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« Beautiful Repurposing | Main | A Couple of PoD followups - Expensive! »

September 26, 2007

Anyone Have An Opinion on Createspace?

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

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.

Comments (80) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. Crosbie Fitch on September 26, 2007 3:37 PM writes...

I think it's bloody marvellous!

However, I hope they haven't forgotten copyleft and copyright-unprotected works.

At first glance it appears they assume that books (or other works) will be submitted by their copyright holders (typically authors), i.e. they rely upon the existence of only one party who may submit a particular work.

I'm wondering what they'll do when umpteen maverick chancers start submitting copyleft and copyright expired works.

This isn't intrinsically a problem or even unethical (no matter what royalties are obtained), it just means there may be a thousand different editions of the same work.

They could have a "Copyleft works printed strictly at minimum cost - royalty free" option. This would mean that works that could potentially be printed by anyone can be requested to be added to CreateSpace's 'Royalty free libary' so they can be given an ISBN (if one doesn't already exist), and presumably an internal team will produce a bog standard format. Naturally, they may accept enhanced formats produced by voluntary/collaborative efforts.

What about all the FDL manuals waiting to be printed? Will they still refuse submissions from anyone apart from the copyright holder - even though FDL permits printing by anyone?

Permalink to Comment

2. walt crawford on September 26, 2007 7:55 PM writes...

What's new about CreateSpace is the free ISBN and direct link to Amazon with no up-front costs. Otherwise, what they offer (at least for books) is a subset of what Lulu.com has been doing for some time, with slightly higher fees and a considerably less user-friendly process.

I'm using both. Both have their points. And since neither requires an exclusive agreement, using both doesn't appear to be an issue. But as far as making PoD possible, affordable, and convenient: Lulu.com has been doing that for a while now.

Permalink to Comment

3. Anonymous on September 27, 2007 8:12 AM writes...

Crosbie: I'm not so sure uncopyrighted works are such a problem. Today in the bookstore I can find three or four publications of Homer's Odyssey and nothing stops there being a fifth one tomorrow.

I agree it's be nice if they would work with Creative Commons to make things more flexible but really all they need is a grant of reproduction right - the rest is up to the author(s).

Walt: I wasn't aware of lulu.com - I'll check it out.

Permalink to Comment

4. Crosbie Fitch on September 27, 2007 11:24 AM writes...

Anon, the problem is that in the bookstore for each publication someone has invested in setup costs, whereas with CreateSpace, they appear to remove that disincentive.

I suspect they'll have to institute at least a token setup fee.

Permalink to Comment

5. drwex on September 28, 2007 9:45 AM writes...

Sorry, anonymous up there was me. Problems of being in a hurry.

My sense is that CreateSpace give you the option of a direct placement within Amazon or a separate store link. The costs for that are probably already sunk by them and are recovered as part of the per-item charges they make against publishers.

Permalink to Comment

6. Mary Kay Aufrance on October 23, 2007 3:05 PM writes...

My experience was very good. CreateSpace has made an audio CD of our Celtic music CD Ramblin' Irishman and our store is at http://www.createspace.com/1700186

Permalink to Comment

7. Jim Smith on March 22, 2008 4:55 PM writes...

For CD and DVD self-publishing http://kunaki.com is higher quality, faster speed and much lower priced. Kunaki is good.

Permalink to Comment

8. Al Olmstead on April 8, 2008 5:22 AM writes...

I am filing a fraud action against Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com executives in the 118th District Court of Texas (Howard County). Even after you PAY them to sell your work, they never pay any sales commissions AT ALL. Why? Gee whiz. Guess who forgot to include a payment method (bank routing number) on their website? Look at their balance sheets. They never intended to pay anything to anyone. That's why you can't get an answer, even from their attorneys. They got caught.

Permalink to Comment

9. austen on June 25, 2008 10:30 AM writes...

My experience with createspace has been disasterous.

They’re integration with Amazon is completely broken…..selecting sell on Amazon may get you listed on amazon or it may not. You might come back after selecting “Sell on amazon: YES” to see “Sell on Amazon: NO” You might change it several times back to “YES” only to see it switch back as if you changed it (even though you didn’t).

What else. The site is running so slow today I can’t use it.

For Amazon Search Inside? Please. Everyone in the community that I’ve talked to who has tried search inside for createspace books have resulted in failure. Search Inside doesn’t work…months after you submit it still will not be enabled.

