(As an update to the comments above, I later learned you can "retire" the ISBN number from Create Space and just use the ISBN number for Lightning Source and you can ask Amazon to add all the reviews from the Create Space ISBN version to the Lightning Source version before you retire the Create Space ISBN. I have since done this and resolved the issue).
1. LSI does not do business with authors. They only deal with publishers. That means you have to set yourself up as a publisher with a DBA (doing business as) legal name.
2. LSI ONLY accepts book covers on their templates. If you don't have a means to do that, (such as Indesign) then you have to hire it out. I hired out mine to Walt Shiel and now to Lisa Hainline.
3. Mainline bookstores do not shelve books of self-published authors. However, they will order them through LSI IF they get their normal discount of 40%. They require all books to be returnable; otherwise, they will not order them. This means that all books submitted to LSI must be set up at a 55% discount and returnable. Be careful! LSI gives you two choices:
Returnable and shipped to you—you get charged for the cost of the returned
book—OR you can make them returnable from the bookstore and then destroyed. I have since changed all of my books to make them returnable and destroyed to cut the cost of returning them to me.
4. If you establish an account with LSI, you need to fill out ALL of the forms necessary for ALL other countries. There are several.
5. The advantage of LSI is they own Ingram Distributors, which is the largest distributor in the world. This allows your book to be ordered from LSI to all bookstores in other countries.
6. You need to use you own ISBN. They are available through Bowkers.
7. LSI is better quality than CreateSpace BUT more expensive. Your cost per book is more than CreateSpace.
8. NEVER approve a book with LSI until one or two weeks after CreateSpace. Otherwise Amazon.com will use LSI INSTEAD of CreateSpace and you will make fewer royalties.
9. NEVER upload your interior pages to LSI UNTIL ALL MISTAKES ARE CORRECTED. Only upload the final version. I just made this mistake. I found grammar errors. I uploaded the revision. Then I found content errors.
I uploaded the revision. LSI nailed me for $40 for each revision. I just lost $80 and will have to sell 80 books to recover from that mistake. From now on, I will upload my books to CreateSpace first, order proof books, make revisions, and when I finally approve the PDF for CreateSpace, I will upload that PDF to LSI.
10. There is an upload cost for LSI. You get what you pay for.
11. Always order books for yourself from CreateSpace. They are cheaper. I am about to put an order in for 50 books. Always drop ship single copies of books through CreateSpace. Let them do the packaging and shipping and bill you for it.
I have now successfully published on CreateSpace with no upload cost and no revision cost. I am distributing only through two channels: Amazon.com and Amazon Europe. This is the main way of selling my books to the public. My books are being sold on ALL Amazon.com websites in all countries.
I do not use Expanded Distribution because I have an LSI account and I use my own ISBNs. There is a danger in using CreateSpace ISBN's as discussed in Charlotte at our last writers’ group meeting. If you use CreateSpace’s ISBNs, CreateSpace can do anything they want with your book. By using my own ISBN, they can’t. In my opinion, the Expanded Distribution is worthless.
To sum up, my book A Journey to Heaven is available online at Barnes and Noble because of my account with LSI. The bookstore in Meadville, PA, Tattered Corners, that is hosting Tammy's March 9 book signing was supplied 10 books that I drop shipped to the bookstore through a CreateSpace order. As of yesterday, the store is also able to order more books through LSI/Ingram and will do that at a 40% discount before the book signing. The book store Park Road Books (an Indie bookstore) in Charlotte, NC, has approved carrying A Journey to Heaven on consignment. I will order books through CreateSpace at my cost and supply them to that store. They will pay me 60% of the sales price of the book twice a year.
One other thing: I have a sales use tax license for NC and have had temporary licenses for other states in which I have sold. The only way around this is to have a bookstore run your books through their cash register during a book signing. They collect and pay the sales tax.
Borders did that for me as well as a sweet bookstore in Inlet, NY.
Phew, that is a lot to cover and I probably forgot some things. I hope this may help to clear up the differences between Lightning Source and CreateSpace.
You can contact Bruce Brodowski on his website at http://orphanheart.wordpress.comhttp://orphanheart.wordpress.com/
You can contact Lorilyn Roberts on her website at http://LorilynRoberts.com.
For another excellent article on this topic, visit: http://www.novelpublicity.com/2011/10/createspace-or-lightning-source-which-is-the-more-intelligent-choice-for-self-publishing/
To learn more about the John 3:16 Marketing Network, where information like this is shared daily, go to http://lorilynroberts.com/john_3_16_marketing_network.html