I am in the process making a paperback version of the Authors Electric 2011-2012 Anthology SPARKS. I find the most convenient method is US Amazon's POD (Print On Demand) arm, Createspace. I also have some books published with Lulu but since Createspace started printing in Europe, I now tend to use just Createspace. The books go up via Amazon's main retail systems (as opposed to Marketplace) and are offered to readers with free postage in the UK and Supersaver delivery in the US. Following a tip from another Author Electric [Chris Longmuir on her experience with Createspace; Mark Chisnell on his), I buy my proofs & reader copies from Amazon.co.uk rather than order from the US which takes forever. Factoring the free postage it only costs a few pennies more. Lightning Source is recommended by many. It gives a better royalty and has the option for matt covers (as opposed to Lulu/CS shiny). You need your own ISBNs (which you can only purchase in groups of 10 in the UK) and there are initial set-up costs.
Now I have the templates of my older books that have gone through the system, I make a copy of the Master formatted to the size I require (sometimes the 6" x 9" US Trade size but more frequently these days 8.5" x 5.5"), I delete the text and cut and paste the text of my new book into that. For anybody starting out, this isn't possible of course. I got into a terrible tangle with the Createspace templates when I began so I thought I'd post a couple of tips I've learnt through trial and error.
1. I found the Lulu templates much more user-friendly than the Createspace ones, which tended to whizz the text into unexpected areas all of a sudden and without warning at the hit of a key. I ended up making my Createspace masters on Lulu templates. The only thing to check before embarking on this is that the sizes are compatible and exist on both platforms (I use the two above).
2. With a paperback there'll always be pages at the front that don't need numbering. I couldn't for the life of me find a simple way to do this in Word. The OpenOffice method took some finding but is so straightforward:
Count how many non-numbered pages there are until your Page 1.
Place cursor where you want you first page no. to appear.
Go to: INSERT > Field > Other
A window opens
Highlight PAGE halfway down lefthand side
Another window opens
At the bottom right is a window marked Offset.
In the window write the number of blank pages with a minus sign
So, - 7, -8 or whatever.
At the other end of the scale, I'm just back from a visit to the newly refurbished Charles Dickens Museum. Here's the Dickensian version of cut & paste: