CreateSpace Closing – It’s Official Amazon Publishing

It’s official, Amazon is closing CreateSpace “in a few weeks” and seems to be nudging people to move to KDP Print now. More on that below, including how the process has been simplified further – significantly in fact, especially for those with large catalogs who can now move the whole lot at once.

First, a few quick bits of (mostly related) news…

Strangers to Superfans Paperback Is Out

Strangers to Superfans is finally available in paperback. If you have read any of my author books, I think this is the best one by far. It’s the only title that I know of which comprehensively looks at marketing from the perspective of the most important person in publishing: the reader.

It introduces a new marketing paradigm called The Reader Journey and I think it will change how you think about marketing. It’s far from conceptually focused though – packed full of actionable steps you can immediately take, as well as a detailed case study with some astonishing results.

It’s also the first title I’ve published fresh via KDP Print, and the process was super easy. I think most people (bar Australians, perhaps) will be happy with this change once it’s behind us and everything is transferred. It’s certainly very handy getting all your sales reports in one place – and they even get pulled by BookReport.

Like all of my print titles, Superfans is enrolled in the Matchbook program, meaning purchasers of the paperback in the US will get the ebook for free. So if you have been holding off for any reason, now is the perfect time to get a twofer.

Extending Matchbook & Pushing Print

It’s a pity that Matchbook isn’t available in all territories, I’d love to make it available to readers everywhere. In fact, I wish Amazon would go much further with it and merge it with Whispersync too. I’d like to see those purchasing the ebook get offered print and/or audio at a discount, and every combination thereof – and I’d be fine with some of that discount coming out of my end.

Ebook sales spikes nicely spillover into audio because of Whispersync, and I’d love to see them driving print sales too. Hopefully that kind of thing will get easier now everything will be under one roof.

While I’m wishing for ponies, I’d love to see Amazon get creative about pushing print sales, perhaps things like recommending people buy paperback versions of their favorite ebooks, or gift them to friends, especially around the holidays. Those are pretty basic ideas though. Do you guys have any better suggestions how Amazon could push KDP Print books? The very bottom of this article might get some brains whirring…

Let’s Get Digital On Sale

The 2018 edition of Let’s Get Digital is on sale and you can grab it for the reduced price of $2.99, saving you a couple of bucks. This wasn’t a sale I had planned – Amazon is price-matching Kobo’s launch sale at Walmart – but I thought I’d let you know in case you were considering a purchase. Be warned though, I’m hoping to release another book for authors towards the end of September and might well run a 99¢ sale on Digital then. But if you can’t or won’t wait for that, get yer retailer links here.

Newsletter Ninja

The lucky ducks on my weekly marketing newsletter already heard me rhapsodizing about Newsletter Ninja last Friday, at length, so I’ll keep it brief here: if you want to get better at email, arrest falling open and click rates, generate true engagement with your readers, turn more purchasers into raving fans, build a community with your readers, and create a truly sustainable future for yourself as an author by having thousands of people pouncing on each new release announcement, then buy Newsletter Ninja.

I also wrote the forward to this book, where you can read the huge effect applying these methods had to my own career.

Disclosure: Tammi edited Digital 3 and Superfans, but I asked Tammi to edit those books because she knows her sh*t inside out and is a literal ninja.

CreateSpace Is Dead, Long Love KDP Print

CreateSpace is closing, it’s official. As I said up top, and in my post two weeks ago, it’s probably wise to get ahead of the big migration in a few weeks. Amazon has 2m titles to move; stuff is bound to go wrong. And my own experience with KDP Print customer service indicates that you might not want to get stuck in that queue with everyone else.

To encourage you to move now, Amazon has further streamlined the process and you can now port your entire catalog in one go right here. There’s also a pop-up which will initiate the process for you when you log into CreateSpace, but reports this morning suggest both are getting slammed right now. Don’t panic if you can’t get in today – you have a few weeks.

I recommend checking all your titles afterwards – the covers, blurbs, metadata, interior files – so that wasn’t wasted work if you jumped early. Stuff can go wrong in the transfer process, as I found myself. It’s important to double check everything (especially given reports of wonkiness in the new migration process this morning).

Pay particular attention to blurbs and metadata — those get pulled from your ebook edition and might need updating. On the plus side, you know have more categories and keywords for your paperbacks.

