Lumen has some experience with low-cost printing and we find the Adobe Createspace “print-on-demand” (POD) service to be an efficient and low-cost way to print if on-campus printing or bookstore services are not workable. For example, a 298 page work we support for a college can be ordered for $5.53/copy + shipping in a quality trade softcover edition. Larger works cost more, but are still economical.
One can establish your own "institutional" Createspace account and though it may appear like it’s set up to only publish works you author, it is actually possible to publish a work and identify the author as someone else. In many cases, we make the author the institution responsible for curating and distributing the work and put only the institutional name in the author surname field, which is the only required author field. You can publish multiple works by different authors from the same Createspace account, so you should only need one for your institution.
There are two ways to then order and ship a work that don't generate any royalties for your account—which of course you want to avoid as royalties could violate any Creative Commons Non-Commercial licensed material in your work and will also generate a tax liability for whoever receives the royalty.
Order Copies Directly
You can order (and pay for) copies of a work directly and have them shipped to wherever is needed. This is the cheapest way to order because it avoids even the 25% Createspace handling fee. So the same $5.53/copy work above is only $4.42/copy when ordered directly by you. It's great for bulk orders all going to the same place. You place and pay for the order, but can ship to anywhere.
You can enable the Createspace eStore distribution channel (do not enable any other channel, like Amazon or even Libraries & Academic Institutions, as they will generate royalties), which will create a unique URL that leads to a webpage where anyone can order a work at base cost + 25% Createspace handling fee + shipping, as long as you are careful to not set the price of the work above the base + 25%. Createspace will not allow you to set the price below the base + .25%. Then anyone with the eStore link can order and pay for as many copies as they wish, shipped to where ever they wish.
This is a great option if, for example, you are giving students the opportunity to order a print copy only if they want. For example: to ship 1 copy of the $5.52 work above to Lumen HQ in Oregon when ordered on Thu 12 May 2016, the cost would be:
- Standard Shipping $3.59 Estimated Delivery Date: Mon, May 23, 2016
- Expedited Shipping $11.18 Estimated Delivery Date: Wed, May 18, 2016
- Priority Shipping $15.98 Estimated Delivery Date: Tue, May 17, 2016
So if a student wanted one copy of that work as fast as possible, they would pay a bit less than $22 total with shipping and receive it within about 3 business days.
Setting up a work in Createspace can seem a bit tricky, but is fairly easy once you get the hang of it.