I currently have my book published on Amazon using createspace and Lulu (google weave of the ride). However, I am not happy with the quality of the product.

I don't want a glossy cover, bleached white paper etc. I would like to have more control over this and get a more professional look that people are going to want to have as part of their collection.

There is nothing wrong with my book, in fact it has some great reviews and feedback, but I feel the format is letting it down. What can I do?

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    Have you looked into other vanity presses like Xlibris? Or are they all much of a muchness? Mar 12, 2013 at 16:35
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    "I presume" is not "I have a sample printed by Xlibris and it looks the same." Just saying. Mar 12, 2013 at 18:00
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    At the risk of annoying the SE bots, can you tell me what details you're concerned with so I can describe them? The paper is a little thinner than what I find in traditionally-published books, but it's the same off-white. I did the typesetting so it looks visually right, and the cover art was a professional commission. It's perfect-bound. Are there other details you need? Mar 13, 2013 at 0:26
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    let us continue this discussion in chat Mar 13, 2013 at 1:11
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    Could you be more specific about what you're unhappy about? I have a book published by CreateSpace with a cream paper. That's an option if it's just that you don't like the stark white. I have a hardcover from Lulu with white paper and a paperback with cream paper. All three -- CS cream, Lulu white, Lulu cream -- look fine to me. I thought glossy covers looked "more professional" than flat covers, I don't know what alternatives are there. My only quality complaint about CS or Lulu is that CS's paperback covers can peel if abused enough.
    – Jay
    Sep 4, 2013 at 17:29

3 Answers 3


You could try Lightning Source. I've heard good things about them and I've seen a couple of the books - they look pretty good. Considering using it for a volume this year (that I'm editing, I should add, not writing! I'm not on board with this self-publishing malarkey). Also, unlike CreateSpace, the printer's name isn't listed as the publisher in online bookstores (I don't know that for sure, but that's what I've been told by the company).

  • I understand, but I'm not sure about this 'pretty good' business. If I am spending the time writing a book, surely the publishers understand that I want it to be a nice object. You should never judge a book by its cover (or paper quality), but that saying exists for a reason, precisely because thats what people do. People often buy books just because of the format. I think its a real gap in the market for self-publishers. Mar 14, 2013 at 12:26
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    Do you mean, 'surely the printers understand...' ? When you're self-publishing you are the publisher. You certainly shouldn't depend on my advice (or anyone else's) as to the quality of the book. You need to find samples of the printer's work and hold them in your hands and see what you think yourself: apart from things like robustness, it's a subjective judgement.
    – micapam
    Mar 14, 2013 at 21:32
  • good point taken.. Oct 11, 2013 at 15:25

You can also look to independent self-publishing outlets like Mill City Press and Troy Book Makers. They offer a variety of trim sizes, lamination, paper stock. Know that there are some industry limits regarding paper - a few different weights/ thicknesses (like 50#, 55#, and 60#) in either cream (natural) or plain white. Getting an artistic paper (with, for example, a deckle edge) likely requires you work directly with a printer yourself. A short print run could be quite expensive!

  • If you want to handle your own distribution (and manage stock), there are lots of quality printers who will be happy to print a run for you. I can't tell from the question whether OP is looking for printing+fulfillment; I've left a comment. Jun 3, 2013 at 19:49

You sound like you are concerned with the quality of materials and other elements of a professional, polished presentation. Why not hire a book designer? A book designer can guide you to printers that can produce the kind of books you are looking for.

Quantity has a bearing on what materials are available for your book. For instance, if you are printing over 500 you can use our fine domestic book printers. You may even have a printer in your own community who has the right binding equipment for your project.

Quality extends to design as well as materials, so a book designer can make that polished, custom design that will express your book.

The reason that CreateSpace and IngramSpark offer inexpensive design is because they have automated the process. The price is right, but you may be the discerning author who actually needs human intelligence and creativity focused on your particular message, not a computer algorithm that solves the easy problems that satisfy the crowd.

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