View Full Version : Equipment

08-29-2004, 11:44 PM
What are the types of equipment that would be needed for self-publishing books? I realize a good color laser printer would come in handy, but what about book-binding equipment?

08-30-2004, 11:46 AM
Can't vouch for it, but I stumbled across the InstaBook Web site and they're selling an InstaBook Maker. It's an all-in-one digital printer that also binds the books. Here's a quote from their site:

"InstaBook Maker is a proven patented technology that economically prints and binds materials into paperback books in a single step - on-site, in any location.

InstaBook Maker is the first technology in the world that solves the incredibly complex problem of making books-on-demand and turns it into a process as simple to operate as using an office copier.

InstaBook Maker is the only technology that we know of, capable of producing one book at a time economically, in production runs as low as one unit per title."

You can find their site at at www.instabook.ca/InstaBoo...aker.html. (http://www.instabook.ca/InstaBook_Maker/InstaBook_Maker.html.)

08-30-2004, 08:24 PM
What's the size of the run? Wouldn't it be cheaper (perhaps) to go to an offset printer?

08-30-2004, 10:29 PM
I don't know much about that, maestro. Up until this point, I've been using Kinko's for my poetry books. But I'm tired of them looking like "booklets" and not so much like a paperback book. Also, I have a graphic artist on hand to do color covers and it can be tedious transferring her work here, there and there.

I figure with some kind of printing machine readily available, I can print up the books faster and get them shipped quicker.

I know of self-publishers using printing services like DeHart's for their books. But, again, I'm not very familiar with that...

08-31-2004, 08:24 AM
Have you tried Lulu or Cafe Press?

They do a good job, better than Kinkos for less (for a novel anyway... not sure about poetry, depending on page count).

09-01-2004, 08:47 AM
I have not heard good things about Lulu but I'm wondering if the unfair treatment I've heard as far as their TOS goes reflects on only one person or a few disgruntled writers. Not against trying it, though.

Don't know about CafePress.

09-02-2004, 12:11 AM
I'm using CafePress for my animal rights book. Don't need distribution for it since I'm planning mainly on selling to people within my organization and school. CafePress is free to use, but doesn't give you any free products so I had to buy my book at their base price ($7.75 for a 61 page book, which is pretty ridiculous, especially since I have to charge higher than that to make a profit).

See my other thread here, where I'll be posting about the quality of the book and whether or not I can generate any sales.

09-02-2004, 02:38 AM
Please note that Lulu or Cafe Press is NOT traditional self-publishing. I only mentioned them because Greenwolf asked about alternatives to Kinko's instead of going to an offset printer for a small run.

The fact is Lulu and Cafe Press charge a hefty base price for any product through them. You will get a much better cost if you go to an offset printer (for larger runs) or POD (for runs lower than 500 copies)...

Other POD printers (vs. business models) include LightingSource and some others.

09-02-2004, 05:47 AM
I don't have the money to pay for a merchant account or printing.

10-14-2004, 10:42 AM
it all depends on how much money you've got at your disposal and how many books you want to print. if you want 3000 books, why in gawd's name would you do it yourself? that self-binding press thing sounds like bullshit. i'm just wary of anything that claims to be able to do it all with professional results from an amateur. there's a lot of things you have to weigh out. sure, you can buy a lazer printer... and how much is it going to cost you in ink cartridges? how much time is it going to take you to do all that? even a small run of 100 copies of a modest 300 page novel is going to kill your profit margin in ink costs. paper alone ain't cheap, and if you want a quality, acid-free paper, you're just getting further into the pit. my advice is check out conventional printers: you might have to buy more copies and pay more money right now, but you might get many more books at a unit cost that's too good to pass up.

the best advice is be confident in your book. if you don't think it warrants the best treatment you can afford, that translates in a amateur looking basement project, and one that's ridiculously expensive to boot, and that's just to recover your cost. the book i did cost me around $2.75 a unit for a run of 3500 and i wound-up with a book you wouldn't know wasn't professionally done if you saw it on a book shelf. its disasterous results are entirely my fault, but that's a different story.

it's possible to pay for your printing with advance sales, though i wouldn't know anything about that. mine was an underground book, so i didn't have the 'advantage' of shopping galleys around, though had i written a mainstream book, i'm sure i could have covered printing costs given enough effort. you might consider investing your efforts towards pre-sales instead of 'how do i make the actual physical book myself?' something to consider, eh? the downside to pre-sales is, as i understand it, there's a clause in the contracts with bookstores saying that you have to buy back all unsold copies of your book, so putting a down-payment on that new corvette probably wouldn't be the wisest thing to do.

lemme mention this here instead of finding out the relevant thread: i had gotten a business account, and for me, i found it utterly a waste of time and money. i think that for the time being your regular bank account would work out just fine. something *else* to check out, though, just to be on the safe side.