I’m sure you have lots of questions about the closing of CreateSpace. Amazon has posted a fair bit of information on the KDP help pages and the related FAQ which you can read. I’ll just highlight some things:

  • No official date has been announced but Amazon said the automatic transfer process from CreateSpace is happening “in a few weeks.” If you choose to do nothing, your titles will be automatically ported across at that point.
  • All historical sales data will disappear from CreateSpace at that point. Amazon’s FAQ claims it will be incorporated into your KDP Dashboard, but I transferred a few weeks ago and haven’t seen this. Perhaps it’s coming, but backup your data just in case.
  • You don’t need to do anything with ISBNs. If you were using a free CreateSpace one, that doesn’t need to change (and CreateSpace will continue to be listed as your publisher).
  • Books will stay live during the transfer process.
  • Yes, KDP Print now has matte covers, expanded distribution, author copies, and distribution to Canada, Mexico, and Australia, and pretty much everything else you got at CreateSpace. Except for…
  • No, the Australian issues regarding author copies etc. have not been resolved. I think Aussie authors need to put their heads together and collectively tackle Amazon on this.
  • Payment schedules are NOT the same. In short, KDP is a month slower in paying so you’ll have a gap month. Stock up on ramen.
  • Royalties are pretty much the same (some minor printing cost differences regarding shorter books printed in Europe), and you can price individually in most territories.
  • These are the key differences between CreateSpace and KDP Print as per Amazon.
  • Most interesting nugget there: you can run AMS ads for print books. Interesting, especially given that you can target print books exclusively with Product Display ads.

That’s it! I’m off on vacation tomorrow for a week. I’ll probably offline the whole time while I finish a book for September release. More on that soon…

UPDATE: Amazon seems to have been caught on the hop – there are widespread reports that people are having difficulty transferring their books, to the extent that CreateSpace is apparently now restricting access to the migration tool in batches. If you haven’t received the email yet, you probably shouldn’t even bother trying. If you have received the email and still can’t transfer (many are in this boat, judging by reports), then perhaps wait a couple of days for traffic to die down. And for those opting to wait until the mass migration of all remaining titles, perhaps this is an indication of what chaos awaits in a few weeks. I’d take this as further evidence that you should move before you are pushed… once you can. Sorry I didn’t update this post sooner, I’m on vacation and approaching sloth-levels of sleep patterns.

45 Replies to “CreateSpace Closing – It’s Official”

  1. Thanks to your (and other’s) nudge, I transferred my titles last week. Of the 27, five had issues. Two of those resolved easily when I simply re-uploaded the interior or cover. Two required new covers. And one is still giving me fits — with a request to the help desk that agrees there is “no issue” but it’s still flagged, and supposed to be resolved by later today. With the “slam” you mentioned, I suspect nothing will happen for a while. So I’m glad the book stays live during the whole transition. FWIW, the CS on-demand digital (I have an audio CD with them) also is moving to Amazon Media (by Sept 15, so I’m told).

      1. Nope, signed in to verify, clicked ‘link my books’ and it did, ‘move books’ doesn’t do anything, no ability to make that button work?

        1. I’ve found the same problem. I was able to verify my CreateSpace account but when I clicked ‘link my books’ only 3 of the 4 appear. Also ‘move books’ doesn’t do anything either.

    1. I didn’t have a pop-up in my Chrome browser, even with the Ad-Block disabled. I opened Firefox and had the link and instructions. Followed the instructions and did the dirty deed for my four titles. Awaiting to see what issues may follow with the transfer. Thanks so much David for the heads up and advice!

    2. It’s not working for me, either. I login to CS from the Transfer page and there is nowhere that I can see to verify my account – I just end up staring at my regular old CS dashboard. Plus the account does not show up as verified on the Transfer page. I’ve used multiple browsers and allowed pop-ups – no dice. Verifying my KDP account, by contrast, was a piece of cake – worked perfectly first time. I’ve asked for help from both the KDP and the CS ends – we’ll see who helps first!

  2. Well, I’m going to miss speaking to a Help person on the phone, usually in Costa Rica. Besides the solid advice, I typically ended up joking with them in Spanish, which they weren’t officially allowed to speak. But it was a real person on that phone. Oh well, things change.

    Happy Vaca, David.

  3. Did it last night (Monday) and it went off fine.

    The only problem is that it didn’t link some of the ebooks with the CS print version. It provided buttons to do that manually, but it wouldn’t show the other title in the box. I waited five minutes, tried again, and the link showed up.

    My suggestion: once it’s all ported over, wait an hour or so before trying to manually do stuff. Give the system time.