Don’t do createspace unless you want to have a horrible experience with a bunch of backwards people who will not answer your questions properly.

You’ll just get a bunch of automatic replies “Post take 15 days to post on Amazon” etc. DO NOT USE CREATESPACE.

Permalink to Comment

10. David on July 11, 2008 12:11 PM writes...

austen, your spelling is "disasterous".

I have found the absolute opposite to be true in my experience with CreateSpace. For example: I published my first CD, jumped through the usual routine such as sending the materials, awaiting the proof, etc., and although it says that it MAY TAKE 15 days for it to appear on Amazon.com, my title was there after 3 days, two of them being weekend days.

My 2nd and 3rd titles are currently in the works and I expect the same output for these.

Are you sure you were using the system correctly?

Permalink to Comment

11. Summer on July 26, 2008 12:16 PM writes...

I have used CreateSpace to publish a book, and the process has been disappointing: Some unexpected print limitations along the way. Delayed order processing. Poor communication. Questionable billing procedures. Very slow website. Frustrating customer support (multiple emails always required to solve problems). Changing fee structures. Completely different than Amazon experience.

The one good thing is that the print quality seems to be good for the price.

Probably will not use for future book publishing unless they clean up their act!

Permalink to Comment

12. Frogman Noel on August 7, 2008 8:10 PM writes...

I have been with an in-demand publisher for 6 years, then put some books on lulu.com.

CreateSpace is a bit more demanding concerning format that Lulu...BUT DEFINITELY worth the extra effort. My most recent book showed up Amazon within 5 days.

I recommend it very highly. If you are not patient and willing to take more time to get it right...this may not be the place of you....

Permalink to Comment

13. MDahlberg on September 2, 2008 7:14 AM writes...

Their business concept is downright brilliant.
Unfortunately their web designers are not quite that good. There is a perpetual conflict between the instructions given by customer service (for example to click on the "submit" button) and the design of the website (that has no "submit" button after the content has been updated), resulting in weeks of delay and ever more communication between the author and customer service.
Once they fix that (and they are looking for web designers as we speak) it is the ideal partner for publishers and/or authors.

Permalink to Comment

14. MDahlberg on September 2, 2008 7:14 AM writes...

Their business concept is downright brilliant.
Unfortunately their web designers are not quite that good. There is a perpetual conflict between the instructions given by customer service (for example to click on the "submit" button) and the design of the website (that has no "submit" button after the content has been updated), resulting in weeks of delay and ever more communication between the author and customer service.
Once they fix that (and they are looking for web designers as we speak) it is the ideal partner for publishers and/or authors.

Permalink to Comment

15. Jeff on September 10, 2008 10:46 AM writes...

I really liked the creation process for my book through CreateSpace, understanding that all they really do is print what I send them. It took 3 proofs to get it right, but that was my fault, knowing they only print what I send them.

Customer service, on the other hand, is horrible. I ordered 20 copies of my book 10 days ago and have not gotten any information since then. I don't know if they have fallen in a black hole, if my request was ignored, or what. The title did appear on Amazon in short order -- a couple days -- and I already have one sale through Amazon, as well as one through my e-store. The "Member Dashboard" shows the proper royalties, though they have not paid anything yet. However, they do say they only pay in multiples of $20 and I have not hit that mark yet.

Permalink to Comment

16. nikki on November 19, 2008 3:25 PM writes...

Sent for my second proof at Createspace and my book came with someone else's inside my book cover too! I hope they have a better QA for the non-proof books. I would be very embarrassed if someone's "Poetry" book showed up with my Heath Study guide. Very annoyed, and there is no phone support so now I have to wait on them! Grrr. Plus, their website just went down. Frustrating!
https://www.createspace.com/3359550

Permalink to Comment

17. Fred on December 5, 2008 11:45 AM writes...

I'm having a absolutely terrible time with CreateSpace.
I'm trying to have a film put up for digital download only- no DVD. The tech support people are unable to grasp this concept on any level. They keep sending me DVD requirements, not download requirements. I'm on my 11th email thread with them. They keep sending along form letters.

I'm a day away from giving up on them.

Permalink to Comment

18. Jimmy Clay on December 30, 2008 9:31 PM writes...

My experience with CreateSpace.com has been excellent. I've published two books with them and have only paid for the proof copies. I do make sells on one of my book, not much but a few copies every month, and I do get a small monthly deposit into my bank account. The book that sells is actually a how to book on how to publish with CreateSpace. If you're interested you can find it on Amazon. It is called: "How to Self-Publish for Free with CreateSpace.Com: An Easy Get Started Guide." Good luck to everyone.

