CreateSpace – Reviewed (Update Aug 2018) [DEFUNCT]

CreateSpace is the publishing engine of global online retailer and publisher Amazon, the company everyone either wants to love or hate. Createspace began life in 2002 as CustomFlix Labs (DVD), originally intended to make widespread distribution easier for independent filmmakers by providing on-demand DVD production. In 2000, a small group of writers pooled resources to form Booksurge with the intention of creating opportunities for authors to self-publish their books and retain content rights and sales profits. Both companies quickly flourished and in 2005, Amazon acquired them, with CustomFlix Labs changing its name to CreateSpace in 2007. By late 2009, Amazon took the logical step and merged CreateSpace and Booksurge under the CreateSpace brand name to form a single company offering on-demand manufacturing of books, DVD’s and music formats for independent artists and businesses. CreateSpace also support on-demand products for Amazon retail and their publishing imprints AmazonEncore (for deserving author slipping under the mainstream radar) and AmazonCrossing (for foreign language books deserving an English translation).

A few years ago CreateSpace might have seemed like any other POD (print on demand) service, but visit its site now and you will be in no doubt that you are dealing with a competent company connected to the Amazon brand. For several years CreateSpace was the main competitor to DIY self-publishing service, Lulu.com, but by 2009, CreateSpace surpassed the published output of the Tennessee-based self-publishing service.
Many readers will have followed my own DIY self-publishing experiences on this website with Lulu and Blurb throughtout the period 2008-2009 and wondered why TIPM did not offer a more expansive review of CreateSpace until now. We delayed doing a thorough review in 2010 because of the rapid development and changes at Amazon and CreateSpace.
CreateSpace, in spite of all the changes, has built up an extraordinary strong brand and it was no real surprise when Booksurge was subsumed into CreateSpace. Like Lulu, CreateSpace is the ideal place for an independent DIY artist to go and upload a book, film or album for on-demand production and publication.
For the purpose of this review, we will centre on CreateSpace for the services it offers self-publishing authors. The most significant move made by this company was the introduction of full global online distribution and availability package at $39 (Pro-Plan), costing almost half of what is on offer at Lulu for a similar deal. Books submitted and up-loaded must meet with CreateSpace’s technical requirements. Prior to the introduction of this distribution package, CreateSpace would have always been considered the second choice for serious self-published authors. Thankfully, that all changed in 2010 when CreateSpace introduced the package and it truly put the company on the map as a DIY self-publishing service. Of course, like Lulu, if an author has modest aspirations, and simply wants to have a printed book and use CreateSpace’s ISBN, and is happy with availability of his/her book on CreateSpace’s bookstore and Amazon, then setting up a book is technically free, outside of the cost of the final proof copy of the book before it is made available. Since TIPM did this review, CS has waived that requirement, but I would wholeheartedly not advise approving a book until you see a physical proof.

CreateSpace use online tools to upload a completed book PDF file, or allow the author to design his/her book using templates and widget tools. I found the Createspace application for book load-up not quite as easy to use as Lulu (I still feel the same way circa 2012), but that is purely personal taste. The quality of what you have and what you put in is what determines the quality of output on the finished book. The book samples I have purchased from CreateSpace were exceptionally good and on a par with anything I have got from Lightning Source.

From the CreateSpace website royalty video. Also the CS Expanded Distribution plan.

 

Timing

It may take up to six weeks for your title to begin populating in the distribution outlets you select. Additionally, changes to any details of your book including list price, selling information (such as your book’s product description), or your book’s files may take up to six weeks to update in all distribution outlets. Outlets don’t update simultaneously, so your book’s previous list price, selling information, or files will persist until the change propagates throughout the distribution outlets. (CS has improved this, 2012)

 

Book Update Fees

If you need to change the cover or interior files for your book for any reason, we can accommodate your request; however, there will be a $25 book update fee for each new file change request. This fee only applies to changes made for an EDC-enrolled title.”

 

Calculating Our Share
      Sales Channel Percentage
+    Fixed Charge
+    Per-Page Charge
=    Our Share

 

https://www.createspace.com/Common/Pix/icons/icon_tip.gif “Upgrade your book toPro Plan to lower your book’s fixed and per-page charges.

Sales Channel Percentage

A sales channel percentage is deducted from your book’s list price depending on which sales channel the book is sold through.”

Sales Channel Percentage
CreateSpace eStore
20% of list price
per sale
Amazon.com
40% of list price
per sale
60% of list price
per sale

“Fixed Charges

Fixed charges vary depending on your book’s page count, whether your book’s interior is black and white or full-color, and if your title has been upgraded to Pro Plan.”

