Createspace – damn them.

So, createspace is a great service. It’s by Amazon, and it completely changes the game around self publishing physical copies. Right off the bat you don’t have to actually print any copies. You can put your formatted books up on createspace, and then when people buy a physical copy of the title from Amazon, Amazon prints a physical copy and ships it to them. You can set your price anywhere above the cost set by createspace, which is pretty reasonable. They have tools to allow you to calculate royalties and the like. For a 400 page trade paperback (6×9) you make $3.35 a copy if you sell it for $15.00. That’s a pretty competitive price for a trade paperback, and it’s in line with what you will see in a bookstore. You make less if it’s actually in a bookstore, in the range of 35 cents. You might see that 35 cent figure and turn your nose up at it, but it means your book can be ordered in any bookstore. The $3.35 is what you get if they order the book online.

There is another cool feature. You pay a lot less when you order a copy for yourself. Same scenario – you buy a copy of your own trade paperback. You pay $5.65 for that book, plus shipping of course. There is no limit on how many you can buy, upper or lower. You want to order a single copy for your mom? You can do that, the price is $5.65 (for a 400 page trade paperback again). You want a hundred copies for your book launch? You can do that too. It’s a lot more money. In fact, it is a hundred times the money (plus shipping of course), at $565.00.

Now for the down side. They aren’t a traditional printer. If you are working with a graphic designer it might be a frustrating process (it has been for me, working on my mothers book I haven’t reached the point where you can buy a paper copy yet). Crop marks? They don’t deal with them. An elements is supposed to be in the bleed area, as it can be cropped? Not if it’s a number, even if it’s just a number as a design element and not actually part of the book. I’ve been back and forth with them dozens of times, dealt with support so many times I can’t even…

Fiction is more manageable of course, there is much less in the way of design – if you ensure that your margins are adequate you should be fine. Anyway, it’s a different world. It puts you, the author, in a position to also be the publisher.

Oh, they also throw in an ISBN number. It lists createspace as the publisher of note, but if you are okay with that it has no other effect on your rights to the book, and it save you a bunch of cash.

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