Permalink to Comment

19. Jimmy Clay on December 30, 2008 9:37 PM writes...

Sorry about the extra postings. I guess I clicked too many times. Bad habit.

Permalink to Comment

20. DrWex on December 31, 2008 1:01 PM writes...

Fixed. Partly it's an issue that the server is a little slow to respond to comment submissions.

It's interesting that this entry continues to get comments, more than a year after I wrote it. Thanks for adding your voice!

Permalink to Comment

21. Jeff Bach on January 23, 2009 6:25 PM writes...

I started using this PoD service when it was still Customflix. Once it got bought up by Amazon the cust srv stuff changed just like it always does. That is what happens when little grows into big.

Regardless of that though, I am now on my fifth title with Createspace. Reasonable prices, reasonable cs, and a reasonable workflow. For me, there's no other game in town, especially when you consider that part of their gig is an option to get your stuff listed in Amazon. No other site, including my own, has the reach and the traffic that Amazon does. Also love the lack of ten boxes sitting around my garage, the print on demand aspect has given me storage space back and the cash flow it improves is fabulous. I've never had a problem with ordering from their site. Never seen it slow. They have always paid me what I have earned via sales commission.

This is good stuff. Based on my five projects with them, I would be hard pressed to find anything even close.
Jeff Bach
Quietwater Films

Permalink to Comment

22. IPPY on February 5, 2009 11:02 PM writes...

CreateSpace still has not paid me for all sales I made for 2008. So much for net 30. Their report says they paid me as far back as 1/30 this year but the payment has not cleared my bank. If they continue to behave this way I am going to contact the BBB again about it. (I did in 2008, but no results). CreateSpace is a publisher of Amazon books, and I have had more sales of my books from LSI than I have with CS. LSI pays timely. BTW

Permalink to Comment

23. Eric on February 27, 2009 2:00 AM writes...

It's obvious that some people had good experiences, some had bad. Obviously the site is going to have bugs. It's also a fact that people don't know how to utilize new technologies efficiently.

Give it time, it'll catch on. Go CreateSpace and Lulu! Dominate the mainstream!

Permalink to Comment

24. Alberto on March 14, 2009 3:41 PM writes...

I've published both with Lulu and CreateSpace and both have provided excellent service. I've not experiened any problems as yet. I use them as publishers (for my work) and as printers when I publish other writers. I will write again if I experience any problems with CreateSpace.

Permalink to Comment

25. Philip Machanick on May 1, 2009 4:27 AM writes...

I've used CreateSpace for 2 books so far and would probably use them again mainly because they get you to Amazon reasonably fast, and I like POD (I don't like the waste of printing boxes of books ahead of demand).

Positives: Amazon search inside works for me, I can sell to markets way out of my personal reach, the cost to me of setup is very low (I know how to work to a spec, which helps).

Negatives: very slow web site, very expensive international shipping makes proof checking costly, no option of mixing colour and B+W in one book.

I updated a book that had a few typos, and it was back on Amazon within 2 hours of setting it as OK to sell on 21 April on CreateSpace (possibly less; I checked back after 2 hours). 10 days later, search inside still showed the typos so that is obviously still slow. (Go to http://www.amazon.com/No-Tomorrow-Philip-Machanick/dp/0980451019/ and search for Danes in the book to see if they fixed that yet: there are no Danes in the story, only Swedes.)

I will probably use them again despite the imperfections. This is a no-frills service and works for what it does; don't expect hand-holding or help with marketing, design, etc.

Permalink to Comment

26. CD Noordhoek on June 12, 2009 1:51 PM writes...

I have used Lulu and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, they have the worst customer service in the world, That is if you can ever get that far, I have tried to contact them since Friday June 5th about a bad print job ( they put the pages together before ink dried, bleed over onto next page throughout the whole book ) and their Help e-mail address has been down, I have even sent them letters via snail mail and no response, before using Lulu please read comments in community under Forums category Support Escalation. I don't plan to ever go back and I still have many things pending with them but I am ready to cut my losses and move on, there not worth it.

Permalink to Comment

27. C.N. King on June 21, 2009 12:30 AM writes...

So far, my experience with CreateSpace has been relatively simple. I think the reason you guys who are saying that you didn't have a positive outcome with your titles is because you didn't advertise. Yeah, the book is on Amazon, but it's your responsibility to let people know it's there to sell. And I don't mean that harshly, please don't think that. I'm just thinking out loud.

