I just created my CreateSpace account, as this method for self-publishing seems like a great way to go from a financial and marketing standpoint (at least for my first book). However, it appears that there are no options available for the type of book binding being used. Is this the case? Because my book is more of a workbook where people have to record information, I prefer to use some sort of wire or coil binding. Any suggestions as other self-publishing companies that might work better for me? There are so many on the Internet, and I rather go by referrals. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Perfect binding is the only option available through CreateSpace. Because comb or Wire-O bindings require manual labor, it seems unlikely that you'll find a print-on-demand company doing them (i.e. producing one at time, only when one is ordered/sold). Because of the manual labor step, these are also more expensive to make than a perfect bound book the same size (yet they have a lower perceived value in most readers' eyes). I produce a lot of workbooks, and will offer the following suggestions:
Design a version that matches CS's largest trim size (8x10) with generous inside margins (at least an inch) so the portions of the page on which a person would have to write are not too close to the gutter. On the copyright page, below the usual information, have a visible statement that says: This book is also available in a coil-bound "lay flat" version. Contact <web address> to order. That page is displayed with the Amazon "Look Inside" feature, so anyone who finds it on Amazon (but who really wants a different binding) will see that it's available and how to get it -- and they'll contact you to order.
As far as where to have those made, a local printer with the right equipment can generally do it competitively, plus you'll save money on shipping and can get any errors or problems resolved immediately. Wire-O binding is typically an extra $1.00 to $1.50 a book, so if you're making as many as I do, you quickly figure out that you can buy your own machine and supplies and do it yourself -- or what I've done is hire the son or daughter of a friend or neighbor (a teenager looking for extra money) and teach them how to do it. I can pay $0.35 a book, they'll make around minimum wage (good money for something they can do while watching TV or talking on the phone), and the right person will do a more meticulous job than I would (catching printing errors and such). If you're set up to operate that way, then you can find a printer on-line that will be able to beat your local printer's prices on just the printing (even with shipping costs), and they can ship you collated pages that are ready to bind.
If your books are 96 pages or less, saddle stitching is another option you might consider because it will lay flat (like a magazine), but is cheaper than anything else to produce (even with full color pages). For example, I had one workbook that was about 200 pages, but it had four distinct units. I found that creating four separate saddle stitched booklets, 48 to 64 pages each, was the least expensive option. It also looked more professional than one 200 page book in comb, coil, or 3-ring binding, and was easier for participants to use because the part they were writing on at any given time was thinner in size.
I hope that was helpful. Welcome to the community and best wishes on your projects.
Thank you for your reply! I had already decided to go with the 8x10 page size (but I've been doing this in FrameMaker using 8.5x11 so I need to download the template and make some changes). Is it possible to get the name (or a link) to one of your books where you used this binding option so I can see exactly how you did this? Also, if I decide to offer the other binding option, I want it to look exactly like the book being sold on Amazon (with the same cover, etc.). Is this possible? If so, how? I guess if I took the book to Kinkos or Staples, etc. for printing and binding, I'll have to have them trim the pages to the 8x10 size (as I would be giving them the book on 8.5x11 paper) -- in FrameMaker, I can add crop marks. The book is only going to be about 30 pages.
I like Lighthouse's method, but if you're looking for a POD to do it all, Lulu.com offers Saddle Stitch (stapled) binding and Coil Bound options. They also can print to 8.5x11". But note that their prices are higher than CS, so your sell price and royalties will be affected.
I have found many of your posts very helpful and would really appreciate it if you could share a little more about your experience using your own equipment (wire-o) to bind your books. I'm working on a 340 page daily planner and have considered createspace but would much rather have a book that lays flat. Another issue is that I would like having single color accents/lines throughout all pages but most book printers charge for full color regardless of how many colors I use. I would also consider having a few colored pages and the rest black/white. I called one of my local printers to get an idea of how much it would cost to print 340 pages and their prices were extremely high (>$80). What kind of printer do you use? I have looked at sites such as onlineskyline.com to see how much a wireO binding machine would cost and see that manual machines are pretty affordable--are they good enough though? I plan on becoming very familiar with all of this before investing on my own equipment. I thought you would be the best person to ask since you have the experience..
Thanks in advance,
Thanks for the compliment.
As far as the printing question, I normally used a local shop if I was on a short timeline, but would request bids on large jobs that had more lead time. I considered 3 to 4 cents a page a good price for black-and-white in the quantities I was doing, and 12 to 15 cents a page a good price for color (but color keeps getting cheaper, and might come in as low as 8 or 9 cents a page now). As my previous post sort of suggested, I've been moving away from the wire bound books, and instead started using thinner, saddle stitched booklets for the materials that are actually needed in-session, and I package that booklet with a CD-ROM that contains a lot more content than the old wire books ever did. That booklet/CD combo is much cheaper and easier to produce, and it makes a smaller, lighter, and more convenient package to ship or transport.
As for the equipment, my suggestion would be to talk to a few operators in print shops that do Wire-O and ask what they like/dislike on their machines. Then (if you have an office equipment store that carries them) try out a few for yourself, price the cost of the supplies, etc. Generally, higher priced equipment doesn't translate to better quality or greater durability as much as it means it can handle higher capacities with greater speed and ease of use (and that may important if you're building 340-page books -- you probably don't want something that can only punch/drill 8 pages at once and is totally manual). Keep your eyes open for used equipment, too -- you may find a real bargain on a larger commercial unit, especially these days.
Hope that helps. Good luck with your project.
Thanks for the reply,
After thinking this through I've decided that I will try publishing with CS first and see how it goes. I'll choose the 8.25x8.25 book which I assume will stay open better than a vertical book (6x9). I'll go with black and white instead of color. I plan on using quarkxpress to design my pages..I'm currently doing the tutorials and it seems fairly simple so far, hope it stays that way :-)
If you ABSOLUTELY want a binding like Thomas Guide (Double Wire) or just a saddle stitch (stapled twice down the center) you might try instantpublisher.com although they require you to purchase a minimum of 25 units. Hope this helps.
If you are giving serious consideration to a webpress (printers using 4-color processes) to produce your book, ask the print company what their print signature is. This is generally an 8 or 16 page layout on the plate. By using this signature you will be able to identify which pages the printer wants to see as a color page and which page they expect to see as a black and white page. If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, PM me I can email you a PDF file that my printer supplied me so you can get a good feel for what I am talking about.
Saddle stitching would require a separate finishing unit, but I believe the machines CS have now are all-in-one rather than separate printing and binding units. So it's probably not likely, unless demand for it is high enough to warrant additional equipment investment. If they did, I don't know that it would necessarily be any cheaper than perfect binding.
PS. I do a magazine through CS and perfect binding is just fine. The only thing I'd like that can't be done at present is to be able to print inside the covers.