Tuesday, February 7, 2012

POD Pics

I've had a surprisingly large number of people email me, expressing interest in buying copies of Thousand Suns, but expressing some skepticism at the quality of print on demand books available through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. I find that a bit odd, since the POD books from those sites are produced by Lightning Source, the same company that does Lulu's books and hardly anyone bats an eye about Lulu (anymore). But, in the interests of assuaging any lingering fears about POD from RPGNow/DriveThru RPG, let me offer you some photos of a batch of Thousand Suns books I just received in the mail today:
The bottom four books are hardcovers and the top two are softcovers. I've found that, while I much prefer the hardcover as a reference book at my desk as I'm writing, the softcover is easier to use in play.
There's the cover of one of the hardcovers.
Here's a side view of a hardcover.

And here are two different interior shots.

I hope these photos will give a better sense of how nicely produced these books are. I was quite frankly blown away by how well they turned out. If anyone has any more questions about these books, leave a comment or drop me a note and I'll do my best to answer them.

21 comments:

  1. Lulu uses a number of different contractors (either that or LS uses a number of sub-contractors, but I think its the former.)

    I was recently told by Lulu customer service, that one particular contractor would no longer be making Hardcovers for them.

    This was after the unnamed contractor in question had tried and failed, 6 times (!) to provide an acceptable copy of a Lulu HC I had ordered. 3 months after placing my order, I finally got an ok copy. It was quite obviously from a different printer (noticeable differences in their manufacturing, aside from the errors.)

    If Onebookshelf can provide better customer service, I'd choose them over Lulu, for that reason alone.

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  2. I can attest to the fine quality of Thousand Suns. Sturdy, high quality physical product, beautiful layout, quality art, and clear and concise writing that evokes some of my favorite sci-fi authors.

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  3. For some reason, I thought LS couldn't do bleeds to the edge of the page...

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    1. I think it's just Lulu that has that problem (probably because of their different suppliers). That drove me crazy while working on some projects for Open Design.

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  4. Looking good. I intend to buy a copy and this and petty gods.

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  5. It's hard to judge the physical quality, although I've been reasonably pleased with Lulu (and thus, indirectly Lightning Source?) in the past. That said, the layout and cover are great looking. Wonderfully polished.

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  6. James Smith: Obviously my situation is a little different as a publisher and someone who does work for other publishers (and has done a little work for OneBookShelf, too), but in my experience their customer service is top-notch.

    Alan De Smet: Thank you!

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  7. I greatly prefer softcovers myself and have had no problems at all with any of the books I've gotten from Lulu (about 20 of them so far). I've gotten a few from rpgnow as well and they've been fine too - although rpgnow seems to take alot longer to get to my doorstep...

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  8. I have several of OneBookShelves softcovers and i have no complaints, i tend to avoid hardcovers for cost reasons, and because i like to get softcovers spiral bound together (i have all of Stars Without Number spiral bound together, so easy to use in play)

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  9. Lulu are definitely using different subcontractors for their printing given the variable quality of the books I've gotten from them. Even in the same title at different times.

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  10. I been very happy with RPGNow Print on Demand setup. Glad it worked out for you.

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  11. Looks awesome.

    If it is the same quality as other POD books I have gotten from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow then it should be fantastic.

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  12. I bought the hardcover, and I'm very pleased with it. I quite agree with Lord Ghul.

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  13. I have ordered several books from DriveThru/RPGNow and I have been pleased with them, both hardcover and softcover formats. Based on the mailing labels, I /suspect/ (no confirmation) that hardcovers ordered from them are printed in the UK and shipped to me from there, rather than the US. This /might/ account for any discrepancies in quality reports, as I bet that US orders are fulfilled and shipped out of the US and there might be quality differences there. Again -- this is JUST A SUSPICION with nothing but a few books of anecdotal data and musing to back it up.

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  14. Canadian orders do get printed/shipped from the UK, yes.

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  15. I can't speak for RPG Now, but I've ordered stuff from Lulu and been generally impressed. I'm sure RPG Now's POD service is just fine.

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  16. Thanks for this post - I am investigating POD companies and so am glad to hear of another option.

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  17. It really looks great James.

    Me, I got the PDF and am moving towards having all my game collection on my iPad (and book collection too, recently completed my Heinlein collection!). It is so much more convenient and easy to read and use and carry to the game table!

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  18. I purchased a hardcover copy of Thousand Suns through RPG Now and was really impressed with the quality of the book. It's the first POD book I've purchased and I think it really turned out nicely.

    The only "con" I found was that when the book first arrived it was so fresh that it smelled a little funny (I'm 99% positive it was a lingering ink smell) but that cleared up in no time.

    Also, if I may, Chapter 11, on Sector Design, random world generation, and trade is worth the "price of admission" all on its own.

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  19. I have the Vampire: the Masquerade full colour print on demand from Drivethrurpg. I'm in two minds with them (they come as two books) as the paper feels substandard and the resin holding in the paper itself doesn't convince me that it's built to last. The pages with the full colour print feel vastly different to the other pages as well. The content is great, but overall I feel there's a certain bluriness to the books that I don't like.

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  20. NICE, color me GREEN with envy
    will have to pick up a copy . . .

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