Do you do bulk orders through CreateSpace?
This was part of a longer Mailbag question that I separated out because the answer is long.
In 2002, when I started this self-publishing journey, print-on-demand printing was WAY more expensive than it is now. I used POD printers to source to the distributors (Lighting Source aka LSI and Booksurge which was then bought by Amazon and merged into CreateSpace) and then had a printer out of MA that did my bulk orders. I’d order a few hundred at a time from them and those would be the discounted acting editions I’d sell to productions at a big discount off retail. Because I got them for so much cheaper using the outside printer, I could sell them to groups for less than half the retail price… and make more than I made when I sold them retail.
These days, however, print-on-demand is so much cheaper that it’s hard to justify the hassle of having multiple printers unless it’s a big discount. While it changes all the time, the last time I priced it out a few years ago, the best short run quote someone could give me for a huge print order was only a few cents cheaper per copy than what LSI could give me for an order of 50. CreateSpace is not the cheapest around but it’s not terrible. Price it out with a few bulk printers to be sure but don’t underestimate the freedom of not having to stock and store a zillion copies just because it was cheaper to order in bulk. It’s super nice to just have the copies printed to order as needed.
Just leave yourself the room between how you price the book for retail and your bulk or production exclusive discount cost (however you want to pitch it). If you make the retail price too low, you won’t be able to afford giving a bookstore like The Drama Book Shop 50% and still make your cut.
Photo by Baltimore City Paper