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I have written a book that I would like to get printed. I am not looking to have it published at this time but would like to get a limited number of copies (100-200) printed up for family and friends.

Are there any good companies out there that will help me get my book printed?

I have looked at Lulu.com and infinitypublishing.com but don't know whether either of these services will truly give me what I want without taking some rights to my work in the process.

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5 Answers

If you use one Lulu or Infinity Publishing, you'll have self-published your book and lost your first publication rights. Definitely not a plus if you're planning on selling it to a publisher.

If you just wanted a couple copies printed, you can go to Kinkos or something like that to have it printed. Most online places I know of are self-publishers, not printers.

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Using Lulu doesn't automatically use up for rights. You can use them to print privately, which means they won't list in on their site or offer it for sale in any way. You're just using them solely as a printer, just the same as if you had gone to Kinkos. If you want to keep a copy for yourself and give a few to friends that's hardly enough to be 'published', it would be more like offering it to a writers group. –  Fox Cutter Feb 12 '11 at 3:18
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But you still agree to their contract which uses up your first publication rights. It doesn't matter if you don't sell the book to anyone, it's still considered published. It's not how many people buy the book, it has to do with the contract you "sign." –  Ralph Gallagher Feb 12 '11 at 5:16
    
Ah, that's different then. Yeah, don't use Lulu in that case. –  Fox Cutter Feb 12 '11 at 9:36
    
yes, it has to do with the contract you sign. "first publication rights" are customary, but not law (of course, correct me if I'm wrong). –  Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 12 '11 at 14:31
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If you are willing to do the grunt work, check out Lightning Source (http://www.lightningsource.com/) and/or CreateSpace (http://www.createspace.com/) by Amazon.

Lightning Source is one of the cheapest I have found online when I was searching for such a solution about a year ago, and I believe Amazon's CreateSpace actually uses them for their printing services (not 100% sure). The advantage with Lightning Source is that they are the ones who actually DO the printing. However, you will have to call them up and talk with them to get them to work with you — I have done this and they setup an account for me, but I have yet to print anything.

CreateSpace, on the other hand, is from Amazon. They will print out your documents for you, and I assume they act as the "middle man" for Lightning Source. It is slightly more expensive, but I believe it is cheaper than Lulu. They also offer a little more help for getting through the process.

However, if you want some help along the way, the only suggestion I can make is Lulu. You will pay, but it is well worth it.

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Similar to Lulu, Createspace is a self-publisher. The asker is looking for a printer, not a publisher. –  Ralph Gallagher Feb 14 '11 at 2:29
    
Granted, CreateSpace may be considered a publisher, but they produce a very professional product and it doesn't cost you anything to create the books. Once you have the book created and approved, you can buy them at discounted rates as the author. Even better, you now have a published book that can be purchased through Amazon. I used CreateSpace to provide a print version of my first fantasy novel, and I was extremely pleased with the end result. –  Steven Drennon Jul 22 '11 at 4:08
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Not sure how best to address Mr. Gallagher's comments as I can't seem to reply. However, it is my understanding that First Publication Rights refer to the first time your book is brought to market. Simply setting the plate at a press does not qualify, nor does making a hundred copies of your story and handing it out to friends and family.

In the case of most short-run print houses, they have attempted to augment their bottom line with a marketplace or online store. They'll help you sell the book, but this would consume your First Publication Rights.

Even given the contract that you agree to with Lulu, I can't see any fashion in which they claim any form of publication rights when your printing is completed privately. Prevent your working from coming to market, and you preserve your First Publication Rights.

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Doing a quick read through of Lulu's "contract" is this "When you provide Content for publication or sale, you grant Lulu the nonexclusive right to post, display, copy, and sell that Content within the limitations you set during the online publishing process." That uses your first publication rights. Lulu is a self-publisher, not a printer. –  Ralph Gallagher Feb 14 '11 at 23:48
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Why wouldn't the clause "within the limitations you set during the online publishing process" have an impact? If you set the limitations (via their private setting) that their right to distribute your work is zilch, how have you given them anything beyond what you'd give your laserjet when hitting the 'print' button. –  Steven Sokulski Feb 22 '11 at 16:24
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A local Border's affiliate in my town actually has a book-printing machine which they will assist you in using to the extent you need it...remember, writing is writing, but there's design and typesetting work to be done which is not at all trivial (someone close to me works as a graphic designer and is presently wrangling with an author--who is intending to self-publish--over this very issue). That is the expertise that a publisher brings to the table and why many people engage them.

When you engage a printer instead of a publisher, you are still publishing the book, it's just that you are your own publisher...so basically, you have no need of a publisher's expertise, presuming you can take care of the visual elements I mentioned above.

If you think you are going to be selling the book to a major (or minor) house though, you would do well to shop the manuscript first before you fix it in permanent printed form, because any print run is essentially a first printing of your book, whether you are the publisher or someone like lulu.com.

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When my daughter wrote a book, I used http://www.48hrbooks.com/ to print 25 copies. They looked just like books you'd buy in a store. She was thrilled and gave them out to her friends and family. They were fast and professional. And, if you buy a large order their prices are quite competitive. You retain all rights to the book.

They have an online calculator so you can see exactly what your book will cost before you ever contact a human. The price quoted to me online was exactly what I paid at the end.

From the start of the process to having books in hand took about a week.

(I am not affiliated with them, I'm just a happy customer.)

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