KDP Print vs. CreateSpace | Azure Fire Publishing: encouraging youth-friendly Fantasy & Sci-Fi literacy through writing challenges

KDP Print Makes Changes. What Does That Mean For Authors?

CreateSpace-Amazon logos | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksA lot of authors, especially Indie ones, have been using CreateSpace for years now to publish their works. Createspace, which makes books, CDs, and DVDs on demand, was initially known as BookSurge, a startup that Amazon bought in 2005. Back then, few imagined that Amazon would gradually roll the company’s services into its own. But that’s what’s been happening for the past few months.

First, CreateSpace announced it would no longer sell products on its own e-store, using Amazon’s one instead. The decision would be implemented from 2018 onward. Then, CreateSpace announced in late January it would move out of paid author services such as professional design and editing.

It looks like Amazon is slowly killing off its own subsidiary, doesn’t it? Which, it turns out, is actually good news for authors, as Amazon just announced some major changes to its KDP Print program that address two main issues where CreateSpace has had the advantage.

So, what are these and how do they impact authors?

KDP Print Problem #1: No Physical Proofs (Solved)

The first problem with KDP Print concerned its means of proofing your manuscript. Well, you can now order printed proofs from KDP. Proofs allow you to review a physical copy of your draft paperback prior to publication.

Note, however, that the process is a bit more cumbersome than the one CreateSpace uses. Specifically, here’s how you can order a proof:

  • Go to your Bookshelf and find the paperback for which you would like to order a proof.
  • If your paperback is in “Draft” status, the option to request a proof will be enabled in the ellipsis (“…”) menu.
  • Click Request Proof Copies.
  • Select the order quantity. You can order up to 5 copies at a time.
  • Select the Amazon marketplace closest to your shipping destination. The cost will then be displayed. This cost doesn’t include shipping and applicable taxes.
  • Click Submit Proof Request.
  • Within 4 hours of submitting your request, you’ll receive an email with a link to complete your proof order. You must complete your purchase within 24 hours of receiving this email.
  • Once you receive the email and click on the link to complete your order, you’ll be redirected to the Amazon Shopping Cart/Basket. You can use your existing payment information and delivery addresses or add new addresses to send proof copies to reviewers.

Proofs are eligible for all paid (standard and expedited) shipping options available to Amazon customers except Prime. You can ship proofs to multiple shipping addresses by placing separate orders for each destination.

You can find out more on Amazon’s website.

KDP Print Problem #2: Author Copies (Solved)

When you order copies of your own book, you now pay just the printing costs plus shipping and applicable taxes. The author price is the printing cost for your selected marketplace times the number of copies. The trim size, interior type, page count determines this price and does not include shipping charges or taxes. On Amazon.com, any applicable sales tax will be applied at checkout. For European orders, local VAT will be applied at checkout. As this price is the lowest price Amazon can offer for your book, no additional discounts (e.g. for volume) are applicable.

Ordering is as easy as with CreateSpace. Specifically, to order your author copies:

  • Go to your Bookshelf and select the paperback you would like to order.
  • Click on the Order Author Copies link in the ellipsis (“…”) menu.
  • Enter the order quantity and select the Amazon marketplace closest to your shipping destination from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Proceed to Checkout. You’ll be redirected to the Amazon Shopping Cart/Basket of your chosen marketplace to complete your order.
  • You can order as many author copies as you want with a maximum of 999 units per order. If you want to order more than 999 author copies at a time, you can place multiple separate orders. You’ll pay shipping charges for each order.

Author copies are eligible for all paid standard and expedited shipping options available to Amazon customers (excluding Prime). Manufacturing and delivery estimates are based on the quantity ordered and selected delivery speed. The most up-to-date delivery estimate will display during checkout.

You can find out more on Amazon’s website.

KDP Print Problem #3: European Copies (Solved)

Flag of Europe | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books
Image: Wikipedia

Not only has Amazon now addressed both these concerns, it has also solved another problem European authors have been having for ages. Ordering author copies from CreateSpace and having them delivered to Europe had often proven to be a nightmare, as CreateSpace prints the books in the US and not Europe. This meant that larger book orders (depending on the country, this could mean as small as half a dozen books) had to go through customs, often doubling (or even tripling, in some cases) the cost and negating any savings resulting from CreateSpace’s low prices offered to authors.

With this new feature, however, KDP proof and author copies for the UK and the rest of Europe are printed and shipped from within Europe. Which means, no customs for European authors, which means they can finally stock up on their books when they go to book readings etc.

Other Issues

Personally, I love CreateSpace–especially its awesome support and ease of creating and publishing your book. However, its use also has some drawbacks. Specifically, when it came to royalties, as they need to be over $100 before they send authors their money. This is per marketplace, which means that a lot of people may receive monthly payments from the US, but with, say, Japan, might never see any royalties. With KDP Print, you’ll receive monthly payments regardless of their size.

You will also need to check a single reporting platform (my daily routine starts with me checking out KDP sales, then CreateSpace ones), which will also save you some time. And CreateSpace’s reporting is inferior to KDP’s one, as it has no daily reporting or easy-to-read graphs.

So, will people be moving their books to KDP Print in droves? I now believe so. It may not happen right away, as a lot of authors prefer not to jump into a new platform until the unavoidable teething problems have been sorted out, but yes, I think most eventually will. Which means that CreateSpace’s days may be numbered, but most people won’t mind, as Amazon has worked hard to make KDP Print an even better service.

About the author

Nicholas Rossis

Nicholas is editor-in-chief at Azure Fire Publishing. He lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats and his baby daughter, all of whom claim his lap as home. His books have won numerous awards, including the Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award.

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