As of today, I have received my proof copies of the Arpia novel from three different print-on-demand solutions: the Blackwell bookstore in London, Lulu.com and Createspace (an Amazon.com partner).
If you fancy spending approximately 24 USD/18.50 Euros on a sci-fi novel of epic scale (seriously: 503 pages in A5 format, 650 in a slightly smaller format), I suggest you read on…
For those who don’t want to read this but want the book in physical format, please visit the Arpia novel page at Lulu.com. There, you’ll find a high quality yet cheap print-on-demand version of the Arpia novel, and the shipping costs worldwide are fairly low.
Note: the prices here are as low as I could get them. I decided against royalties, so you’re paying for the print-on-demand itself only.
Of the three solutions, Blackwell was the most expensive and, unfortunately, the one with the lowest quality. The cost is currently 5p per page, i.e. a bit over £30 for a copy of the Arpia novel, and the heavy paper used for the cover is not quite as high grade as the others. Moreover, the binding doesn’t seem as sturdy as the others. If you live in London and go to that bookstore (on Charing Cross Road) often, however, it may be an easy solution.
The Createspace solution allows Arpia to appear on Amazon.com, which is awesome, but I have no idea of whether this will extend to the other Amazon websites (.co.uk, .fr, …). Shipping from Createspace cost me almost as much as the price of the book itself, as it was shipping from the US… Result: 18.51 USD for shipping to the EU. Apparently, they only have printers in the US, so it may not be the best solution for people based outside of North America. A major qualm I have with Createspace is the fact that it wasn’t easy to set my own “spine” design (the side cover), and theirs is, frankly, not very nice.
Cost in store: 24.17 USD.
Finally, my favourite solution: Lulu.com. This has the highest quality cover paper, and I was forced to adopt a new format for Lulu.com, namely A5. The other two solutions use a format that is slightly smaller than A5, which makes the novel nearly pocket-size. The A5 format does, however, have an unforeseen advantage: the star maps included in the novel are more readable. One of the great things about Lulu.com is that it uses printers around the world, which means that shipping costs are lower than the other solutions. To ship to the EU, I paid 6 Euros.
Cost in store: 18.50 Euros/22.56 USD/£15.66.
Edit: added the Amazon.com link.