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This page contains "bookmarks" of possible interest to residents of, or visitors to, Morro Bay, CA.
Many of these links have been added in response to reader questions about where to find something.

Self-publish and print-on-demand

  • (Highly recommended) LuLu.com (started in 2002) is getting a lot of publicity (2005, 2006) as a self-publishing vehicle, and is rapidly growing (91,000+ professionally bound books were published through Lulu in January 2006, nearly three times the 35,500 books the site produced in August 2005.  Sales are running at about $1 million a month but growing at an extraordinary clip of 10 percent monthly, said founder Bob Young.).  Read their http://www.lulu.com/ page which says in part "Lulu is the web's premier independent publishing marketplace for digital do-it-yourselfers. It's the only place on the web where you can publish, sell and buy any and all things digital — books, music, comics, photographs, movies and well, you get the idea. We simply provide the tools that leave control of content in the hands of the people who created the content. You see, Lulu is a technology company, not a publisher. So you can use Lulu to publish and sell any kind of digital content, and no one here is going to ask you to change anything. Ever. Your vision is entirely YOURS." There is no set-up fee and no minimum order to publish and sell on Lulu. We manage the online business, including printing, delivery and customer service. You set your own royalty for each piece of content, and at the end of each quarter, we'll mail you a check for the royalties your content generates. Lulu makes a small percentage from each transaction, which means that we only make money if you succeed in selling your work."   LuLu was founded by Bob Young, who might be better known as the co-founder of Red Hat open source software company.  See my sample Lulu storefront at http://www.lulu.com/mikebaird to e.g., a photo at http://www.lulu.com/content/164274 and a PowerPoint presentation at http://www.lulu.com/content/164514.  In fact, many smaller publishers now use LuLu for all their printing and distribution services.  "Self-published" and "Vanity" press authors should not confuse "getting a publisher" with printing, distribution, and fulfillment services.  Before LuLu, I recommended the following two services, which still might be right for you. 
    (Note: in early 2006 I noticed that the "Global Distribution Service" (since renamed "Published by Lulu...") at LuLu, which gets you an ISBN number and distribution through the wholesale channels like Ingram Book Group, was not offered for books with color illustrations.  This was a major disappointment for certain kinds of works, like CA State Park ecologist Michael Walgren's  popular local nature books; In November 2006 I notice that wholesale distribution of color books is  now supported in the 8.5"x11" and 8.5"x8.5" formats).
  • blurb.com  As further proof that the print-on-demand self-publishing market is growing, a new player -- called Blurb ( http://www.blurb.com/ ) -- became a competitor to Lulu on May 3, 2006.  Pricing and mechanics differ at Lulu and Blurb, though the basic process is similar.  At Lulu, authors upload their material as preformatted, printer-ready files and then tweak them online.  Blurb offers offline formatting by providing special software that authors download and use to lay out text and images.  For now (May 2006), Blurb offers only full-color hardcovers starting at $30 for 40 pages, each 8 by 10 inches. Prices rise to $35 for 80 pages and $80 for 400 pages. Paperbacks will be coming soon, along with templates for different genres, including novels and text-only manuscripts.  Lulu offers far more choices, including text-only formats, paperbacks that start at less than $9 and color books at less than $35.
  • (Highly recommended) Xlibris print-on-demand  How to...  Xlibris is top-quality self-publishing.  It is not free, but the services rendered are excellent.  Morro Bay resident Freeman Hall produced a book using Xlibris.
  • iuniverse.com Self-publishing...
    One chief difference between the newer services Blurb and Lulu, and the older services Xlibris and iUniverse, is that Xlibris and iUniverse charge authors up-front fees, which makes publishing through them more expensive.
  • Not necessarily recommended, and definitely not a brand presence, printmybookonline.com is local to Morro Bay (being in Los Osos, CA) and might be worth your investigation.  (Note: 3-28-06 Oops, printmybookonline.com now seems to be out of commission, the domain owner is spotlightprinting.com).
  • Compare the above services that can reward the author with most of the profits, with, for example, iuniverse.com or publishamerica.com which might be thought of as self-publishing vanity press options with an online twist.  If you do most of the work and take all of the financial risk, you should get most of the rewards.
  • If you can sell your book proposal to a recognized traditional publisher (this may be much more difficult than writing the book itself), who will make a significant investment in you, in improving your product, and in marketing your book.. that is usually preferable... but the fact is that most books, especially those written by first-time authors, and books written for smaller niche markets, do not have the potential financial return-on-investment needed to make them candidates for traditional publishers.
  • BookSurge print-on-demand publisher was acquired by amazon.com in 2005 and should be given serious consideration for "author initiated publishing".  They have good distribution services, inc. for color books... Pricing example, a 60 page, full color, 8.25"x11.75" book would retail for $25.99 and be printed on 80# white paper using 4-color CMYK using their Author's Express Publishing Program - Full Color - $299 (gets you an ISBN and distribution)... trim size no smaller than 4" width x 6" height, no larger than 8.25" width x 10.5 height.
  • CreateSpace is another newer Amazon property (see BookSurge above) that facilitates self-publishing print-on-demand books (new), CDs, and DVDs (previously).  This alternative for book publishing just came to my attention in January 2008. "The CreateSpace Book on Demand program is a self-service, do-it-yourself online tool that allows you to upload your ready-for-printing PDF book files and make your trade paperback book(s) available for sale online."  With this service you get an ISBN and marketing and sales at Amazon.com.   Depending on your project and personal computer skills, CreateSpace should be seriously considered in place of Lulu or Blurb (two services I highly recommend above).