Fixed Charges
Standard
Black and white books with 24-108 pages
$3.66 per book
$2.15 per book
Black and white books with 110-828 pages
$1.50 per book
$0.85 per book
Full-color books with 24-40 pages
$6.55 per book
$3.65 per book
Full-color books with 42-250 pages
$1.75 per book
$0.85 per book

“Per-Page Charge

Some books with higher page counts may also have a per-page charge.”

Per-Page Charges
Standard
Black and white books with 24-108 pages
None
None
Black and white books with 110-828 pages
$0.02 per page
$0.012 per page
Full-color books with 24-40 pages
None
None
Full-color books with 42-250 pages
$0.12 per page
$0.07 per page

 

“Based on the above figures, if an author goes for the Pro-Plan distribution on our average example of a 200 page black and white interior and full colour cover books, then we are looking at the following royalty share for authors if they set a retail price at $10:

 

Through CreateSpace bookstore – $10 less 20% ($2) distribution, less fixed charge for Pro-Plan ($0.85), less page charge ($2.40) = $4.75

 

Through Amazon bookstore – $10 less 40% ($4) distribution, less fixed charge for Pro-Plan ($0.85), less page charge ($2.40) = $2.75

 

Through other expanded channels – $10 less 60% ($6) distribution, less fixed charge for Pro-Plan ($0.85), less page charges ($2.40) = $0.75″

 

Total Design Freedom Standard

Let a team of professionals work their magic with your manuscript—we’ll use your input to custom-design your book’s interior and cover while maintaining your unique vision for your book.

Price: $728.00*

Total Design Freedom Essentials

Having high-quality content and a top-notch design are essential to the success of your book. With Total Design Freedom Essentials, you’ll receive great savings on our copyediting and book design services to create a professional, polished, one-of-a-kind book.

Price: $1,737.00*

Total Design Freedom Advanced

Want to create a polished, great-looking book and get a head start with marketing? Total Design Freedom Advanced offers a round of copyediting to help refine and prepare your manuscript for publication, the flexibility of a custom-designed book cover and interior, plus a press release with distribution to help get your book noticed.

Price: $2,315.00*

Total Design Freedom Marketing Pro

Launch your book in style with Total Design Freedom Marketing Pro. This comprehensive publishing solution comes equipped with multiple rounds of copyediting, custom book design including a Signature Book Cover, and an assortment of effective marketing tools.

Price: $4,634.00*”

PLEASE CHECK CS MOST RECENT PRICES IN RELATION TO ABOVE

It is obviously worth making a Kindle version available with Amazon if you are going to use CreateSpace to publish your book. The service itself does not come at a fee and the author gets 30% royalties on the retail price.

Like competitor Lulu, CreateSpace offer access to a thriving online community of CreateSpace authors well worth browsing if any author is seriously considering using this service. CreateSpace offers an abundance of other services from design and layout to editing, but again, CreateSpace’s strength lies in being a provider of DIY self-publishing services for authors who can provide print ready files and I would like to think that they will not go the way of Lulu and start to place more of an emphasis on some of the expensive packages listed above.

CreateSpace is now at the forefront of DIY self-publishing and the introduction of the Pro-Plan at $39 makes it a difficult choice to ignore. Short of working with Ingram’s Lightning Source (a more complex undertaking for the DIY self-publisher), CS beats Lulu hands down on front end pricing, and lacks some of the frustrations authors experience with Smashwords.

CS is still not for the faint-hearted, but with a well-edited and complete print file, you really won’t find a better DIY service. I’d take a lot of the added packages, bells and whistles, with a pinch of salt. Go to a freelance designer or marketer if you want those services.

UPDATE (Feb 2017): There are increasing indications that Amazon intends integrating its self-publishing POD operation CreateSpace in Amazon KDP and repurposing CreateSpace as a B2B operation, much in the way we have seen Ingram use Spark to fix on the self-publishing service market and allow Lightning Source to service the commercial publishing market.

UPDATE: Nov 2010 –CreateSpace announce service improvements.

UPDATE: May 2012 CreateSpace Fully Rolls Out Distribution on Amazon Europe

UPDATE: Nov 2013 CreateSpace Offer Expanded Distribution for Free

UPDATE: Aug 2018 CreateSpace will merge with KDP Print

RATING: 0/10 (Defunct, as of late 2018 – REMOVED FROM INDEX OCTOBER 2019)

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