I posted the link to my book. It'll be ready to sell soon. Check it out sometime!

Permalink to Comment

28. Sara Summer on July 28, 2009 2:34 AM writes...

I am deciding whether to go with either Createspace or Lulu.

From another web/forum where someone wrote: "Keep in mind that the ISBNs are not "true" ISBNs. They are not listed in Books in Print. As it was explained to me by a sales rep for Createspace, the company simply bought huge bulk ISBN numbers and recycles them. So if someone deactivates a product, that ISBN will be reassigned to a different project."

Recycled? Not for Books in Print? I am confused now. So does this mean it's a bad idea? Anyone have any idea, please clarify. Thanks!

Permalink to Comment

29. RCMoore on August 19, 2009 3:32 PM writes...

This has all been very interesting. In 2001 I used Iuniverse to POD my first novel ($99). Initially their customer service was C+, but over the years they've successfully upgraded their payment systems so sales records (usually 3 months back) are downloadable. Since then I've had the mixed fortune of having a small indie 'traditional' publisher publish another novel... misprints, awful promotion... nice folks but in over their heads. I'm back to considerign POD again, and obviously the industry has mushroomed since then. This debate on Createspace has been especially intriguing as they'd caught my eye... thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion.

Permalink to Comment

30. IndieMusician on September 12, 2009 9:36 AM writes...

Am I the only one who's noticed the exorbitant sign-up fees? The average CD sells for $10 (or less these days). They take $4.95 up front for each CD. Amazon takes 45% of the total $10, at $4.50 (which in effect becomes 90% of the remaining $5 after the initial $4.95). So, let's say an indie artist actually sells a CD for $10 on Amazon. How much does the artist get? $0.50! Ouch!

Permalink to Comment

31. David L. on October 24, 2009 10:17 AM writes...

I have Just come the create space website and had to study the Sales section on who gets what.
At this very moment Its quite a good deal.

If a CD was sold at $10,you would get $4.45
Ive only just joined so perhaps its better now.
Considering they print ,barcode, market and
sell on your behalf is quite a good deal.
For me at least now,gone are the times when you had to do all those things individually ,Like print, duplicate, market and sell CDs through not so public channels and also pay individually for those different services or( lucky enough to be signed up)Sod's law methinks.
Ideally I would like the fixed cost to be lower,
who knows maybe they will ,if the so call credit crunch thing really has had any effect on this area of industry.
Yes folks it is a better deal! from the comfort of your home ,always up to date and easy to edit,upload,and have full control of your product.
Forgive me If Ive overlooked over any thing ,I will have to get into the nitty gritty of Create Space,and write back.
Haven't looked on the book writing side of things,but hope it gets better for you author chaps out there.
Cheers

Permalink to Comment

32. Sasha on October 27, 2009 9:40 AM writes...

createspace is the worst PRINTER I have ever come across. There workmanship is way below the worst quality printing and its a waste of time and money. My advise is save yourself the time money and heartbreak. I wouldnot buy a book orinted by them now that I have seen their bad ethics and horrific printing job.

Permalink to Comment

33. Mel on November 30, 2009 10:30 PM writes...

Did anyone have any problems entering their tax id number via Create Space? That makes me nervous...

Permalink to Comment

34. Jabberwocky on December 31, 2009 12:02 PM writes...

To those who have published with CreateSpace:
I was wondering about Createspace's royalties system, and after going to the website is seems pretty bad in terms of return to the author. How successful has the profit been on your books published through CreateSpace?

Permalink to Comment

35. Ingrid on January 2, 2010 9:39 PM writes...

I love CreateSpace. It has been a wonderful experience for me. It helped me accomplish a lifelong goal; to be a published author. My books are selling better than I expected. My only complaint is that you can only download 100mb. My work needs more space, but other than that, no complaints. I have shared it with my BFF and she is now publishing. We are very happy with the results.

Permalink to Comment

36. Christy on January 5, 2010 9:40 PM writes...

Help! I have done so much research on POD's that I am both confused and nervous about publishing my books through a POD. Everyone has had good and bad opinions of all the companies. some say that sales aren't as good either. EEK! Should I do this or not?

Permalink to Comment

37. Bruce R. Gilson on January 13, 2010 10:50 AM writes...

I've published three books via CreateSpace, and just about nothing of the negative comments I've seen here apply. Books show up on Amazon quickly, the printing looks good, and in general the only problem I ever had was that in the beginning, royalty payments were slow.

