It’s official: Amazon has closed CreateSpace and the website is dead. If that comes as news, I’m sure you have a lot of questions – so let’s get those answered right away before we take a look at what has replaced it, what features have changed, and what alternatives you might want to consider.
- Why has CreateSpace closed?
- What about your CreateSpace books?
- KDP Print vs. CreateSpace
- Ingram Spark – worth using also?
Why has CreateSpace closed?
Amazon launched a replacement service called KDP Print way back in 2016 and slowly began adding features and zapping bugs over the next couple of years. In 2018, Amazon began moving CreateSpace users over to the new platform and then closed off CreateSpace to new titles.
Overall, when you look at the new feature set for KDP Print, the migration to the new platform makes sense – despite CreateSpace’s enduring popularity among authors – at least from Amazon’s perspective. KDP Print is deeply embedded in the overall KDP Service, rather than being a (sometimes awkward) bolt-on like CreateSpace and the branding ties much more closely with all of Amazon’s other subsidiaries.
What gave Amazon the final push might have been some security issues with CreateSpace which started bringing negative media attention around money-laundering scams involving fake books and CreateSpace, at a time when Amazon was already getting a hammering in the press over various Kindle Unlimited scams.
What about your CreateSpace books?
Don’t panic, your books remain on sale at Amazon but have now been migrated at the back-end to Amazon’s new platform, KDP Print. If you want to access them yourself for any reason, you will need go to KDP.
After Amazon stopped accepting new titles for CreateSpace in 2018 it began the migration of existing titles to KDP Print. The process was voluntary at first but became compulsory as the year continued. By 2019, all titles had transitioned to KDP Print.
If you are wondering why you weren’t notified, Amazon did email all CreateSpace users about this change – several times, in fact, throughout 2018 and 2019 – but Amazon may have had old contact details for you.
My advice: check any CreateSpace editions you may have on Amazon. There were reports of metadata getting garbled during the migration process. Categories, keywords, descriptions, titles, and author names should all be double-checked. In more extreme cases, there were issues with covers and interiors as well.
All mine migrated just fine, except for a few minor metadata issues that were easy to fix, but you should check yours, if you haven’t already.
KDP Print vs. CreateSpace
KDP Print kept most of the old features from CreateSpace, streamlining a lot of processes and adding some new features as well. But some features were axed.
Overall, when you look at the new feature set for KDP Print, the migration to the new platform makes sense – despite CreateSpace’s enduring popularity among authors – at least from Amazon’s perspective. KDP Print is deeply embedded in the overall KDP Service, rather than being a (sometimes awkward) bolt-on like CreateSpace.
Let’s break it down.
The publishing process now takes place within KDP itself, and is fully integrated with your KDP dashboard. Amazon even copies across key elements like metadata to make paperback creation quicker and easier, and the process is mostly seamless.
Categories & Keywords
Your paperbacks will be much more discoverable now on Amazon as you can add up to ten categories specifically for your paperbacks, as well as seven keyword string, just like with your Kindle editions.
All new titles can avail of a free Amazon ISBN if they wish, or add their own if the prefer. If you previously availed of a free CreateSpace ISBN, then CreateSpace will continue to be listed as your publisher. All new titles using free ISBNs from KDP Print will be listed as “Independently Published.”
KDP Print has matte covers, and I can tell you from personal experience that they are very lovely indeed. Glossy are also available, if that’s how you roll.
The new system for author copies had a bumpy start. The process is completely different and caused confusion – orders are now fulfilled by the regular Amazon store but authors are charged cost price, as before.
For many, this has meant reduced shipping costs – especially international authors who had to pay shipping from the USA previously.
Australian authors, however, were dismayed to see they can’t order author copies at all.
Authors can still order proof copies, as before, but in a very unpopular change these come with an unsightly PROOF COPY emblazoned on the front cover, preventing authors from re-selling or re-using them in any way.
These are pretty much the same as before, with some minor printing cost variances with shorter books, depending on the customer’s location, being the only change to what authors get paid per sale.
Schedules are not the same; in short, KDP print pays a month slower than CreateSpace did, which aligns things with ebooks.
You can now run Amazon Ads for print books, and reporting improvements now mean you can more accurately measure the success of those ads too.
Amazon won’t say much about it but it seems the Expanded Distribution network has been greatly scaled back – especially internationally.
Which means authors who sell a lot of print, or want superior global reach for their paperbacks, will often use Ingram Spark instead, or in conjunction with KDP Print – essentially using KDP Print to serve Amazon itself, and Ingram Spark to reach every other retailer on the planet.
Ingram Spark is quite a bit harder to use, doesn’t pay as much as KDP Print, or as quickly, and listing your books their involves additional costs, but it has a number of key advantages which make all that more than bearable if you sell a decent amount of print or are just keen to maximize the reach of your paperback editions.
Plus the interface was revamped considerably in 2020 and is a huge improvement on the hellish process that existed before. I uploaded my entire catalog to Ingram Spark during 2020 and it was certainly worthwhile, and it’s just nice to know that readers can go into any bookstore on the planet and order one of my books.
And I’ll have a post on all that soon!