Friday, September 12, 2014

Fulfiling Kickstarter Orders

When you start looking at starting a Kickstarter, one of the problems you're going to run into is fulfilling it. You're going to have to deal with getting bookmarks, posters, and even books to those that will invest in the project. You need to start debating how you will deal with all of the different orders.

Let's deal with postage first. You have two options: You can send it out one unit at a time, or do a bulk mailing. When it comes down to it, one unit at a time is going to cost a lot more than you delivering all of the books to yourself and sending them out, so you need to look at bulk mailing. You need to start by looking into media shipping, as that will save you a lot over time. Then you need to get a postage meter (usually free for the meter itself even though the stamps will have an extra charge) along with software to print shipping labels. You just need to make sure you have the right packaging and you should be good.

For the rest you're going to want to find a decent POD. To deal with the posters and books, as well as any number of other needs, a print-on-demand printer may be the way to go. Originally, there were these things called "vanity presses" that would publish books for a price; they have been replaced in general by print-on-demand publishers. The advantage for you is that they offer a discount for bulk shipping (the more you order the better discount you get) and you can keep the shop up after the Kickstarter is through for other other potential customers.

Because you are not likely to just be interested in printing just books, you may need to check out several sites. Your ideal is place that allows you to set up shop with the item in question, offers a bulk discount, and allows you to set things up for free. You can also look at local shops as well, but keep in mind that there will sometimes be a set-up fee and they may not offer bulk discounts. Either way, make sure that you get a sample item to look over before you start sending them out.

One last thing: You may want to look at local regulations. In some cases you may need to obtain a tax identification number just to cover your butt in case someone starts looking at you too closely. The state of California, for example, requires it of any retailer, and you qualify as one.

For books, you can start with Hulu and Createspace. For anything else, start with Zazzle and Cafe Press. And note that I said "start"; I would also suggest looking at 4Imprint and Customink, but you should keep looking until you find what you are looking for. No matter how you decide to do it, good luck!

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