I still feel that The Book Patch was a good choice for me. And if I were to publish a second book of poems, or another type of specialty book, I may go through them again, but for traditional size and print books, I'm considering other options.
This is what I sent to my friend to pass along:
I self-published my book of poetry, Echoes, through a small California-based company called The Book Patch (http://www.thebookpatch.com). I was originally going to go through Lulu.com, but their prices went up shortly before I was ready to publish, and since my book was poetry and art, and therefore, full color cover and insides, the price I’d have to list it at to make even a few dollars profit was ridiculous. No one would pay that cost; not even family members. So, I went looking for someone else.
Like any company, TBP has advantages and disadvantages.
1. Their ISBN prices are the best I’ve seen.
2. You can buy & register your ISBN through TBP, and then use it elsewhere.
3. You can even print your book on your own computer, if you so choose.
4. You retain all rights.
5. You get 100% of your royalty. Ex: If the manufacturing cost of your book is $5.00, and you list it as $12.00, you will earn and keep that $7.00 difference for every book sold. Amazon and Lulu both take a percentage of your royalties.
6. Their print quality is excellent.
7. Their s&h time is fast, even if you use their cheapest option. (Ex: I live in southwest Virginia. Lulu is in Raleigh, NC. TBP is in California. I paid for fast shipping with Lulu and slow shipping with TBP. My proof copy from TBP made it to me faster than from Lulu.)
8. You pay wholesale, not retail, costs for copies of your book.
9. Great customer service.
1. They are a small company.
a. Their s&h costs outside of the US are cost prohibitive.
b. Many people haven’t heard of them, so even though their site is protected via SSL, many people I know wouldn’t order from them.
c. They only take credit/debit at this time, not PayPal or Google Checkout, which further deterred my potential customers.
2. Not easy or cost effective (at least for me) to get your books to Amazon, B&N, or other book retailers.
3. Limited book size templates.
4. No hardcover. (This was not a disadvantage for me, but I know some writers want the option.)
With my next book, I think that I will probably try Amazon’s Create Space. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them from various self-published authors. Even though you don’t get 100% of your royalty, a lot of the benefits seem to outweigh that fact. I may still go through TBP to purchase my ISBN, however.