In fairness, you can also print your book yourself. You can do this at a number of different places, although you have to typeset your book as well as prepare it for the printing press. This can be laborious and frustrating if you don’t have the skill set available to do an excellent job.
Online printers will print your book. You can get an ISBN number yourself by going to the site at isbn.org. You need one number per book. You can get them in a barcode to put on your book that you print yourself.
It is less costly to print your own book. You can use an off line printer as well as an online printer. You just have to get everything ready for printing. This includes the cover. The cover will be made of a thicker paper and can be glossy or matte. The cover is an important part of the book, so it is a good idea to hire a graphic artist to design the cover if you are planning on printing the book yourself.
In order to get an ISBN, you have to set up a publishing company of your own. You can do this easily enough and then apply for the ISBN. It can be costly to pay for these numbers on a single basis, which is why it often pays to have the self publishing company print the book for you and get the ISBN. Because they order more of them, they get them at a lower price. If you are planning on printing up more than one book, you can order a series of 10 ISBN numbers and get a discounted price. Self publishing companies order these by the hundreds, which is why they can provide a number for customers included in their printing price.
The disadvantage to printing your own book is that you cannot get it listed on online sites such as Amazon. You can distribute it to bookstores and gift stores, however, as long as you have the ISBN. In some cases, such as a gift shop, they may take books that are just printed crudely without an ISBN on a consignment basis.
Printing your own book is a lot of work but works for some who are on a limited budget and cannot afford a few hundred dollars to use a self publishing company, then this may be the way to go. It takes some knowledge in how to format the book as well as design the cover. You may end up spending money on a graphic artist if you want to get your cover to look professional.
You also have to also figure that you will have to do your own editing and proofreading when you are printing up your own book. This can be very time consuming, which is why many writers prefer to pay the money to a self publishing company.
Printing your own book may work if you have a small literary magazine that you put out. It can work if you just want to distribute books personally and sell them. It can work if you are planning just to sell your book on your own. You have to remember that even with an ISBN a book store may be reluctant to put a book on their shelves that does not look as if it has been professionally printed. Decide how you want to sell your book and where and then decide how you wish to have it printed.
If this sound like way too much time and energy, let Harmon Press publish for you.