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sci-fi fantasy books

Self-Publishing POD vs Vanity Press

POD (Print on Demand)

POD means print on demand. There are a few popular ones out there. Of course, which is basically amazon’s brain child. But createspace isn’t the only one to choose from and there are advantages and disadvantages to it. As is the name, print on demand means your physical book is ONLY made and produced once someone orders it. That means you have no copies laying around to take up space and force you to rethink your choices in life. Usually POD is free, but nothing’s really free. Expect to pay about 30 bucks, not for the service, but for ‘other’ things relating to it.

Vanity Press

Vanity press is essentially POD as well. Only, they look fancier. Xlibris for example. They cost anywhere from $99 bucks to (and this is no joke) $5,000. Essentially you hand over your manuscript to them, they format it, prepare it for hardcover and paperback. They have various add ons that cost extra and other swag that are not always so useful. be careful with vanity presses, they have a tendency to price your book HIGH, making it nearly impossible to get a decent return. also, they are listed as your publisher, sending red flags up that it’s a vanity press release. some might not care, but some people do take notice of it.


Services Vanity Press
Upfront Cost $99 – $5,000 $25 $75 $49
Time Needed Fast Days – Months Days – Months Days – Months
Know-how Inclusive Book Formatting Book Formatting Book Formatting
Royalities Low Good Low Good
Retail Book Prices High Flexible So-So Flexible
Set your Own Prices Yes* Yes Somewhat Yes
Proofs Required No No Yes No
Author’s Copy Free Low Price Somewhat high Low Price
Author’s Price So-So Low Somewhat High Low
World Wide Distribution 6-8 weeks 1 week 6-8 weeks 6-8 weeks
Free ISBN Yes Yes Yes No
Purchase ISBN Free $10
Yearly Fee Varies No No $12.00
Able to Make Corrections Limited Unlimited Unlimited*** Unlimited
Corrections Fee $50 Free Free** Free
Control Limited Total Total Total
Bulk Purchases Discount Minimal Discount Minimal Discount $50 credit/Discount


**you must ship proofs to yourself, it’s not always required but it’s essential that you do so that you can see the formatting

as for vanity press, things to consider:
***1. they are in control of your book, even though it’s yours. they will charge you a fee to make any corrections or changes
2. they will control the price. you can sometim3s control the price but then your royalties drop
3. some places charge you a yearly fee
4. the upfront cost is quite high, and you still have to market by yourself.