CreateSpace is Amazon’s contribution to the world of self publishing. It was originally created in 2002 and was known as CustomFlix Labs until 2007 which is when it was given its current name CreateSpace, two years after being acquired by Amazon. In 2009, Amazon decided to merge CreateSpace with Booksurge. This company was in direct competition with Lulu.com but appears to have overtaken its rival to become the dominant site in the world of self-publishing. The sheer size of this organization and the volume of books distributed and sold means that publishing a book with CreateSpace is far cheaper than with its rivals.
CreateSpace offers free publishing but the caveat is that you must foot the bill for the printing and shipping of your book. Unlike other self publishing sites, CreateSpace does not offer discounts for volume for this plan, presumably because there are no other fees. There are other plans available also:
- Pro Plan: This costs just $39 with an extra $5 to be paid annually for each book you place under the Pro Plan banner. With the Pro Plan, you will earn more royalties and incur fewer fees than with their standard plan. This also gives you access to their Expanded Distribution Channel (discussed below).
- Author’s Express: At $248, this is a more advanced option which ensures that the files you send meet CreateSpace’s submission requirements. You receive a supported interior PDF and a supported cover PDF. CreateSpace will review your submission and give you revised digital files. The site gives you your own Support Team to give you phone support.
- Marketing Pro: This is the granddaddy of all their services at $4,853 and includes copyediting, a signature book cover, custom book interior, press release with distribution and much more. You can also include up to 10 images at $15 an image and graphs at $25 each. This is the package you require if you’re hoping to make serious waves with your book.
Distribution and Royalties
All CreateSpace members receive free distribution which includes making your book available to millions of visitors on Amazon.com as well as giving you shipping discounts. You can also sell your book directly from your own eStore. Expanded Distribution costs $25 and makes your book available to a range of online retailers and libraries within the United States. In terms of royalties, you can quickly see how much you receive per book. You simply fill in the field where you set the list price. A sample search reveals that a 300 page black & white book with a 6 inch x 9 inch trim that you list at $12 will net you $5.15 per book from your eStore, $2.75 from Amazon.com but just $0.35 from Expanded Distribution. Perhaps this feature is not so desirable after all. In this example, you would need to sell 8 times more books through Expanded Distribution than on Amazon.com to make the same level of profit!
CreateSpace will argue that since it does everything for you, it deserves a large share of the pie. Certainly, traditional publishing houses have been doing it for years. However, allowing the author a measly 3% royalty from sales made on Expanded Distribution is a step too far. CreateSpace is a great service but one wonders if Amazon is taking advantage of talented writers. However, you do get a lot for $39 on the Pro Plan.
Publish your book with CreateSpace: get high royalties, low book prices, and expanded distribution.