They recently instituted "expanded distribution" which means you can get your books sold on other sites than Amazon and CreateSpace itself. This may be good or bad, because the royalty on those sales is smaller, and I've seen some of them undercut the list price I've set on Amazon. But it's too new a feature to judge whetherit's good or bad.

All in all, I'm happy with CreateSpace.

Permalink to Comment

38. Bruce R. Gilson on January 13, 2010 10:58 AM writes...

Sorry for that triple post. Some problems here with submitting it.

Permalink to Comment

39. DrWex on January 14, 2010 10:33 AM writes...

Sorry for the site problems - the comments database can be very slow some times, which leads to timeouts and various redundancy problems. I've cleaned it up.

I'm astonished that this entry continues to get attention and feedback. I think it's great you all are trying out print on demand technology and that Createspace has survived so far.

Permalink to Comment

40. Pen&Sword on January 20, 2010 1:43 PM writes...

CreateSpace smells very fishy! I went to CreateSpace right away and I loved the ease of use at first and was excited to have my book available on Amazon.com. BUT now I have learned ugly truths about CreateSpace practices which are unethical if not illegal. First off, on my Amazon page they suddenly listed three sellers offering my book as "new", who have never purchased a book from me ever, all trying to compete with my full royalty agreement with CreateSpace. One of them was offering my book for LESS than my listed price!
Finally, after twisting the arm of a manager at CreateSpace, she admitted that they have SECRET agreements with third party sellers who can obtain copies of my book at SECRET wholesale prices so that they can muscle in right on my Amazon page and compete with me and rob me of my royalties! The difference is $1 as opposed to the regular almost $5! This is something that was NOT in writing and transparent in the beginning when I signed on with them.
Then (get this!), my wife in one purchase bought three copies of my book from Amazon.com seven days ago, and there is NO report of the sale! After twisting the arm of that same manager, she admitted that Amazon could have my book printed by ANOTHER company with questionable quality results and they don't have to report the sale for up to EIGHT WEEKS (if at all, in my opinion)!
All this puts a very bad taste in my mouth and I might have to pull my book from Amazon and CreateSpace altogether and go somewhere else. It is sad, because I would have promoted my book with enthusiasm and CreateSpace would have made more money, but now it looks like they may be losing me altogether.
And it's not even a question of reading the fine print. In this case, there was no fine print about these things, they just did whatever they wanted. Basically it is all designed do NOT pay me full royalties, and perhaps to a larger extant, pay NO royalties at all in some cases.
My title is still with them, but it's a very depressing situation. They are infringing upon my copyright by letting other dealers, to whom I have given no permission, sell my own book to compete with me the writer!

Permalink to Comment

41. LOlita on February 28, 2010 3:23 AM writes...

WOW, I'm in a quandry. I don't know what to try in a POD. I've read good and I've read really bad. SOmeone, Ippy, Feb 5, mentioned having success with a LSI over CS (creating Space) Can someone, Ippy, tell me what LSI is? I've just finished a manuscript I want to try to POD since I surely cannot even begin to afford to publish the book on my own. Dorrance offered to review it on my email,saying they found the work reg with Library of Congress, but they want like $5 or $6K to begin, with payments. SInce their form obvious computer-generated letter indicated they referred to my workd as "untitled" when it had a title and they would copyright it for me, I can conclude they didin't even bother to read it, but just wants my money to publish or should I say print it. I feel good about a first work and would love to put it out to the world. And yes, someone said they were having prob with CS selling their book to other market that was also sellling their book and robbing them of their royalties. Yeah, so how do you know how many books CS or Amazon sells? Do you really have a way to KNOW and that you are not being cheated?

Permalink to Comment

42. Lorne on February 28, 2010 5:44 AM writes...

Does anyone here even know who the people are at createspace? Every time I send them a comment I get a reply with a different female first name (never any last name).

This makes me suspect that I'm actually dealing with one guy in a home office. Everything is automated anyway, and the files to be printed just get sent to some big xerox-manufactured machine in South Carolina. For all I know they could have a random girls-name generator that signs all correspondence.

I was pleased with the way my print copy turned out, but I have had feedback from folks who have been frustrated trying to buy a copy through their e-store. There still seems to be a lot of bad coding on their site.

