It seems anymore that there are all sorts of Print On Demand (POD) and service publishers, all ranges, offering a combination of add-ons and services. We’ve had readers asking about TheBookPatch, a slightly different take on POD publishers, and decided to look closer to see what we could find out about it.
From their website, they certainly look enticing. They offer to print a 60-page 6”x9” book for just $2.88, and this price is for 1-49 copies. For more than that, the price drops incrementally until you reach 1000 copies, when the price is at its lowest at $2.01 each.
Their website says: TheBookPatch is a true Print On Demand service, with no setup or hidden fees. Our fast turnaround (2 – 3 business days), and a printing price that rivals large print runs, (not to mention other POD companies) lets our authors forgo the downside of large up-front cost and unsold stock.
Hmm, let’s break this down. No setup or hidden fees. I use CreateSpace, Amazon’s POD publishing subsidy, and it’s absolutely free. Once I upload a book and its cover, I can order copies at a discount. A book that might retail for $10 could cost me about $3.00, plus shipping. So far, so good. I’m not sure what they mean by “large up-front cost and unsold stock.” I don’t know anyone who (1) pays for large print runs anymore, or (2) fills up their garage with boxes of books. That used to be a common tactic for vanity presses, but I’m not sure that anyone does that anymore.
TheBookPatch says they have a 2-3 business day turnaround. From tracking my orders on CreateSpace, their turnaround is similar; my books generally ship within that time. However, on the Better Business Bureau website for TheBookPatch, I did find this review:
I ordered books for a client and paid extra for express shipping. They told me my books would ship in 2-3 business days. They still haven’t. It’s been a week and 2 days now and my client’s event is in 2 days. I ended up having to pay another company to print and pay even more to overnight ship my order. They have terrible customer service and the only way to contact them is through email. I received 1 email response the first time, and nothing else in 2 weeks. I will NEVER use this site again.
Obviously that does not bode well.
Back to TheBookPatch: Order as many or as few books as you need (our minimum is 1 book), when you need them. Update and edit your book as often as you want at no aditional (sic) cost.
CreateSpace works the same way. I can order one book or a thousand. I can also update my book’s interior or cover at any time without cost. And I hate to be snarky, but a book publishing website that misspells words like “aditional” would bother me. When I want a book published — my book — I want it to be perfect. Seeing less than perfection on a website that can be easily corrected does not give me confidence.
Perusing their website, I saw that TheBookPatch also offers other incidental services. Their process requires the upload of a pdf file (CreateSpace will take docs or pdfs). If your file is not a pdf, they will convert it for you — for the nominal fee of $50. Fifty dollars to convert to pdf? Excuse me, but there is a free software program called Calibre that will convert docs to pdfs and a zillion other formats. Free. Converting a doc generally takes about two minutes. Fifty dollars? I don’t think so.
They also offer to convert your book’s cover to an image file (I’m guessing maybe from a pdf? I don’t know.) for — yes — another $50. There’s free image software called Gimp that you can download and use to convert files to whatever image format you like. Free.
Now, in the interest of fairness, I have to say that there are several positive reviews of TheBookPatch on the BBB website. It has a B+ customer rating. As a matter of fact, 64% of reviews are positive, some praising the physical product, the customer service, and the quick turnaround. But the negative ones are troubling. Here’s an example:
The Book Patch is not a good company. After printing up a few books on its website, I could not find them anywhere in its bookstore. They purposely blocked my books from being viewed by others. This was not an oversight, and if I did not search for my books, I would have thought that they were listed in its bookstore. This of course impeded the sale of those books.
Not only that, but the BBB rate for TheBookPatch has been revoked. It is not accredited in any way. Here’s the explanation for that:
On 08/17/2017 this business’s accreditation in the BBB was revoked by the BBB’s Board of Directors due to its failure to adhere to the BBB requirement that Accredited Businesses meet and abide by the following standards:
6. Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.
6B. Make a good faith effort to resolve disputes, which includes mediation if requested by BBB. Other dispute resolution options, including arbitration, may be recommended by BBB when other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed. BBB may consider a business’ willingness to participate in recommended dispute resolution options in determining compliance with these standards.
Something else that I realized is that I didn’t see any mention of your book being featured on Amazon. They’ll print it for you, and you can order copies, but how do you get it to appear on Amazon? Apparently that’s up to you. Since CreateSpace does that for me, I have no idea how else you might accomplish that. Something else to think about.
So what’s the takeaway on all this? Obviously every author must weigh the pros and cons and make their own decision about what publisher/printer they use. I’ll make no recommendation except to say that I’m happy with CreateSpace and would not consider TheBookPatch based on what I’ve seen. If your research takes you to a different conclusion, go for it. Just do your homework before you decide. It’s disheartening when we get emails that start out, “I wish I’d seen your post about this before…”