2 New Ways to Get Your Book Published - Blurb and Liber.io

Blurb Review

This came up as I was looking at alternatives to Lulu (namely: CreateSpace) and Blurb's name came up as a Print-on-Demand solution which also ported to Ingram and elsewhere.

Pluses:

To begin with, it costs you nothing to upload your book. Chiefly they make their money from publishing, and selling you multiple copies of your own book. In this, they are competitive with both Lulu and CreateSpace for pricing. (Oh, and you have to pay to get their logo off your book, except for trade books that can be distributed through Ingram.)

What CreateSpace doesn't do that Lulu does - print hardback books.

What Blurb does that neither Lulu or CreateSpace does - print magazines.

If you can successfully publish your book there, they do have a bookstore - which would be another discovery opportunity. Like Leanpub, you have to jump through hoops to get there.

Minuses:

You have to use their program to get your book created. Those programs only really run on MAC or Linux. You can use a plug-in for In-Design - but that only runs on a MAC. Blurb isn't platform independent.

They've only recently gotten into ebooks and feature the Kindle as their example of how to make one (poor example, since the Kindle is a walled garden where readers don't really own their books.)

They do publish PDF's - but of course you can only buy them through Blurb or your own site.

You can upload your own formatted, print-ready PDF - but are faced with an incredible amount of detail which only professional printers would know answers to. Dumb to give self-publishers that hill to climb as well.

Summary: 

Not ready for prime time. You're stuck into using their programs or else. And the programs aren't simple, but designed for professional print graphic designers.

Ebooks are an after-thought as they are just now (years late) coming up with their own entry into this market.

Their printing prices look cheaper than both Lulu and CreateSpace, but you're basically being forced into hiring a pro to get your book onto their lines.



Liber.io Review

This was refreshing. And tempting. Found it by chance while posting elsewhere - came from Zemanta recommendations.

Pluses:

Web based. Runs even when you don't have a web-connection (reportedly.)

Will take documents you've uploaded to Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, and OneDrive - as well as uploading from your own computer.

Liber.io is a very, very simple conversion program. Essentially, you get a very close version to how you formatted it on G-Drive. Don't know why Smashwords and Lulu make this so complicated.

They give you a nice page for your ebook where people can download it - for free. Both epub and mobi versions as a zip file.

What's really fascinating is that they are the first to support epub3, meaning they'll allow you to add music and videos to your book (Soundcloud or Vine.) Of course, almost no ebook readers will play these...

Minuses:

You're probably best off uploading to Google Drive and pulling it from there. I tested a local .ODT file and found it dropped all the images and twisted the links. ODT files uploaded to G-Drive are converted into its own version. Liber.io will handle (reportedly) anything you can get onto G-Drive, but I haven't tested powerpoints, etc.

Liberio is only a conversion program. It doesn't enable you to sell your book, other than offering a cut-rate ISBN (which you don't need to publish an ebook, contrary to what they say.)

It's default page style is justified - which shatters on most smartphone ereaders.

Their eBook to Go package gives you a very nice price on ISBN's (price a single one and you'll see this is a bargain. Having your own ISBN means you can publish under your own imprint, not Lulu's or CreateSpace's. They allow you to remove their branding (which you could do with Calibre's editor) and give you a  minisite to link your book to all the popular sites. (Ganxy will also link your hardcopy versions.)

You'll still need to check on Calibre's epub editor, or Sigil. While it does pass the epubcheck, there are items it doesn't check for (such as too large a file.)

And their offer of a dirt-cheap ISBN is a great one. I tried it out and could get everything except the mini-site to work - which is the main draw of this. You can do the same with Sellfy, Payhip, or Ganxy (even Gumroads).

Since you don't need an ISBN, this is not a draw, really.

Summary:

Great for beginners. Essentially, this is probably the easiest way to get a text file converted to an epub. Much easier than anywhere else. Anywhere.

They do really an incredible job for nothing.

For someone with a simple whitepaper or manifesto to publish as an ebook (particularly if you want to give it away as a lead generator, this is a good - if not the best - way to get your text file simply converted to ebub and mobi.

I haven't found Liber.io to be a replacement for the assembly line of LibreOffice-Writer2Epub-Calibre for creating and checking epubs. But I've been at this for a long while and started when it wasn't as easy as it is now.

If you're just starting out, I'd recommend either Leanpub or Liber.io to get your conversions done, then tweak them in Calibre's editor to remove the branding.

After that, get your ISBN for free from Lulu (who will also sell your book for you) and then port it to the other 5 main distributors.


No comments :

Post a Comment