    Today’s task: Go back to Amazon and manually check to make sure all 19 of our books are available as they should be.

  4. Official! What do you mean by official? I searched the web and couldn’t find anything from Amazon on this. Where did you find Amazon saying they were closing CreateSpace?

    1. Try clicking the very first link in the post, the one in the first line, right after the opening words, “It’s official.”

  5. Migration is a nightmare at the moment. I’ve got two professionally designed image-heavy PDF’s being rejected repeatedly. One even received some extra help from Create Design team. If a fully CS-spec approved PDF won’t load into KDP Print, then what will?

    Exasperated and a wasted day. Likely the first of many. SIGH.

    1. Sounds like they are getting so slammed that they are getting lots of glitches, and starting to restrict access to the migration tool. You have a few weeks before you need to move, so maybe try again in a day or two.

  6. Thanks for this. Would you happen to know whether we’ll be able to purchase author copies at cost, like we can through CreateSpace?

    1. Yep, that process is better now. You order from your KDP dash, and they pop right into your Amazon cart (in the Amazon store of your choosing – great for us “international” types).

      In theory at least. It’s a bit borked right now.

      And not if you are Australian, I guess, who seem to have been hung out to dry on that front…

  7. A blog reader has told me that CS support told them that they are now rolling out access to the migration tool in stages – whether that’s a response to overwhelming levels of traffic or not, I don’t know.

  8. I attempted to migrate my books, but was immediately thwarted when, after verifying my account, the pop up on Createspace advising me about managing the transfer did not appear. I contacted support and was told that the function on the member dashboard is being enabled in stages rather than all at once. Not everyone can move their books at the moment. Other useful info from support: “In a few weeks, we’ll start automatically moving your CreateSpace books to KDP. Your books will remain available for sale throughout the move and you’ll continue to earn royalties. Once we begin this process, you’ll be unable to edit existing titles or create new titles on CreateSpace. If you have a release planned soon or you would like to start the move yourself, you can move your CreateSpace books and account information to KDP in just a few steps.” Good luck, folks.

  9. So David, from what I’m understanding, if I do nothing Createspace will automatically move my 2 books to KDP without any sales interruption. Is that correct? I created a KDP account and tried to do the 3 step transfer but the final step wouldn’t allow me to trigger it.

    1. It seems they are restricting access to the migration tool in batches now as they are getting slammed. I’d recommend waiting until you get the email and then trying – better to move now than when they have to move all remaining titles en masse. That’s bound to be chaos.

  10. David,

    This seems to be a phased changeover. I cannot use the switchover link. Like another commenter, Createspace will not verify my account and no pop-up appears when I log in. Further down the article, it says this. “To ensure a quality experience, we’ll enable the ability to move your CreateSpace books to KDP in phases, so authors may see it at different times.” I wonder if we need to wait for an email from Amazon? Did you receive such an email? You may want to update your article to reflect that not everyone will be able to use the link now.

    1. That’s a new development – I guess they brought in batched access when they were surprised by the level of traffic (why they were surprise I don’t know…)

      Anyway – updated now. Sorry I couldn’t do it sooner – on vacation!

  11. No pop up on CS to begin the process and when I jumped over to the link to verify it lets me sign in to CS and then nothing. I could link my books, but the step 3 ‘move books’ is not an active button so the process is dead. Typical Amazon BS

    1. Hi, I just had the same experience. Haven’t had an email yet. Maybe they’ve decided to just move everyone in bulk and not give an option to get ahead of the game.

  12. Hi all, I am a freelance publisher in New Zealand and I’ve been watching all this with great interest – and horror – and dismay – and wonder! And I was wondering overnight: can CreateSpace LEGALLY transfer other people’s books/files, without their permission, to another company? Because that is, in effect, what they are doing, I believe. It’s like CS transferring all their files to IngramSpark without so much as a by-your-leave! CreateSpace and KDP are two totally separate companies – or that’s what they tell you if you email asking why something isn’t right with your print book or ebook, respectively – they tell you to contact the other as they have nothing to do with each other. So how are they able to do this without even a personal email to each customer? I have a KDP account and a CS account but I have received nothing from either of them about this change. If it hadn’t been for David’s post, I would know nothing.

  13. I must be missing something. If you do nothing, Amazon will do it for you, and in the meantime, everything is working fine. Tell me again why I should take on all of this anguish when I can just sit here and write
    instead.

  14. I understand if they want to do it in shifts but Amazon wish they would send me the official email already. Especially since I just received my CS proof. I keep trying to approve it and make it a real book so they can just transfer but I can’t get to that step. Even though my createspace looks exactly the same as always with no Announcement link, transfer button, or anything like that. My KDP is also link free, and their announcement tells me to go to cretespace. I gave up and just created a whole new book with a different isbn in kdp, but I’m wondering if I am supposed to do that with the others. Will I have to dig out all my old cover files and re upload them? I feel like I’m stumbling in the dark without any announcement or response to my help question about transferring.

  15. This is so frustrating. I am apparently not in the early batch so I’m patiently waiting for word that I can transfer my books.

    I would do it manually except I no longer have an option in KDP asking if the book was previously published on Createspace (it was previously at the bottom of the screen, but now the last option I have is whether the book contains adult content). So once I get to the next screen my only choice is to enter my ISBN or have Amazon assign me one. I can only assume I’d enter the CS ISBN since I’m not creating a new edition, but I don’t know if that’d link it and unpub the CS version automatically anymore since there isn’t a trigger built in for it.

  16. Here’s what I did with my books.

    One of the titles is so out of date in regard to the subject matter that I have decided to unpublish it permanently.

    The other, I want to revise before it goes any further, because it is part of a series and there is backstory that needs to be addressed, so I contacted Create Space about this and they were very helpful. I ordered author’s copies of this and when they arrive, I will unpublish that title, also, because the revisions will change it enough to make that necessary.

    Meantime, I’m moving on and watching what happens. I still have one title on Kindle only, not in print, but it was meant to be a collection of short stories, and that also needs revision. I can take care of that later on, however, because it is not urgent. When I have revised it, I may send it to Kindle Direct Print.

    I think it’s a shame that Create Space is going away, but when I got the notice by e-mail, I made the decisions above. You’ve been helpful in this, too. I appreciate your keeping on top of this stuff.

  17. Update for Euro authors:

    Author copies are not quite as straightforward as billed. All author copies are actually printed up and sent from Germany, meaning huge delays on fulfillment and shipping (they say it’s five extra days but my experience is about 2 weeks extra). I have no paperbacks for a con this weekend which is incredibly disappointing.

    Order whatever you need early…

  18. Thank you so much for this post, David. I have to warn a couple of people who are not aware of this change. I’ll read the detail of your post tonight as we’re taking a short trip leaving soon. Thank you again.

  19. Slight change to the above: European author copies are actually printed in POLAND and then sent to Germany, from where they are distributed to all parts European, despite Amazon having printing plants in Portugal and the UK etc. This obviously adds huge delays. Amazon claims an extra five days but in my experience it took 4 weeks for the author copies to arrive.

    Quality wasn’t quite as good as Createspace’s North American plant either. Cover images are a touch smudgier – noticeable in things like back cover copy and author photos on the cover, matte finish not quite as top quality, cream paper is whiter and not as classy. On the plus side, the letter-ink looked a little thicker and bolder, and not all of that was down to the whiter background. And the bright colors on the Let’s Get Digital cover really, really pop. So not all bad, and hopefully they will improve over time.

    Shipping everything from Poland tho…

  20. Hi David,

    Just to let you know, I never did get any email from CS or KDP about my books moving. I waited…roughly two weeks (logging in every day, because, I am impatient! :)) then, lo and behold, one morning I logged in and saw the notice of the ability to move everything. Idk why I didn’t get an email but I hope it helps for others to know you might just need to keep checking into CS. Oh, and the paperbacks listings on my KDP dash just popped up tonight, five days after I got the shuffle “ok”. Sad to see CS closing down, eventually, though. 🙁 End of an era.

  21. Hi David,
    A friend told me about CS and I have been trying to post my book but having trouble with the template etc. I wrote an email and 2 days later still no reply – so I decided to check online re cs and found this – so that explains it.
    Could you suggest another self publisher I could use? I am in Canada so somewhere here would be best -also I am looking to print my book, not ebook or kindle.
    Thank you in advance.
    Dianne

  22. Now Nov 11. I have had a CS acct for one a nd a half years…was in midst of publishing second novel & did not want anything ‘daughter’s until I finished downloading all, seeing on Amazon & ordering print copies. All the same, still with CS, but interior print was inferuor, with smears & light spots! I Sent msg but did order more because I am insecure! If next order same, will be forced to find another company… Sad though….

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