We have no horse in this race, never having done any print-on-demand, and we’re completely ignorant as to who is the best and who isn’t. However we received a letter from a creator we know well recounting his POD headaches. We’ve edited this down a bit, and it does seem to be more a problem with the process in general than a rip off, but it does seem to be a cautionary tale for anyone who is expecting a speedy turnaround on their books.

Okay, this may be a non-issue for most. Maybe, it’s just happening to me, but it’s starting to turn into a very frustrating nightmare. As far as I know there aren’t to many choices [for print on demand] out there. www.comixpress.com and www.ka-blam.com are the only two I know of, outside of Lulu (and Lulu is just way to expensive ) that offer to sell your comics from their site, (Lulu no do that) which is really helpful.

I signed on with comixpress.com to get the first issue of [my comic] printed, and yes, they did a fine job, but since then I’ve been able to get a reply to my e mails to them once. I have people telling me they’ve ordered my book and haven’t received it. Again, no reply to my e mails. There’s supposed to be a section on their site where you can check your order status, but I’ll be dammed if I can find it.

I’ve tried using Ka-Blam in rebuke, but once I signed on with them, my user name got declared invalid by their system, and it won’t even let me reregister because “someone is already using that info.” My e mails to them also go unanswered and they even have a hot line which I’ve called. Also, no answer.

So, I’ve got potential readers miffed at ME for leading them to order something they haven’t gotten, and small press conventions passing me by because I can’t get a response.

Later this creator wrote that he had heard from someone at Kablam with information on how to log onto the site, and though it hadn’t worked at least they had replied to him.

So, this sounds like ordinary snafus but it’s best to make sure what your turnaround time is when going with a POD printer.


  1. I’ve used Ka-Blam for a year straight now and I’ve NEVER had a single problem with them getting me my books, shipping customers copies of my books or even getting me the money I’ve made from their web store.

    Turnaround time is about a month on average. They may not be the quickest to respond with e-mails but I’ve found that if I have a genuine problem (ordering one issue instead of 100) they get back to me pretty quickly — on their forum. Where they CLEARLY TELL YOU to post problems you’re having.

    I couldn’t be happier with the service I get from Ka-Blam and their output.

  2. Not to put all blame off of the POD guys, I know them both though personally, Logan from Comixpress and Barry from Ka-Blam– and I use to cheerlead a lot for them too (it’s what I do, right?) and then I’d get emails from disgruntled indy guys who weren’t getting their emails replied to, etc– so in the early days, I’d inquire with Logan or Barry what was up— and it’s fair to say, there’s always two sides to every horror story, and thank god both Comixpress and Ka-blam are professional enough not to get into it publicaly. I know they deal with a ton of aspiring creators who don’t know how to setup their files, and they bend over backward to help them sometimes– so it’s just a matter of probably time constraints and priorities. I’m really glad these services exist, but like Heidi said, don’t expect McDonalds or fast food all the time with them. You have very small staffs dealing with very high demand. God bless em.

    It’s so awesome that they exist for indy creators though, no? I think so.

  3. When I decided to jump into the POD pond I tried both of “the” comic printers and Ka-Blam did a great job with both printing and customer service. I’ve printed three titles now with them and have those same titles available through their indyplanet.com. Sure, the turnaround might not be as quick as most “eager” indy creators would like, but they do a quality job and I’m hoping to have more titles printed and offered through them soon.

    I just can’t help but feel for them when the printing crunch for convention season lands on them and we’ll hear a lot more indy creators grumble and moan.

  4. I used Ka-Blam once last year and found the whole thing to be efficient, timely, and Barry was responsive both by email and on the company’s forum (where many people could probably get their questions answered as they’ve been asked before by others).
    I have a book listed with Comixpress as well, but have had issues as well with slow response times and a problem with royalty payment being made to my PayPal (they said my email on file was wrong but it was the same email they were corresponding with me at and was correct).
    Overall, I have to recommend Ka-Blam for POD work based on my own experiences.

