Skip navigation
655 Views 10 Replies Last post: Jul 20, 2017 7:55 AM by R.C. RSS
Level 0 5 posts since
May 31, 2017
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 17, 2017 4:31 AM

POD - are these problems common?

I shifted over to Create Space after attempting to publish my novel through Ingram Spark. My novel has been worked on by a professional editor, has a great cover designed by an award winning designer and I used a first class typesetter to format the files. Ingram Spark was unable to reproduce the cover - it was green and sickly looking. I could not take it to market and their customer service was absolutely appalling. Really rude. So I turned to Create Space.

 

The customer service at Create Space has been much better, but that does not mean that the problems have been solved. In fact, I have different problems now. I have had three copies of my novel sent to me. The first had a cover that was completely off alignment, ranged to the right, to the extent that the spine text was butted up against the front cover and the front and back cover placements were completely off. How could someone send me a book like that for approval?

 

Create Space apologised for this problem and sent another copy. That cover was okay, but this time the interior was scrunched throughout. Again, how could someone send me a book like that for approval and especially after the first problem.

 

Create Space apologised again and I have now received another copy. With this latest copy, the first 25+ pages are not in alignment with the rest of the pages. If I was a buyer, would I be happy to get this? I don't think so. And this is what was deemed okay after two earlier problems! Clearly erors of this kind are acceptable.

 

The other great difference with Create Space is that the back cover contains a bold quote followed by a description in regular text (both in black text). The reguar text looks bold - so that there is little differentiation between the quote and the description. Go figure. This has only been the case with Create Space - who suggested I alter my files (no way).

 

All of these delays meant that I was unable to order the copies I needed for my launch from Create Space. In desperation, I went to a traditional printer, who turned the job around really fast and the cost was comparative. The quality is also infinitely better. The bold text on teh cover looks bold, the regular text on teh cover looks like regular text, the color of teh cover and the interior text are perfect, the blacks are all great (lots of juicy detail). No problems at all. I sold heaps of books at the launch and have ordered more from the same traditional printer.

 

There is still an argument for me to persist with Create Space in order to access the overseas markets (I am in Australia), but I am very concerned about the poor quality of the books I have received. Every copy so far has had faults. Have other people had the same experience who are independently publishing through Create Space? Have you had complaints from readers who have in good faith purchased your book only to get an unaccetable copy in the mail? Are Create Space going to magically do a better job for me now, when they haven't impressed me so far?

 

I would really like to be able to press the approve button. Am I the only one having these experiences and these doubts? Comparatively, as I see it, people are paying enough for these books to expect a professional quality. It also seems to take at least 5 days to print a single book. Is this the best I can expect from POD? Manufacturing faults with every copy for my readers?

Level 5 5,988 posts since
Mar 10, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
1. Jul 17, 2017 7:07 AM in response to: Tracie
Re: POD - are these problems common?

The shifting issues you mentioned do occur occasionally but are rare in my experience. I would certianly not approve a proof with these errors until CS provided a correct print.

 

As for color issues with your cover. This will likely be due to the color space used to create the file. Most computer graphics are created as RBG files whereas all print is done in CMYK. The two color spaces do not have the same spectrum of available colors and what you see on screen and in print will not be the same. Even if a file is properly created in CMYK things such as monitor calibration will effect the color that appears on screen. CS tends to be able to print from RGB releatively close whereas IS requires a CMYK profile which means that your cover designer needs to specifically design for this.

Level 5 15,225 posts since
May 4, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
3. Jul 17, 2017 6:29 PM in response to: Tracie
Re: POD - are these problems common?

Sadly, CS doesn't have any QA processes, so these repeated and varied problems are not uncommon.

 

I can say two things about IngramSpark:

- they DO have QA, and are the most consistent with their print results in their various locations around the world. Generally when there are issues, they are often problems with the file, and less likely the printing or binding (like any printer -- even trad offset printers have manufacturing errors occasionally).

- I have had exceptional customer service from the Australian staff, but I've never had to call on their technical support staff (presumably in the US or UK). PODs like CS and IS are aimed at DIYers, so I expect tech support to be minimal. It's disappointing you had a bad experience. Try contacting the AU staff -- they are excellent at reaching people within the company in the US to get the answers they can't provide themselves, and they are super friendly.

 

The sometimes frustrating issue we did have to tolerate is the 240% ink limit and the requirement to supply CMYK files. This can mean compromising on the colours or design. But at least once they get an acceptable result, they can replicate it consistently.

 

As for distribution in Australia, it's near impossible with CS through EDC and is a waste of time. Because IS has an office in Melbourne, they have real reach to Australian retailers and libraries. I encourage you to pursue IS if you're serious about selling books outside the Amazon system.

 

 

Michelle

-------------

Odyssey Books -- editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

Level 4 2,115 posts since
Feb 7, 2015
Currently Being Moderated
4. Jul 17, 2017 7:40 PM in response to: Tracie
Re: POD - are these problems common?

Tracie wrote:

 

I'm trying to be patient with this and I have been really eager to get my book out there in teh marketplace, but not at teh cost of embarrassing myself and having unhappy customers.

Right, teh quality-control problems result in teh unhappy customers, and teh embarassment is sure to follow. But keep teh faith.

Level 2 268 posts since
Jan 8, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
5. Jul 19, 2017 5:34 PM in response to: Tracie
Re: POD - are these problems common?

Hi Tracie,

 

Lovely to meet you here. I am also an Australian author and publisher. I have sent you a private message, locatable in your messages inbox. CS has been good to Indies for many years and fixed issues readily. There will always be problems in any company. The way they are fixed is the key to care.  Do not give them up yet.

Marie

Level 2 268 posts since
Jan 8, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
7. Jul 19, 2017 6:44 PM in response to: Tracie
Re: POD - are these problems common?

Hi Tracie,

 

Take a look in your Your Stuff and Private Messages. I really feel for you. All is not lost and there are other solutions.

You can text me on my mobile phone I sent in private messages. Marie

Level 5 5,988 posts since
Mar 10, 2012
Currently Being Moderated
10. Jul 20, 2017 7:55 AM in response to: Tracie
Re: POD - are these problems common?

My POD experience has left me with the view that in order to access the distribution markets, an author/publisher simply has to put with this sub standard result. That is effectively how they get away with it. I'm trying to be patient with this and I have been really eager to get my book out there in teh marketplace, but not at teh cost of embarrassing myself and having unhappy customers. I really don't know what to do about this. Overall, I have been very disappointed with the POD experience so far.

I've been using POD services through 3 different providers for over 8 years and have never accepted a substandard product. There are occasionally issues however, for me, they have been very rare (maybe a half dozen books with print issues in that time) so long as I ensure the files provided are properly created and meet the individual services spec. We do sacrafice some control for the ease of market access but I would put my books up against any traditionally published, offset print book and bet that no one could tell the difference.

 

As to the 'Your Stuff' button that was mentioned in a post above, look up towards the top of this page. it is there for all forum members and does not require you to be at any specific point in the process.

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...