CafePress Review

On May 15, 2012, in Review, by admin

cafepress is a website that tries to encourage self expression. It is renowned for offering unique products on its site with over 135,000 designs added each week. There are a total of 300 million items on sale from 2 million shops with 11 million site visitors each month. Clearly, CafePress is a successful online store but is it also the best place to publish your own book? As literature is a tremendous form of self-expression, it is no surprise to learn that the site is attempting to become a big name in the self-publishing industry.

It has to be said that CafePress offers a tremendous amount of information on its Publishing Learning Center. From book layout to binding, you’ll find most of what you need to know on the site. Oddly enough, the Learning Center’s pages on creating and selling books remain blank which is annoying since this is the most important section. With CafePress, you will be able to print black & white books with color covers. There are five book size options ranging from 4.18 x 6.88 inches to 8.5 x 11 inches. There are also three binding options:

  • Saddle Stitch – $4 flat binding fee charged plus $0.045 per page
  • Wire-O – $5 flat binding fee plus $0.045 per page
  • Perfect Bound – $7 flat binding fee plus $0.03 per page

The pricing includes production of the book, management of orders, fulfillment and customer service. It is up to you to set the retail price. CafePress emulates other book publishing services like Lulu by not charging an upfront fee. You receive a template but the rest is up to you. This includes cover design and PDFs. For creative types, this is a great challenge but not at all convenient for those who want to quickly publish their work.

Although CafePress does not have a full marketing department, it does enable you to use their online store to market your books and any other merchandise you may have. The downside is that you need to pay $4.99 per month and the ISBN number is not included.

Frankly, CafePress is far too expensive. If you have a fictional novel of 300 pages, the perfect bound option is the cheapest at $16 per book. This is far more expensive than the vast majority of other self publishing options available online. Other companies have a full marketing department and provide you with an ISBN. Even with the additional cost, they are still less expensive than CafePress. Having to create your own design is the last thing you want after spending months or longer writing a book.

It is hard to recommend CafePress as a self publishing company simply because it is overly expensive and doesn’t even provide value for money. Also, CafePress is mainly known for being a promotional website that sells t-shirts and novelty items. Serious authors should steer clear as a CafePress published book probably won’t be taken seriously. Overall, you should definitely consider other self publishing options.

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