CreateSpace A subsidiary of Amazon. The easiest and least expensive way to get your book into print and distributed on Amazon. Free ISBN available. They're really quick, too. If you'd like a greater distribution than they provide it can sometimes be a good plan to purchase your own ISBN from Bowker, go through their very affordable proofing process, use them for distribution on Amazon, and then utilize LightningSource to utilize both companies distributon networks. As long as your book uses the same files and is the same format you can use the same ISBN for both. They recently indroduced a very nice matte-texture cover option but still only offer paperbacks, no hardbacks.

LightningSource A bit more complex and the proofing process can be quite a bit more espensive. But it's the largest distribution network and it's not tied exclusively to Amazon. Getting set up with them requires more paperwork and can take a little longer. They also have more printing options like hardback books in either casebound or dust-jacketed clothbound. If you're considering working with them it can be very informative and time-saving to purchase POD for Proft, by Aaron Shephard, and also to update what's the latest by checking out his blog. We disagree with his ideas about book covers, but there's a lot of nitty-gritty details about dealing with POD companies and the process of self-publishing that are valuable to know.

IngramSpark A subsidiary of LightningSource. Sort of a streamlined LightningSource for first-time authors.

Short-run-digital press

Bookmobile Great people, easy to work with. Fast.

Bookbaby Good prices on short-run digital printing. Also an easy and affordable way to get your eBook distributed to almost every outlet. They also sell very affordible ISBN's for your eBook.

Specialty printers

Edition One Books Specializing in creating books for art and design professionals. If you're looking to do elegant short-run books with wonderful accents like foil-stamping, inset cover images, and screen printing, this is the place. Fun to work with and a designer's dream. Definitely not a fast-food joint.

Traditional offset printing

Imaging Hawaii Yep, they're based in Hawaii, but have presses in Calgary, too, and can work with you as a liason to printing in China. Easy to work with, especially if you contact Terry Lau, who will always go the extra mile to make you happy.

Friesens A Canadian printer that does exceptionally fine books. One of the more environmentally responsible printing companies.

Sentinel Printing Based in Minnesota. Easy to work with. Great quality.

Hemlock Printers Another great printing company with presses along the northwest coast of the U.S. and Canada. Another example of an environmentally-proactive company.