View Full Version : Self-Publishing through Cafe Press

08-31-2004, 05:14 PM
I'm the head of a local animal rights group, and I'm going to self-publish a brief (50-60 pages, most likely) AR book with CafePress. I'll post my experience here.

BTW, my group's store can be found at www.cafepress.com/arainsb123. (http://www.cafepress.com/arainsb123.)

08-31-2004, 09:30 PM
I printed with Cafe Press before and was pleased with the result, although they're costly -- more expensive than Lulu.

09-01-2004, 07:45 AM
And LuLu has the courtesy to send you a free author copy, right? I was thinking of going with them but I decided that it would be simpler to have all my ARA stuff in one place.

09-02-2004, 12:12 AM
My book is out! It's called Animal Rights 101, 61 pages, 5x8 paperback Wire-O (ie spiral notebook style) binding. www.cafepress.com/arainsb123. (http://www.cafepress.com/arainsb123.)

I've ordered a copy of it and will post about its physical quality when it arrives. I'm also releasing an eBook version of it on CD-Rom, it should be out soon. The eBook will be a .exe file I made with Natata's Free eBook Compiler (a good software program for anyone considering self-publishing an ebook, www.natata.com/). (http://www.natata.com/).)

A good thing about CafePress is that I'll be able to change the contents of my book at any time for free.

09-19-2004, 12:31 AM
I received my copy of the book today. The problems:

1. Thin Cover
2. The first 30 pages are at the back of the book, the last 30 pages at the front.
3. The cover image is cut off.

Paper quality is good, ink is good except that there are marks at the top of every page. I recommend that you don't use them.

09-19-2004, 07:35 AM
I am sorry to hear that. That is AWFUL! :cry Do you have the rights to it? Can you withdraw it?

09-21-2004, 02:26 AM
They're just a printer, so yeah, I have the rights and I can withdraw it at any time instantly. I'm very tempted to remove it right now, but they have a 30-day return policy, so I'm returning it and getting a fixed copy first.

09-21-2004, 08:41 PM
I had good experience with them. The cover certainly was thick (for a paperback) and the content was correct (I submitted a formatted PDF file). But my experience is limited to the perfect binding of a 280pg book. Perhaps with the other binding options they have a problem?

Is there maybe a formatting issue in your PDF file that you're not aware of? If you'd like, I can take a look at your PDF and see if there's any problem with it.

09-22-2004, 05:46 AM
"The cover certainly was thick"

Really? Mine was kinda flimsy. I used wire-o binding. The PDF file is fine, the pages are in the right order lol.

09-27-2004, 07:53 AM
I switched to Lulu, and it's great! My storefront (www.lulu.com/arainsb123) (http://www.lulu.com/arainsb123)) looks a lot better, my book is priced much cheaper, and it can be downloaded.

10-04-2004, 06:31 AM
PETA2 (PETA's site for teens) interviewed me and will be featuring me for a month on their Star Street Teamer page, viewed by their 35,000 Street Team (a group of teens who carry out grassroots activism) members. The Chicago Tribune interviewed me for their KidsRead section about "why I won't be eating turkey at Thanksgiving," and I emailed my interviewer about Animal Rights 101, so it may be featured there.

10-07-2004, 12:02 AM
CONGRATS!!! :jump Good luck with your book.

10-14-2004, 10:55 AM
did they not send you a pre-printing copy to proof? or is that something vanity presses aren't in the habit of doing? i think those spiral bindings used to be one of the most expensive ones you could get. what was the unit cost if you don't mind me asking? good that it worked out for you in the end. i can only imagine how you felt when you got the books. i'd be flipping irate. it also exlemplifies the kind of attitude self-publishers have to adopt: sometimes you have to slip into ass-kicking mode to get things done. my nature is to be pretty laid back, but there were those times things weren't getting done and i wasn't happy about it so i let those responsible know in no uncertain terms what my expectations were for my money.

10-17-2004, 08:39 AM
Well, since CafePress is free, they make you buy your book if you want to see it. The cost was 7.75 for a 61 page book, and I had to mark that up to $10 to make a worthwhile profit. Spiral binding was less expensive than perfect binding, although the extra cost per page was $.03 rather than the $.02 for perfect bounds. Lulu's base prices are far cheaper.

They STILL haven't written back to my email asking for a cash refund (CP has a 30-day return policy). I emailed them about three weeks ago, I believe. VERY annoying.

10-24-2004, 01:27 PM
annoying is one word for it. i guess it depends on how many pages you have as to whether or not which binding is cheaper, no?

as an aside, you can always tell the difference between a large publishing house's book and even a professional looking vanity press printing-- the vanity press books can sometimes be weird sizes, but the main tell is they cost three times as much to buy!

10-24-2004, 10:41 PM
One of my poetry books went through a vanity press. They marked the price at $4.95, with the book at 38 pages.

04-23-2005, 07:57 PM
Hey everyone,
If you plan on trying to get your book shelved in a brick and mortar bookstore, then you should never, ever use a binding like spiral binding. Especially if it is wire.

I used to work at a Barnes and Noble Superstore a decade ago and would occasionally see books with saddlestitching or spiral (plastic and wire) binding and shake my head at them.

To me, since most books do not get "faced out" but instead are showing their spines on the shelves, the spine is Much More Important than any cover art.

You are competing with other titles on a shelf and you want to make sure that your spine and your title stand out and scream, "pick ME off the shelf and look at me."

I also saw spines that were impossible to read, such as white background with pink script lettering. Please, use a bold readable font that has good contrast to the rest of the spine.

Otherwise, your book is doomed to gather dust on a shelf. It might not even get returned to the publisher for the mere fact that booksellers will have a hard time locating it when they have pick-lists for returns.


04-23-2005, 08:08 PM
How do you get a Cafe Press book into Barnes and Nobles?

Anyway, yes, the spine must "jump out" as well. Obviously you can't put too much in that little strip, but your text should be clear and attractive, at the very least.

04-24-2005, 02:29 AM
The only reason I use CafePress is because I like showing up to book signings with my book cover on my coffee mugs. Yes, I'm weird.

05-19-2005, 03:17 AM
The only reason I use CafePress is because I like showing up to book signings with my book cover on my coffee mugs. Yes, I'm weird.

Keep in mind you can always use Cafepress for the promotional items like coffee mugs, bookmarks and calendars while doing a shortrun offset print for your book.


07-03-2005, 03:08 PM
Hey, thanks for mentioning Lulu--I've published my comic through cafepress because I've gotten a bunch of other things through them and they've always been pretty decent, quality-wise. (Not great, but decent.)

However, if they're cheaper I'll definitely give Lulu a look!