My book is at https://www.createspace.com/3426671 but still hasn't shown up on Amazon. I'd actually rather not sell it through amazon.com because createspace not only takes a flat fee of 4.69 for every copy sold, they also take a further 20%. If it sells through amazon.com, they take another 20%. And if you sign up for their "expanded distribution" channels, they take another 20% as well. They don't tell you ANY of that before you sign on.

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43. bonobo on March 7, 2010 9:06 AM writes...

Can anyone from UK.share their experience with us.So far our expereience has been pretty much hitting our heads against a brick wall .How do you get to a manager to discuss the issues?

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44. Gabby on March 16, 2010 10:22 AM writes...

How do you find out if your book is being sold on other websites?

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45. Fluffy on March 30, 2010 9:07 PM writes...

Anyone too stupid to use the extremely simple CreateSpace functionality is too stupid to write a book.

Therefore, anyone here complaining about their inability to use CreateSpace effectively really shouldn't be foisting their brainless crap on the public anyway.

For example - if Pen & Sword is too stupid to understand how the Expanded Distribution Channel works, how good can his book possibly be?

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46. ashlyne on April 6, 2010 9:08 AM writes...

Hey Pen&Sword -- this info might be of some use to you. I'm currently going through CS to publish a book and have contacted them a few times with some questions that have popped up here. Some of the things I've done to help protect my work is purchase my own ISBN, got a PCN number (so that I can file for an LCCN), I'll be sending copies to the Library of Congress for official filing and I will also be registering a copyright once it's published.

Anyway, in setting up my account, under SALES CHANNEL MANAGEMENT, they have a variety of ways to sell your book. Under EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS, one of them is CreateSpaceDirect, which CS defines as this:

"By enabling this distribution outlet, you can make your books available to certified resellers such as independent bookstores and book resellers. The CreateSpace Direct program allows eligible resellers to buy books at wholesale prices directly from CreateSpace."

Sounds like what you've experienced. Looks like you have to have a ProPlan for this feature to be enabled and it also looks like you might be able to disable it, or at least initially. From the message I got at CS, you are supposed to get royalties but I'm going to contact them to see just how much I get. Perhaps, they discount their printing costs (since the buyer is ordering wholesale) and that's why they're able to sell them for cheap.

Hope this sheds a little light on the issue and is a bit more helpful than the last commment! Best of luck!

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47. Steven W. Johnson on May 24, 2010 8:10 PM writes...

Two things. I have published 4 books through CS and, because I do all the prepress (editing, typesetting, cover designing, etc.) before it ever gets to CS I am having fewer problems than those who think a word processor is adequate where they should be using a desktop publisher.

Now, though, I have a problem with CS and I don't know how to solve it. I have written a book on the basics of what it takes to actually do the prepress and do it right. However, because I cannot get access to their legal department to get authorization to use screen shots of the CS website and permission to use the CS name inside the text, the book is in limbo.

To me it seems stupid on CS' part to stop publication of a book that will promote their service exclusively and yet, there is no way to contact their legal department via the internet.

Go figure.

Steve

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48. Horrified on June 15, 2010 10:57 AM writes...

I've had several books published by CreateSpace within the past couple of years.

If a person wants a few inexpensive cookbooks printed for their friends... go for it.

If you want to acutally sell books: RUN! Run quickly. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE CREATESPACE. (Just my opinion, but I'll mention a few reasons why below.)

1. Customer "service" almost always misses the point of any inquiry on the first attempt(s). So, it might take 3+ tries to get an answer to a simple question.

2. Most if not all of the time estimates they give are BAD JOKES.

3. There seems to be little or no communication between CreateSpace and their parent company, Amazon. And neither, especially Amazon will treat you as a human being as much as they treat you like just another account number.

4. Price changes take what seems like forever to take effect... up to two or three months, not the six weeks that's estimated for their expanded distrib. channel. In the meantime, lower priced books are my competition and are probably outselling me because my old (higher) prices still appear.

5. Amazon's search system lists books that are hardly related at all to a given search, while my books don't appear anywhere in the first few pages of results. And, I'm too disgusted to even bother to ask why any more. It's just not worth it because I'll have to ask three times and probably still won't get a meaningful answer.

(Other than that, I guess they're fine???)

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49. Edward Santana-Grace on July 16, 2010 3:56 PM writes...

From all the comments, I am not sure if I should use create space. I already have a publication, ISBN numbers and all and have sold about 5,000 copies. Is CS a good way to get to Amazon or should I use another way. does anyone know the other way for cases like mine?

thanks Edward

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50. