Friday, March 11, 2011

Lulu vs. RPGnow POD

[PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT]

I've been seeing more and more reviews in various places of print quality comparing the POD products of Lulu vs. RPGnow. I just wanted to post a brief note about this because I think it is important for everyone to know that Lulu and RPGnow use the same printer, Lightning Source. We need to dispel the myth that the printers are different.

All short run printing (in general) is done via digital printing (essentially high quality laser printers for text), whether ultimately through LS or some other printer, which means you will likely see more variation between individual books compared to offset printing of many thousands of books. Add to this the variation of individual printer machines, of which a printer may have several.

The point being that any variation people see between the services of Lulu and RPGnow has nothing to do with the front end the book was ordered from, but the back end at printing, which is the same company. The quality of the product is identical between these companies.

[/PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT]

14 comments:

The Dungeoneering Dad said...

Thanks for that tip. I was curious about the two.

ChicagoWiz said...

I'm having a hard time verifying that - is there a public source of information that discloses their printing service?

limpey said...

Good to know. I ordered seven copies of my own book at once from Lulu as presents for my gaming group, and, looking at them, they all looked pretty much the same to my superficial review. But there has been variation between copies of the same text that I ordered at different times: now I know why.

Dan of Earth said...

@ChicagoWiz, no, you won't find them openly stating that because it isn't in their interest to have everyone know. They understandably want to promote their own print service. However, I participated in their testing plan at the development stage, so you can take myself as a first hand reliable source.

Dan of Earth said...

As an aside, I'm not trying to promote one over the other, I just think it is important for customers to know this.

Oublieditor said...

In the UK Lulu are using a different (UK) Printing Company for paperbacks but for hardbacks they ship them over from the US. I've not noticed any quality differences to speak of in any of my orders (about 100 copies of spread across 8 titles).

Are you planning on making Goblinoid Games titles available on RPGNow.com as well as Lulu? I only ask as I was thinking of putting some time in setting my stuff up with them, so it's useful to get other people's thoughts about their system.

Dan of Earth said...

Frankly I'm undecided, for a variety of reasons I would be happy to discuss with you privately. In terms of the systems, I think RPGnow has a fine system for setting up titles. The are + and - to each though.

Dan said...

One thing to also remember, Lightning Source has multiple printing facilities. So if you see two books looking different, maybe one was printed in PA and one was printed in TN.

Dan said...

As a recent publisher, I will say RPGNow is much, much easier to deal with than Lulu.

John Adams said...

Oh Dan, next you'll be telling folks the truth about the Tooth Fairy, the bell curve and my actual gender.

Some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Rob Conley said...

Maybe you can answer this. Why are my maps and pictured printed in half tone (use dots to vary the grayscale) instead of grayscale if they are using the equivalent of b/w laser printers? Or I am missing something about the technology?

Dan of Earth said...

Hi Rob, I'd need to see an example of what you're talking about. Nothing I've had printed that has grayscale looks like what you've described. I've actually had a few things turn out streaked, a clear sign of low toner, but nothing with discernible dots.

John Adams said...

Hey, the RPGNOW.com printer does laminate coated covers and Lulu does not.

Dan of Earth said...

Must be chosen for us by the front end. If you went directly through LS you'd have the choice.