For the 2 or 3 authors here who self-publish, I wanted to float some publishing ideas. Everyone else can ignore the post.
Based on positive comments on LinkedIn, I've spent the past couple days investigating this company. The main argument was they use LightningSource (?), which supposedly has better and more reliable printing techniques than others (namely, CreateSpace). However, their main point was that retailers don't refuse to stock CS based on their association with Amazon (despite their claims in that regard), but because of the difficult terms they employ (booksellers are unable to return unsold books, and few Indie authors are willing to leave books on a consignment basis).
However, the costs associated with the service are prohibitive. Not only is their formatting process intimidating, their fee structure is prohibitive. They charge a $45 free annual fee, just for the privilege of publishing. What's worse (the $45 fee can simply be justified as a one-time investment), they charge $25 for any story modifications! That means, if you discover typos, or a missing chapter, you've got to pay them a fee before they'll even consider fixing it. That includes such simple changes as switching paper types (because you discover your text disappears on their white stock).
They also charge more, per copy, than CS, though on the other hand, their cost-per-copy to the rest of the world is supposedly cheaper.
Perhaps, worst of all, their biggest sin is they list dozens of book sizes, but they charge a flat fee with a per-page count. That means you'd be an idiot to print anything other than 6"x9", because you'll pay 2 or 3 times the cost printing anything smaller because it'll end up with more pages, despite the fact they print fewer total pages at those sizes due to duplex printing (i.e. they print 16 pages per sheet of paper rather than merely 4).
As far as their 'more reliable printing' (CS typically trims off text and images because their printers don't hold the stock steady during printing), I haven't found that supported by their formatting guides. If I do print with them, my 200 page book would expand to 230 pages. While I can consistently squeeze my stories into .25" margins on every side on CS, IS requires .5" plus additional bleed and trim margins. What the hell's the point with more reliable printing if it increases the amount of wasted blank paper per page!
Still, I'm considering giving them a shot, just to see if it's easier to get carried by established bookstores. I've never been able to sell to any local bookstores, despite having many local friends eager to promote and purchase my books. And as I said, that seems to be the feedback from those who've used them (they sell many more books to bookstores than the typical Indie books).
Just wondering whether anyone's considered them, or might, or if anyone even cares?