What Happened to CreateSpace?
As we all know, the self-publishing industry – and the tools and resources we use to get ready to self-publish – are constantly evolving. If you’ve self-published anything in the last 20 years or so, you’ve likely heard of CreateSpace and wondered where they are today.
CreateSpace used to be one of the most popular print-on-demand (POD) services for self-publishers. CreateSpace made it easy for self-publishers to produce and market professional paperback versions of their work. However, when the company officially merged with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in late 2018, many authors experienced significant changes as a result, leaving many wondering where to go next.
What Has Changed Now That CreateSpace Is Gone?
Amazon kept most of the features that made CreateSpace so popular in the first place, including print pricing and delivery, design templates, multiple ISBN options for authors, and distribution and fee structures. And by acquiring CreateSpace, KDP had a way to quickly expand their services into the POD and paperback markets.
However, several key differences began to emerge—the most important being they no longer offered assistance with editing, cover design, or interior formatting. The Publish Pros team served as top-tier editors and designers at CreateSpace for four years, but KDP now only offers DIY publishing. There are no experts available to help with some of the most challenging aspects of making a book print-ready.
As authors began to transfer their existing CreateSpace or publish new content on KDP, many were thrilled to have access to Amazon’s extensive reach and distribution channels, while others experienced longer wait times for royalty payments, strict restrictions, and additional fees, especially on printing and distribution for non-U.S. audiences.
Challenges for New and Old Authors Alike
Over time, more self-publishers began to question or even outright criticize some of Amazon’s and KDP’s business practices. One major concern that remains today is anyone who self-publishes through KDP cannot delete any of their retired files. This means KDP retains any and all unpublished work indefinitely on their databases. While this prevents that work from being available for sale or distribution through Amazon, it does not prevent others from trying to benefit from it through either third-party sales, plagiarism or copyright infringement.
Another big concern focuses on KDP’s quality control – or lack of it. There are numerous situations in which KDP has released questionable, offensive – even potentially illegal – content with little to no review prior to publication. If challenged, Amazon simply removes the titles with little to no explanation to authors or readers.
Plagiarism has also increased significantly on KDP in recent years. Several well-known authors, such as Stephen King and Nora Roberts, have had their work plagiarized and reproduced by KDP users, with little to no recourse. Many of KDP’s authors have also grown frustrated with the company’s culture, including the lack of support, slow response times, and the often impersonal nature of working with such a large organization.
Balancing the Pros and Cons of KDP
With its huge international user base, the KDP service may seem like a no-brainer for self-publishers. However, it’s always best to do your research and determine if the costs truly outweigh the benefits of publishing through KDP. Some authors, especially ones new to the world of self-publishing, may fully appreciate all that KDP has to offer and can leverage Amazon’s advantages to gain valuable exposure and start building a loyal fan base. More experienced writers may prefer to retain more direct control of the full scope of their publishing needs.
One of the advantages of working with a smaller self-publisher or POD provider is the close, personal relationship that develops between the author and the publishing team helping them bring their work to life. At Publish Pros, we value the mutually beneficial relationships we develop with our authors. We know that building long-term, trusting bonds with authors leads to better books and, therefore, more favorable outcomes for everyone involved. Take the first step now – contact us today at PublishPros.com.