  5. We were in a pinch last year for Baltimore and Ka-Blam was very accommodating. they obviously charged a rush fee, but we managed to get the books overnighted really fast after I believe 2 weeks ordering time or so. During the process they went back and forth with us to ease our concerns. Overall it was a very pleasant experience.

    I did however have a similar login issue, however they resolved it relatively quickly.

  6. I’ve been having some of these same issues, and yes, when I do hear from them, they are more then nice and accommodating. However, being the spastic, neurotic, jumble of nerves that I am, multiple unanswered e mails start to make me feel very alone in the dark. You start to think they’re saying to themselves, “Oh, not this guy again. When are we going to drop him? He’s not worth it.” Nonsense, I know. Oh, and comixpress’ printing is beautifully done.

  7. I used Ka-Blam to print a preview of my book for SPX 2006 and I have nothing but good things to say about Barry and the entire process. I had an issue with the shipping of the books, and possibly not having them shipped in time for the show and not only was Barry emailing constantly with updates, but when it was clear the order was going to be held up in jersey somewhere (he was calling the drop off locations along the way to track its progress), he printed up a NEW batch and overnighted them to the SPX venue at no cost to me whatsoever.

    Which is just amazing.

    I essentially got a free run of 50 books out of it, just because the mailing screwed up.

    Top notch service. Maybe not next day turnarounds, but this isn’t a massive company either. I think total time from submission of files to books in my hand was maybe 3 weeks?

    I ended up using Lulu.com for my finished book for SPX 2007 since I needed it perfect bound, but I loved them too. A bit pricier but the whole system they have setup is fantastic.

    It’s entirely automated and online. You can see exactly what you will be printed there, in-browser, with downloaded print-ready PDFs for you to check. I paid extra to have 2 day shipping, and I think it took all of 5 days total to get my order of 50 books delivered.

    I’d recommend both Lulu and Ka-Blam without a hesitation.

    ComixPress, however, took my order and I never heard back from them. Ever. No email responses or anything.

    I was originally going to print 50 through Lulu and 50 through ComixPress so I could evaluate both prints and also to avoid any possible last minute rushes and craziness that I had from 2006. In the end I only ended getting the Lulu books.

  8. Oh, by months, I mean over four months. The order was placed October 16th. I’d actually forgotten about it until you posted this article.

  9. Just wanted to chime in that out of all the POD related issues I’ve read on the net…. Kablam has always been ranked waaaay higher than Comixpress. Both in speediness, ease of use and actually replying to you.

    Go and ask some of the old Ronin Studios folks how they feel about Comixpress. Many and I mean MANY of them have never seen a dime or royalty sales data from their comics years ago when the site first launched.

  10. Just a quick note about the login issue … we do seem to be plagued by the occasional login problem. Our site is HEAVILY cookie-driven and we’ve found that probably 90% of the time a login problem can be corrected by clearing the cookies and refreshing the browser.

  11. I’ve been using comixpress for my books for years. They’ve always been quick in replying to e-mails and great at taking care of all my needs. My service has always been prompt.

  12. From a consumer perspective, I actually purchased from both sites in December.

    I ordered two books from Comixpress. One on the 2nd and another on the 26th. I have yet to see either book arrive and we’re nearing February.

    I ordered one title from IndyPlanet/Ka-Blam and received it about two weeks later.

  13. there’s a great guy that we use, jake estrada – estradamedia.net – and while his site looks crappy (yeah, crappy) he’s done great print jobs for us, back when we (Alterna Comics) used to print single issues. plus he’s more affordable than comixpress or kablam.

  14. I have to chime in on the K-Blam praises. I’ve had several books printed through them that looked great and arrived in about a month. I will definitely use them again.

  15. I sent an email back on the 24th to Comixpress, and received only an automated reply that they received my inquiry. Nothing since then.