We’ve talked about strategies for simplifying e-book distribution in this column before (basically use KDP and Smashwords to consolidate your information and reach nearly all e-retailers, including indie bookstores), but what about print books? Physical books can be pricey to manufacture, store, and ship, but with print-on-demand distributors, you upload your files, and they produce and ship your book with few or zero upfront costs. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to test the market for print. Here are the leading POD distributors:

CreateSpace

CreateSpace sells author services and also offers free tools to help authors complete their books. In his book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur,Guy Kawasaki notes that CreateSpace’s free tools can be used to create covers, review interior design, and garner responses from other readers. Authors can then sell POD books via CreateSpace without incurring any upfront costs. CreateSpace makes its money on POD books by charging a royalty, a budget-friendly option for authors. Royalties depend on trim size, etc. CreateSpace also has excellent customer service. (Disclosure: CreateSpace is a business partner of Kirkus Media.)

IngramSpark

IngramSpark also offers POD distribution and e-book distribution to a vast global network, including big chains, little chains, libraries, independent bookstores, and, as they say on their website, “just about anyone, anywhere in the world who sells (or is even thinking about selling) a book in any format.” Depending on your wholesale discount, you will receive between 45 and 70 percent, minus print costs (Ingram provides a cost calculator on their site). There’s a $49 setup fee and a fee of $12 per title, per year. Generally, your local independent bookstore would be happy to work with Ingram.

Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor.