Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users

The first news I heard about KDP Print was in an email from Amazon on February 15th. Since then, I’ve read articles, blog posts and comments about it and watched the praise given by Amazon for this service dwindle quickly.

In the email, Amazon announced they were making print book publishing easier for writers. They stated, “KDP prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties, so you don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory.”

That’s what CreateSpace does. Sort of. I believe CreateSpace takes the cost of the printing of the book from the sale price, then takes a cut of the royalties. Until I see the numbers and do the math, I am unsure which service will offer a better financial deal for authors.

The message also stated, “It also enables you to receive consolidated royalty payments for paperback and eBook sales. You can view combined reports and manage your print and eBook publishing from one website.”

Except, I’m okay with visiting two sites to get my sales reports. In fact, I prefer CreateSpace’s sales report much more than I do Kindle’s. Kindle’s is not straightforward and too clunky to find answers quickly.

Amazon claims the benefits of using KDP Print over CreateSpace are:

  1. Reach paperback readers through Amazon websites in the US, Europe (amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, amazon.it) and Japan (amazon.co.jp).
  2. Earn up to 60% royalties on the list price you set, minus printing costs.
  3. You get to use Amazon’s catalog system. CreateSpace’s catalog used the BISAC system. With the new KDP Paperback features, you can use the same categories you picked for your eBook, plus you get keywords!
  4. Distribution to Japan.

My Assessment of These Benefits

  1. My paperbacks through CreateSpace already reach these markets and more. Did you notice one important country missing from the list? CANADA! In other words, I cannot order a copy of my own book, and neither can my friends, my neighbours or anyone else in this beautiful country. If I published my print book through this feature, I would not be able to see if the copy is wonderful or garbage.
  2. I’m still wondering if this is a better deal than CreateSpace. My gut reaction is no.
  3. That might be a great selling feature that’s not so great at all. Something works great at CreateSpace because I sell a lot of paper copies through it.
  4. Kind of a ho-hum benefit if you ask me because I don’t sell books in Japan.

The One True Benefit

The one benefit they didn’t mention, and that’s because it applies to Canadians only—and we know, we’re at the bottom of their list—is payment before we reach $100. At the moment, Canadians using CreateSpace must reach a threshold of $100 before they receive a cheque. By being paid through Kindle, we’d get our money regardless of the amount, even though it might be less per book with the new math Amazon is applying to royalties.

Amazon states more features will be added over time but currently, authors cannot order proofs of their books. Ouch. So the book goes on sale before an author can view the final product to ensure everything—fonts, cover graphics and colours, page numbers, headers and much more—are the way they’re supposed to be.

Also, if you go with KDP Print, you cannot order copies at wholesale prices to sell at markets, to donate to libraries or to give as gifts. You have to pay the full price. And as I mentioned, Canadians can’t buy them at any price. And to limit authors even more, there is no expanded distribution to bookstores. The print copies are sold only on Amazon websites.

At CreateSpace, authors can order copies at excellent wholesale prices, and their paperbacks are available at book stores other than Amazon. And Canadians can buy them.

This alone gives me a knee-jerk reaction to this Kindle-all feature. It’s in beta mode, and authors are encouraged to participate, but I say, “NO! Don’t do it! Especially if you live in Canada.”

Kindle introduced this feature for a few reasons, but the one I’m hearing most is they want to encourage authors who only publish in eBook format to make their books available in print form too. Basically, it wants authors who were too lazy, or who thought print books were dead, or who didn’t want to learn how to publish a print book to publish a print book. It may make good business sense to Amazon right now, but it doesn’t look good for authors.

And, in the long run, what we may end up seeing is poorly formatted paperbacks flooding the market, making the environment worse for self-published authors. I remember a time when I never doubted the quality of a print book. Now, with this feature, I will have to be more careful of what I buy. If a reader is burnt by a bad purchase, they will be reluctant to buy another from Amazon.

The drawbacks to this feature far outweigh the benefits. As an example, someone commented on a Kindle Board, stating, “The one advantage that most people cite with confidence is having your accounting and royalties info on a single page, but since you trade CreateSpace’s 30-day payment schedule for KDP’s 60-day schedule, as well as KDP’s inability to provide complete (from the beginning and YTD (year to date) accounting info, it’s not really a clear advantage.”

Digitally Proofing a Book

I also wonder about proofing the book by viewing an online PDF version of it before an actual copy is ordered. I’ve fixed many things at this stage at CreateSpace so when I ordered the proof, I was less likely to be unhappy with it. Will KDP Print offer this?

Comparing Apples to Pork Chops

The Comparison Chart between CreateSpace and KDP Print shows which can do what. CreateSpace can do everything, but KDP can do only 3 of the 7. When KDP will be able to do everything listed is a mystery. This page also provides instructions on how to move your CreateSpace books to KDP Print. But if you used a custom print, you’ll have to modify your files: “KDP does not support custom CreateSpace trim sizes. If you used a CreateSpace interior template to create your manuscript file, make sure it’s in a trim size that KDP supports. If not, reset the trim size and reformat your manuscript file to match your new trim size.”

Less Author Control

The scary reality is, if an author publishes an eBook and then is offered the feature to publish a print copy, all they have to do is accept it. They don’t have to make a professional PDF to publish the paperback. KDP Print will attempt to make a presentable copy from the formatted eBook. I don’t know about any other self-publishing author, but my eBooks look a lot different from my paperbacks. It’s impossible for KDP Print to create anything I’d want my name on from this conversion.

Vital Information for Unsuspecting Authors

It’s important to note that the transition from CreateSpace to KDP paperbacks is a one-way street. There is no way to put things back if you decide you’d rather stick with CreateSpace after you’ve moved your paperback to KDP. The process deletes your paperback from CreateSpace.

The Sad Truth

Amazon has folded CreateSpace product services into itself before, then killed off that part of CreateSpace. Not too long ago, after Amazon launched its own Video Direct platform, it removed the CreateSpace option to publish digital videos on Amazon. In fact, all of those videos on CreateSpace were eventually forced to move to Amazon Video Direct to continue selling.

I suspect that once KDP Print has enough users, the same thing will happen. Authors will be forced to have their paperbacks in KDP Print and CreateSpace will be gone.

What does this mean for the future?

It means serious self-publishing authors like myself, who take pride in creating the best print copy they can and who want full control over how their book is created and where it is sold, will look elsewhere. Many will flock to Ingram Spark as they grow to accommodate self-published authors. That is where I’ll be going.

Links to Explore

Learn more about KDP Print from Kindle

KDP Print Prices and Royalty Math

If you found this information helpful, please consider buying me a cup of tea ($1.50) as if we had chatted at a cafe and I shared this with you. [Payment is through PayPal.]

Have you decided what you’ll do? Will you stick with CreateSpace or take the leap into the unknown, limited KDP Print?

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122 thoughts on “Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users

  1. Nova Scotia, Canada:
    I had KDP (not KDP Select) produce both my e-book as well as the paperback version. I have received copies of both and found the print version quite acceptable, although it seemed Amazon was a bit fussier over the quality of editing of the paperback. And I had to pay full price for both versions.
    That said, there are definitely some improvements KDP can do to improve their paperback production department. Having the paperback version listed on Amazon.ca would be nice. Canada shows the e-book but no suggestion as to there being a paperback version available. Is this the fault of Canadian publishers lobbying the Canadian government against the competition, or is it an Amazon in-house conflict. I do know Canada has some overly restrictive policies relative to foreign competition that they should change.
    KDP could also provide books to the author at cost, for local self-promotional distribution. I believe Createspace does that.
    KDP could also provide a supply of books at a reduced rate, to retail book outlets that might be interested in ordering a few to offer for sale on their shelves. I’m sure there’s an Amazon profit there somewhere.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, AJ. Do you live in Canada? If so, how did you get copies of your paperback? Canadians were NOT able to buy paperbacks when they were published by KDP Print (at least when I wrote this blog post). Has that changed? I’m going to assume the quality is just as good as CreateSpace since they are probably printed in the same location.

      I don’t think KDP edits either formats of books (eBook / paperback), but I’ve read they are more fussy with the formatting of paperbacks.

      That’s an interesting thought about the government limiting the sales competition. But I don’t think that is the reason KDP Print books are not listed on Amazon.ca because my paperback is sold through Amazon.ca and it is printed through CreateSpace.

      CreateSpace does provide a proof and copies at cost. These are huge bonuses, and Canadians can buy the book.

  2. I really like Createspace and the control it gives me, as well as the discounted price for books. I sure do hope that Amazon doesn’t mess with it. I’ve been leery of the kdp version and your post only confirmed my suspicions. Thanks for the thorough analysis!

  3. Thank you for all of this information, Diane. I am in Canada and so disappointed to read how we are being left out as writers and readers with the new KDP print feature. I’ll stick with CreateSpace for my next book. If the move does end up being forced on us, then I’ll look elsewhere too.

    • Christy, honestly, I was shocked to learn readers and authors in Canada were unable to buy KDP Print books. It’s illogical. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

  4. It makes no sense whatsoever to exclude Canada Diane. As for creating paperbacks via KDP – forget it!

    KDP is already the literary version of a Second World War Nazi death camp for ebooks. To say I smell a rat here would be an understatement of the first order.

    I’ll stick with CreateSpace UK thank you very much. 😉

  5. Why would Amazon think that any English speaker in the western world even want to sell their book to Japan and not to Canada? That doesn’t make sense. Thanks for the info…I was considering using the KDP Print for the first time but I’m still in the process of finishing my 1st eBook. Will keep researching.

    • Gene, I agree. It’s illogical. I’m certain US authors have a higher readership in Canada than in Japan, but I could be wrong. I don’t know the statistics. Still, by eliminating Canada, it eliminates all authors in Canada. It’s illogical for Canadian authors to use this service until books are available here.

      Thank you for your comment. Good luck with your book.

  6. I just used this service this week to create a print copy of my ebook….and I’ll never do it again. I followed their instructions step by step, word for word, and then had to spend two entire days loading the file, previewing the book, fixing things on the file, reloading the file, previewing the book, etc. From now on, I’ll do ebooks with KDP and print with CreateSpace–presuming CS continues to exist.

  7. Since my print copies that I sell at Amazon (CreateSpace and other) have been pirated, and many other authors have reported the same, Do you think KDP Print will help with this problem, or will it remain the same?

    • Thank you for your comment, Jan. First, although I don’t want my books pirated, I don’t spend energy worrying about it. Every book–unless the author keeps it in a drawer and never shows it to anyone–can be pirated. And in my experience, eBooks make pirating easier than ever. But in reality, it matters not; eBooks, paperbacks, audio books, and hard cover books from every source–as long as their available to the public–can be pirated. Pirates will get around every road block out there to pirate the books they see profitable.

      Second, will KDP Print help this problem? How can they be any better than CreateSpace, Smashwords, Chapters and every other company that sells books. Once a book is purchased, it can be pirated. The only way to avoid it completely is to not sell books.

  8. I just caught up with your blog, so I’ll try and be succinct. Australia is also omitted from the paperback; I am in the UK, but have family in Australia. We had not ventured into paperbacks, but my long suffering husband liked the idea of having a go, with the initial aim of making sure my 91 year old mother in Australia could hold a real book of mine. It cost more to post a book to her than buying it.
    I think we went into it with eyes open; published my latest collection of short stories, ordered one copy to examine and were pleased. Nice paper, good sized print, a few quirks, but as my husband pointed out, it’s Beta at the moment. He designed the covers and it took a good few goes to get that right, but the text and lay out is as good as you make it.
    ps Sorry to hear Canada is treated so badly by Amazon, no doubt Amazon only treats us better because they pay UK hardly any taxes!

    • Tidal Scribe, thank you for sharing your experience. I believe–and I could be wrong–that KDP Print would use the same printing facility as CreateSpace, since they are both owned by the same company. So I assume the quality of paper and print, and thickness of cover will all be the same. I assume so–but sometimes the first mistake is assuming. And from what you have said, the quality is good.

      Perhaps Canada and Australia will be brought into the selling zones soon.

      • Yes, I think that is probably right. We have published all three of my collections now and strangely all were printed in Great Britain, except for one half dozen batch printed in Poland!

        • I’d like to add one thing, here. I love CreateSpace and the quality of their work, but I found out something interesting, At times, CreateSpace apparently sends larger orders “out” to be printed. I spoke to a rep by phone, because I was afraid I was going to be out of town when an order I’d made earlier arrived, and thus, the boxes of books might sit on my doorstep a day or two. He said he had no way of knowing when they would be shipped, since it was being printed elsewhere. Quote: “Larger orders are often sent out to be done, especially if we are extremely busy.” So, there’s that to consider, too.

          When the order, which wasn’t late or anything, did arrive, the quality was as good as any others I’d received. So wherever it was printed and shipped from, they performed to my expectations. But it sounds like they do use subcontractors when needed.

          • Marcia, that is interesting. I guess contracting out keeps orders moving. I am quite amazed at how fast I receive my books. There’s times I ordered a book on Monday and had it by Thursday. That’s insane.

            Being is time is great, but knowing the quality is still there when they contract out is vital. I’m glad to hear that. Thank you for sharing your insight.

            • I agree, Diane. I’ve never had a single complaint with CS, from quality to turnaround time, to fixing errors & reloading, whatever. I am truly distressed that changes might be coming. I don’t see what it has to be an “either/or” situation. You’d think a company like Amazon could offer a second method of approach without junking the first, already proven successful, one. I will continue to hope CreateSpace remains the wonderful option that it is.

              This has been a very interesting discussion, btw. Thanks so much.

            • Marcia, I’m finding this trend a lo in the past 20 years. Things are fixed, upgraded and improved for no good reason. It’s like throwing out last winter’s jacket and buying a new one because you wore it for one season. It makes no sense. Like you, I wish they would leave CreateSpace as is. It works and many are happy with it.

  9. Hi Diane,
    I ran into the same confusion over KDP’s royalties due to the ambiguous wording of the formula on their help pages. Apparently, Amazon’s reps were also confused, because it took several exchanges with them to get the correct information.

    The final word is that the royalty formula for KDP Paperbacks is (List Price * 60%) – Printing Costs, which is functionally identical to the CreateSpace formula.

    I’ve verified this independently with a few brave early adopters.

    Even though the payout is the same, I’ll be steering clear of KDP Paperbacks until they implement those missing features.

    Thanks for covering this!

    • John, thank you for providing this information. On several occasions, I read where authors thought this was a horrible deal, and the wording made me question it too. Obviously, Kindle needs to work on the way they explain royalties. Since royalties are the same as CreateSpace, this may not be a bad deal in the future, if they incorporate everything else CreateSpace provides (proofs, wholesale prices, expanded markets, sales to Canada).

  10. This is really messed up, how Amazon is treating the Canadians. I also wish companies like Amazon would ask us authors what they would like in a self-publishing platform than to just switch things up on us . If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  11. There are considerable differences in formatting for print and ebooks and you cannot take an Ebook and print it. I don’t use Createspace but most of the authors I promote do and are happy with the results. My books are formatted for print, Mobi for Kindle and Epub and I only use Amazon as a bookseller. I would wait to see some of the results before going that route.

    • It seems many here are happy with what they receive from CreateSpace. As time passes, I’m certain KDP Print will become a closer match to CreateSpace, but for the time being, they’re not even close.

      Thank you for visiting and for leaving a comment.

  12. I have some books in print versions, and some just in ebook format. I thought I would try out this new offering from Amazon, just to see what it looked like… the conversion from the ebook file was AWFUL! You can play around with it a bit, but not enough to make it worth printing. I went no further in the process. My books are currently printed by Feedaread, where I have much greater control. I do not publish through Kindle Select, as I refuse to be controlled by one retailer, so why would I limit my print books to them? I see no advantages to this system at all.

    • So, the option of going from eBook straight to print book was there when you tried it. Thank you for sharing that. Perhaps they changed that option since because I just looked at it, and it asked for a paperback manuscript. I guess they realised they can’t take an eBook and translate it by a program to a print book.

      I have not heard of Feedaread. I’ll visit their site and see what they’re about.

      I’ve had the odd book in Kindle Select, but only for a short time. I’m like you; I don’t want to limit myself to one retailer. I also wonder, once KDP Print takes over CreateSpace, will Kindle reward those who only publish their print books through them just as they do with eBooks.

      Ali, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  13. To start off, I want to say I’m Canadian. Much to take into consideration, as you’ve noted. I had thought about going directly to Ingram Spark since they will reportedly sell around the world and not charge me for the books they distribute – I’ll actually instead make a royalty. Even if my local Chapters did agree to buy some, CreateSpace would have charged more than the price on the cover. But then it was suggested to me to start with CreateSpace since they won’t charge me if the proof needs editing, whereas IS charges every time you want to edit your book. KDP Print sounds like a complete no-go for me. I knew they charged the author full price – I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to get them at all.
    Thanks very much for this article. 😀

    • Many authors–at the moment–publish/print through both, Ingram Spark and CreateSpace for that very reason: Ingram Spark charges for any changes after a copy is made. Authors work out the problems at CreateSpace, then they take it to Ingram Spark.

      Linda, thank you for visiting and for leaving your thoughts on the matter.

  14. Fantastic rundown here of the two paperback producing methods Diane. I looked into this a few months ago and came to your EXACT conclusions. This is not even feasible for Canadians. We’d get no price break on ordering our books, which is expensive enough as it is because of the shipping charges. Canadians are certainly on the bottom of the list when it comes to Amazon and I’m tired of sending them emails with enquiries and their replies of ‘thank you, and we’ll look into things for the future’. Five years of that story is getting old.

    • You are correct, Debby: This is not even feasible for Canadians.

      I hope all Canadian authors see this and do not go with KDP Print. The shipping fees and the duty make buying books more expensive from CreateSpace, but I can’t imagine what the total would be from KDP Print, if we even could order copies in the future. I’m sure it would be astronomical, and far from worth it.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  15. Great article! Thanks for sharing your info about KDP Print versus CreateSpace. I have used CS for all of my print books and will stick with them until if anf when amazon shuts it down. I will look into Ingram Spark for the future.

  16. I’m usually the last to try anything new. I will stick with what I’m doing right now. If things change, I will be sure to get in touch with you to make sure I’m doing what I need to do. I am not all that crazy about Createspace, because if you don’t know how to do any of the formatting to get your book up, they don’t do a very good job if you hire them to do it for you.

    Glad to get this information.

    • Shirley, thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. If you need help formatting a book (both eBook and Print on Demand book), I recommend Rik Hall (http://rikhall.com/). I’ve heard many good things about his formatting. Good luck with your book.

  17. Thank you for this important information. I just discovered your blog today and I am now following. I am a newbie, working on my first novel. I have a review blog for other newbies, with less than 3 novels published. This is so important for them to know as well. I am reblogging. I so happy I found you! 🙂

    • Rebecca, thank you for reblogging my post and the follow. That’s wonderful that you are providing reviews for new authors. Reviews are vital for all books. Good luck with your novel.

  18. Good information! Glad I read this before going on to KP soon. I have liked working with Create Space and quality is important if you are selling a print book.

  19. I tried it and I hated it. My paperback cover image was awfully faded on the website, turning potential buyers off. And, being unable to buy my book at wholesale was infuriating. My friends and family were helping me to stock my inventory before I manually reduced my price (the lowest I could go was 8.45). Which meant they were paying far too much for me to offer paperbacks at events. I eventually removed my book from KDP print and put it up on Createspace. I’m loving the opportunity to proof my book. We realized that my font for my back cover is awful and needs to be changed and that I’m deciding to change my interior formatting as well.

    • Leah, thank you for sharing your experience.

      What stands out is the fact you removed your book from KDP Print and put it back on CreateSpace. KDP specifically said that it was a one-way street, but common sense told me that if I wanted my book on CreateSpace again, all I would have to do is unpublish it at Kindle and set it up like a new book at CreateSpace.

      I recall the problems with cover images. Mine on Kindle was much lighter than that at CreateSpace.

  20. No way will I move from Create Space until they shut it down and am investigating Ingram Spark and Lulu. In fact I might not wait until they tell me via email they have moved all my books over ‘as it will be convenient for me’.

    • I second that, Lucinda. I assume we have several months to prepare. We might even have a year or more with CreateSpace, but I have little doubt, Amazon will eventually close CreateSpace.

      Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment.

  21. Why would I move from CreateSpace? I’ve published some 12 books with CS and have been more than satisfied. I don’t sell many paperbacks but to me books don’t really exist unless they are available in the traditional paper format. And the only way you can see how the book is going to look when published is to format it yourself in a template. I agree with all who have said here: NEVER try to use an ebook format for a print book!

  22. Thanks for the update and insight into KDP Print. I use CreateSpace and am very pleased with the results, support and options offered. Plenty of food for thought in your informative post.

  23. Hi Diane,
    I have looked at Amazon’s CreateSpace but not studied it. I may have misjudged it. I thought it was for individuals that did not have the knowledge or time to convert their manuscript to be accepted for KDP ebooks and print books. Perhaps I was wrong. If you currently have an ebook on with KDP, can you use CreateSpace to convert it to print? Sales of my first book to date does not warrant conversion. I’m in hopes with more marketing and publishing my second, sales will pick up. With both books I would then consider converting to print.

    • No, you can’t take an eBook published through Kindle and get it converted into a print book at CreateSpace. The service Amazon is encouraging authors to use is KDP Print, which takes an eBook and creates a print book. BUT I discourage everyone from using an eBook formatted book and making a print copy with it. Print books are very different than eBooks.

      • No, I don’t think this is how it works. Looking at the feature in my dashboard I would have to upload a print PDF and cover, same as if I was publishing through CreateSpace. I’m not interested in going print right now at all, and I think the CS benefits outweigh any benefit from having everything on KDP. But I don’t think using KDP is quite as terrible as you’re stating here. Minus, of course, that you lose markets such as Canada – that’s just plain idiotic.

        • Pearannoyed, you can upload a PDF, but I read “KDP Print will attempt to make a presentable copy from the formatted eBook.” I believe that was out of the email I received, which I have since deleted. Or it could have been on one of the many pages I read.

          But, I just walked through some of the process with one of my short story eBooks and it does ask for a paperback manuscript, so that selling point (and I assume that’s what they were using it for) is not true.

          Thank you for pointing that out. It really didn’t make sense that they would use an eBook format to create a print copy.

          But to Canadians and to anyone who wants to order copies at wholesale or order a proof to ensure all is well before hitting ‘publish’, it is a horrible deal. It also sells these books only through Amazon and doesn’t have expanded distribution. At the moment, KDP Print is terrible. That’s not to say it won’t improve in the months ahead. I assume it has to. But right now, CreateSpace is better deal by far.

  24. Diane, I’ve been putting off publishing a hard copy of my book because of the formatting question. I want to see and proof it before the public does. I’ve been using inDesign over the years to create books, brochures, magazines for my church and social organizations. Thanks for reminding me that I can format my book in that program. The whole paperback thing is pretty confusing and I was going to choose Amazon but now I will do my research. Thank you for shedding some light on this subject. Thanks Chris for reblogging!

    • Linda, I’m still learning the ins and outs of InDesign, but I’ve come a long way from the first day I started. Since you have the basics down with InDesign, you will find the learning curve easier. There are many wonderful, step-by-step videos on YouTube to help with creating books with InDesign. When I have a problem, I go there.

      Once you have a professional PDF created with InDesign, you can publish your paperback anywhere you want. You could have it at CreateSpace (or PDF Pring) for Amazon sales and Ingram Spark. I know several authors who use both POD services.

  25. Has Amazon never heard “If it ain’t broke, don’t FIX it” ???? I am very happy with CreateSpace, and can see no advantage to switching at all. But I do see several disadvantages, as you’ve laid out so well, here. Thank you for an informative, though very unsettling, post. I hope and pray CreateSpace stays just where it is, as a viable and profitable offering for independent writers.

    • I agree with that philosophy: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. CreateSpace is an excellent service for self-published authors.

      I, too, hope CreateSpace will stick around for several more years.

      • 🙂 Just in case you were wondering. . . the old expression isn’t my personal idea of proper grammar, but it sure is a solid truth.

        I know Amazon is always tweaking, and for the most part, improving, but losing CreateSpace would be a terrible blow to many of us. I sell a lot of books at local events and through local venues. The profit margin isn’t huge, but I’d hate to lose it. It would have a very definite impact on my business. *sigh* Just when you think you’ve got it (mostly) figured out . . .

  26. Very informative. Thanks. Why would Amazon exclude Canada? That doesn’t make any sense. I put a link to this article on my Writing Tips Page. Publishing is a huge confusing world. I appreciate people sharing information so much!

    • I can’t answer that question. There’s no logical reason why Canada wouldn’t have been included in the initial countries where paperbacks would be sold. Thank you for sharing this post.

  27. Hi Diane – I am someone who was only planning to publish in e-book format for the first two books I published, and to do so through Amazon at least initially before moving on to other e-book platforms. I published the e-books right after the launch of Amazon’s paperback publishing. It seemed really easy to create a paperback from that, so I decided to take the plunge (it was something I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise).

    As for some of the issues your raised, I have a few thoughts – I can’t speak to everything you mentioned because some of it doesn’t affect me, but a few things did strike me.

    Doing reviews with the PDF proofs was really easy, though I am very used to working that way, so it may just be that I work well without ever looking at a hard copy.

    In terms of the quality of the ultimate product, they will not let you publish anything if they detect various problems (such as margin issues, cover information that doesn’t match the information in their system for things like title or author, etc.). It took me a fair number of tries to get something they approved. The actual books are fantastic – I ordered a couple just to see what they looked like, and they are better than I ever would have expected.

    That said, two of the issues you have identified have proved majorly problematic. The first is the inability to order copies in Canada. One of my blogging friends really wants hard copies of the books, but she can’t get them. I’m considering ordering a few copies myself and selling them directly to my Canadian friends. This is also problematic in that one of the books is a travel book for destinations that are mostly in Canada. The latter is probably more problematic in the long run, but the former is frustrating because it’s personal.

    The second problem is the inability for me as an author to order copies at a lower cost than list price (be that wholesale or even something slightly higher). If I could do that, it would be really easy to just get hard copies in the hands of my friends in Canada, without it being a losing cost situation for me. It would also allow me to market the book to places in Canada who might be interested in carrying a few hard copies in their store.

    Amazon is saying that the paperback publishing options are still in beta, so I’m hoping that one or both of the issues that have been majorly problematic for me get cleared up with any new roll out of features. Even if only the latter got corrected, it would be great for me.

    • Sarah, thank you for your informative comment. I’m glad to hear there is quality control on the part of Amazon. I feared they would publish everything without looking at the finished product. I, like you, hope they fix these two major problems: books not sold in Canada and books not sold at wholesale prices to authors. This a major problem for Canadians, as I would never approve a paperback copy without seeing it.

      Although I have used the PDF proof at CreateSpace and corrected basic formatting issues, there have been things that were not picked up in the PDF version. And, as the final edit, I read the paperback before it is approved. I do not read eBooks, and even so, our eyes will find mistakes in printed copies that are often missed on a screen.

      Good luck with your books. I can see where not being able to sell these in Canada would be an issue.

  28. Thanks for this article. I had wondered about the comparison. I currently do my paperbacks at Lulu and will continue to do so. They also don’t stamp PROOF on the last page so I do have the option to sell or gift my proofs after I’ve checked them.

    • The proof stamp at CreateSpace used to bother me I’ve come to terms with it. Once approved, I usually buy multiple copies of the book anyway. Thank you visiting my blog and for leaving a comment.

  29. I have used both services – Amazon, and Create Space.
    Before you use Amazon, make sure that you have a PDF copy prepared for the print version or you will be unpleasantly surprised.
    Amazon does not give you proof copies at discounted prices and their royalties are nothing to shout about.
    Personally, I prefer Create Space.
    We can buy our books at discounted prices to sell locally.
    With Amazon, you have to pay full price like any other customer.

