of sizes is allowed.
The limitation gets even narrower if distribution is requested.
minimum page count 2448 for standard paperbacks
32 for premium paperbacks
book covers
 paperbacks only
Variety of soft and hard cover options.
The number of options decreases if sales and distribution options are selected.
cover design wizard
well usable with a wide assortment of themes and layouts
very limited possibilities
BW illustrations better 
color images  better if good quality paper is selected
distributionprimarily Amazonvarious distribution options
revenue monitoring
sales and revenue is displayed on the user dashboard in near real time
revenue is reported periodically
user control
cannot delete
user can delete their own project
paginationbook can only include standard pagination from 1, 2, 3 ...etc.
No deviations tolerated.
not enforced
editorial checking
CreateSpace performs a series of automatic checks, their manual review and approval and client proof review before a book is allowed to print. Sometimes helpful sometimes frustrating.
!Cannot recall a project once it is submitted for approval!
Only routine automatic checks.
private prints
no - every book is issued an ISBN and is treated like an official publication to be sold
yes - options for private prints
modification of existing books
you have to go again through the approval process which (if successful) takes from hours to 2 days and during that time the book is unavailable for others to order.
No hassle, you just have to re-click through the whole process of book creation. If the book is already in distribution, a self-check on a physical print is required.
tolerance of PDF size
cuts off the extra area
resizes the pages
   
e-books very little support for e-books, they only generate a cover file for Kindle derived from the paperback
lot of support for e-books
e-book distribution
none Apple, Nook
printing location U.S. only multiple sites worldwide
   
in short
 choose CreateSpace if you want...
choose Lulu if you want...
  quick and easy entry into Amazonto print a book quickly in hours not days (without waiting for their approval )
  BW photos in your bookfull color illustrations on better paper
  custom book size in paperback to publish and distribute an e-book
  hard cover
 
spiral binding
 
to make frequent updates in your book
  use nonstandard pagination
  easy entry into Google Book Search
  if printing outside the U.S - e.g. in Europe - is good for you





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