The BookPatch: Deal or Scam?

bookpatch (002)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…”

Author: Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. She has been both traditionally and independently published and lives in a small community in northern Arizona. Learn more about Melissa from her Amazon author page and her blog.

17 thoughts on “The BookPatch: Deal or Scam?”

  1. That’s really interesting, Melissa. Especially about how to get the PoD book produced through BookPatch listed by online retailers, most especially Amazon (where most sales are made). I still use FeedARead (in the UK) to produce my PoD paperbacks and there is a charge made for distribution. I suspect that with CreateSpace the only listing is on Amazon – is that right? In such case I can see how that would be free.

    It would, obviously, be good for the industry if there was a comparable alternative to CreateSpace. But this doesn’t appear to be it. FeedARead probably isn’t it either. I stick with FAR, having once tried to get my head around CreateSpace and failed. I must give it another go. People say it’s become a more straightforward process. Although FeedARead’s product is good, their charges for distribution are very small, and that is the only charge they don’t recoup through their per copy costs.

    1. Judi, just to be sure, I just checked on B&N and all my books are available there in paperback. (They aren’t in eBook format, just because I generally use Kindle Select, which is exclusive to Amazon.) But my understanding is that the CreateSpace books are not exclusive and the titles will propagate out to other online booksellers once they appear on Amazon. I have heard that CreateSpace is not quite as accessible outside the US, but I don’t know if or how the process might be different. After publishing over 30 books via CreateSpace, I find it a snap, but obviously familiarity makes a big difference. I do think it would be worth your while to try it again and see if you can work through it. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might run into.

  2. Just read David Gaughran’s new post about Author Solutions and the billion dollar companies that aid and abet them. Now this. Perhaps there’s a sliding scale of dishonesty and all businesses lie somewhere along that scale.

    From my own experience, however, I can tell you that IngramSpark:
    a) charge a setup fee of $53 AUD for every book you print with them,
    b) this fee is waived during their free promotions [a couple of times a year] and if you buy 50 books,
    c) IS do NOT offer a printed proof, free or otherwise.
    d) with IS, you cannot see the finished product without approving the book. Once approved, EVERY revision costs $25
    e) again, there are some free promotions or,
    f) you can avoid revision fees by becoming a member of ALLi
    g) but the cheapest membership with ALLi is $159 per year

    Given all those costs, Ingram can still be worthwhile because they offer true expanded distribution. For Australian Indies there’s the added benefit that IS have a print facility here and the cost of shipping [within Australia] is negligible. Shipping to Australia with CreateSpace or KDP is horrendous.

    That said, I’m in the process of having my latest how-to printed by CreateSpace. Depending on how things go, I /may/ order a few copies from Ingram Australia. Or I may not. 🙁

    1. Sounds like Aussie authors are caught between a rock and a hard spot. I really wish the opportunities of CreateSpace were available around the globe; maybe that day will come. In the meantime, others like you will just have to keep looking for the best path to take to publication. Good luck.

  3. I have used CreateSpace for years so be very careful to weigh your alternative distribution channels carefully, check their price differences and which are worthwhile to keep your book profitable. To get your CreateSpace book into B&N online and other online retailers you select the extended distribution but your cost per book increases and your royalty payment drops significantly causing you to charge an overall higher price for your book and earn less.

    1. Joe, I have never heard that choosing Extended Distribution increases the cost of a book. Years ago, CS used to charge $25 for Extended Distribution, but then dropped that charge and included it (free?) for all books that were of a standard size. I’ll have to check into that. Thanks for adding that to the discussion.

      1. Ok, Joe, you’re absolutely right. I have an unpublished book on CS that I could tweak, and if I select Expanded Distribution for it, the minimum price is $23; if I don’t select Expanded, the minimum price is only $15.34. Since I’d never tried this comparison before, I was completely unaware of the difference. I believe I will still choose Expanded Distribution–I think it’s worth the difference–but I will check that whenever I publish from now on. Thanks very much for the head’s up.

      2. CreateSpace doesn’t increase the cost of the book for Extended Distribution, but they increase the discount you must give to 60%, which is a 20% increase. The best way to go is to use CreateSpace for Amazon distribution and IngramSpark for all others. You can also adjust the discount you offer with IngramSpark which will earn you more money per sale, potentially a lot more. I even wrote a book about how to do it.

  4. The title using Deal or Scam is, I guess, based on their BBB rating. The BBB has long been known for its Pay To Play model. I don’t assumne their endorsement is unbiased nor do I use it as the ultimate evaluator of business quality for anything. Other people’s online comments do, however, hold weight with me. I find that it’s normal to find some complaints: there are many people who can’t seem to follow simple directions or complain with the end goal of “getting something out if it.” How many complainst is too many is a challenge to calculate.

    1. As always, it’s a good idea to gather as much info as possible, from as many sources as possible, and then weigh the pros and cons. This whole issue is so subjective, there’s no way we can put out a blanket “yea” or “nay” about a company like this; each author will have to make that decision for themselves.

  5. I use CreateSpace for hardcopy books like many of you, but I am looking for an alternative. (I guess it won’t be Bookpatch.) The problem with CS in Canada, unlike the US and UK, is that they do not pay the author until you have accumulated C$100 of sales owing. That means they are always holding up to $99.99 of one’s funds.

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