I wanted to share a significant discrepancy I noticed between the printing costs associated with Createspace versus that of Lulu.
Create Space Royalty:
For a standard 300 page, B&W interior, 8" x 5.25" paperback, the equation for calculating Royalty is as follows: 0.6x - 4.5 = R where x = list price and R is equal to the Royalty. So, if you want to make a $1.00 dollar royalty, you will need to list your book for $9.17.
For a standard 300 page, B&W interior, 8.26" x 5.8" paperback (the size is a little larger, but negligible overall), the equation for calculating Royalty is as follows: 0.5x - 7.5 = R where x = list price and R is equal to the Royalty. So, if you want to make a $1.00 dollar royalty, you will need to list your book for $17.00.
As you can see in the equation(s) above, the manufacturing cost for Lulu is $7.50 or 2.5 cents per page and that for Createspace is $4.50 or 15 cents per page. Why the difference? The reason is that Lulu does not currently offer the cheaper publisher grade paper for international distribution. So, unless you plan on only selling on Lulu, you're book will have to be designed with the heavier, more expensive "standard" paper. Granted, the standard paper is much nicer and heavier, but most store bought novels use the thinner publisher grade.
The second difference, although not as substantial, is that Amazon takes a little larger cut from Lulu (50% of list price) than it does from Createspace (40% of list price) for this specific example.
Although I really do like Lulu and their platform, their costs just aren't as competitive as CreateSpace. And I don't feel comfortable asking people to shell out 17 dollars for a paperback by an unknown author such as myself. But, with Createspace and their cheaper paper option, I can ask for 10 bucks, which I think is a reasonable price. So, I guess I'm gonna continue with Createspace unless Lulu starts offering distribution with the cheaper paper.
I first setup my print book with Lulu, but eventually changed to Createspace. Being listed at Amazon.com, and in my case, at almost half the cost, was more than enough reason to switch. I can now order copies of my 313 page book 8x5.25 at less than $8.00 including shipping (if 10 or more) and I sell them for $10 each. Not bad.
Another issue I noticed with Lulu is their insistence on allocating a unique ISBN number for an eBook sold on their website. For instance if you are selling a book X on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and other sites, they all will use the same ISBN that is provided for X. On the other hand, Lulu wants another ISBN for X and you should not share it with any other bookseller.
Lulu do have a couple of advantages though -- for people outside the US they're the only real option (CreateSpace isn't an option for a variety of reasons) and they do hardbacks, unlike CreateSpace. They're also not quite as expensive as they seem, as they almost always have some kind of sale on.
Also, you're assuming there that sales go through Amazon in both cases. If you put your book up on Lulu and then drive your readers there for print, you can get the same royalty for significantly less.
I use Createspace even though I'm from the UK. Amazon have out of stock on lulu's books often but Createspace ones say in stock even though technically they're not.
I got around needing to order some myself by doing my own book launch party and ordering 50 copies (cheapest postage per book once the number is 50+) and seling them myself to friends and family. Of those 50 I've got less than 15 left and I've sold more than enough to cove the cost of them and over the next few months I should easily shift those 15. I've still got people telling me they want copies.
Go with lightningsource. yes it cost money to set it up but you get control and if you actually want your book in any store then you are going to need to set discounts and other factors plus they are returnable.
I did that full-time for a year and yes it is possible to make a lot of money: the key is volume -- offer enough books and the buyers will come. It is possible to do so with ebooks but if you're selling your book alone the revenue stream will be lower. Just remember the fees that you need to take into account (ebay listing fees, final sale value fee, paypal fee). For $0.99 books it's not worth it.