  30. There is no way I would EVER consider using an eBook file for a printed copy. The results would be disastrous and I think serious Indie authors have worked hard to achieve real value and qualify in the market. I’ve appreciated the constant support CreateSpace offers. So I won’t consider changing. Thanks for this article. I would like to reblog it, because I think members of my book club might also enjoy reading your thoughts and others’ comments.

    • And that is the difference, Marethabotha2013: serious self-published authors will spend the time to have a properly formatted print book made.

      I too have contacted CreateSpace with problems, and I have quickly received answers. Their support system works great.

      Thank you for reblogging this article.

      • Thanks Dianne for writing this article and I was very happy to have seen it. I just don’t seehow ane Book file could possibly look good as a paperback. So I’ll continue withCreateSpace. They are very helpful and patient with people like me who start with zero knowledge about printing and publishing. One cannot afford to run after every wind of change – just like that! Sorry about the run in letters- using iPad, can’t see what I’m doing. 😱

  31. I had some small 30-page books, that I didn’t really want to publish as paperbacks, so i put a couple of them up on Azon to see if they would sell. But I would have to price them about $7.50 to get the same royalty as I get from a $2.99 E-Book! I can’t see them selling at that price! In fact, one of them I sell for 99 cents on Azon, and give away for free on Smashwords. I priced it at $4.99 as a paperback on Azon, and I think I get $.84 royalty! Whenever I advertise a book from Create Space, I try to send customers directly to the CreateSpace Store–on a $9.99 book I make over $2 more there, than if Amazon sells it. The PROCESS of turning my E-Book into a paperback was easier on Azon than on Create Space, but I just got back a proof from CS, and it was simply BEAUTIFUL! I wonder if the Azon paperbacks will be anywhere near the same quality. I have not seen one yet. But the difference in royalty alone is enough to send me back to CS. Should Amazon force everyone over to KDP paperbacks, I would find another source. I found a new one the other day. They charge more than CS, but less than Azon, for a comparable book. Azon’s cost to publish is considerably higher than CS as well. That 30-page book costs the same to the penny as my 92-page book on CS. And your 60% starts after all costs for print and delivery.I am now making more money on Smashwords than on Amazon, for my E-Books, and I make more on CS paperbacks than I do on Amazon E-Books as well!!!! I am not sure I know why I even bother to send books to Amazon anymore….

    • John, thank you for your comment. It is wise to keep track of these things. As you do, I often send readers directly to CreateSpace because they take less from the selling price. And as you do, I sell more books through Smashwords, and I get a higher cut of the sale price than I do through Kindle.

      I am quite satisfied with CreateSpace books. Any problems I’ve encountered were caused by me and fixable.

  32. Reblogged this on Wind Eggs and commented:
    Never, ever use your eBook file to create a paperback. You’ll only cry when you see the finished product. But if you know how to create a book for print, KDP’s new book publishing service may (I stress may) be a better option than Create Space. Or, if you have a Bowker account, get your own ISBN (which you need to market through Ingram Sparks) and use both services. Amazon’s return on Create Space books is terrible.

    Diane Tiebert offers a head-to-head comparison from what little information Amazon has made available.

    • Thank you for reblogging this, Phillip. I second that: never use your eBook file to create a paperback.

      Canadians get theri ISBNs free, so it is easier for them to work with Ingram Spark or any other print on demand company.

  33. Not sure when I’ll get that novel done, but maybe I’ll go back to Lulu.com were I did that POD memoir, longer ago than I care to admit, rather than do this KDP print. Ingram Spark will be something to consider too. Thanks for the pros and cons.

    • John, there’s also Blurb (http://www.blurb.ca/). My first book was printed through them. I was happy with the quality. I may get a book printed through them again, just to see. The last I looked, they accepted payment by PayPal. A bonus for anyone who doesn’t have credit cards and doesn’t want to get one just to order books.

      With Blurb, you have full control over your book and there is no contract to sign. It’s similar to CreateSpace, but it’s a wee bit more expensive per book. Setting up the book was a challenge back in 2010, but I’ve learned a lot since then, and I now use InDesign to create print copies. It should be easier the second time around.

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