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September 26, 2007
Anyone Have An Opinion on Createspace?
Self-publishing and vanity publishing have been around for almost as long as the book has been with us. Back in the early enthusiastic days of the dot-com bubble there was a lot of talk about print on demand (PoD) being the next great thing. Inventory costs and the Reagan-era tax law changes on inventory depreciation more or less killed the backlist and midlist publishing business.
Amazon brought that back with its winning bet on the long tail but still PoD eludes us. If you want to buy a book, it needs to be there because someone printed it in anticipation that you'd buy it (or download it). Or does it?
Createspace looks like it's out to change that by making book, DVD, CD and video publication on demand possible, and maybe even cheap and convenient enough to appeal. As an Amazon company they're hooked into a big marketing and search machine - if I want to write about intellectual property issues and have people on Amazon find my book when they search, this may be the way. (No I'm not writing a book, I promise.)
In addition, Createspace is prominently featuring a "you keep the rights" slogan on its front page. Of course the devil is in the details, but from my fast skim it appears you keep the essential rights and the company gets rights to reproduce your work because they need to do that after they receive a customer order.
I'm always concerned about what the experience is of the person using a service and it appears that from the customer's point of view, Createspace will be invisible. Just like ordering from any other Amazon merchant, I place an order, pay (including Amazon's commission), and stuff gets downloaded or shipped to me. Could be a nice win, even if it's not earth-shaking.
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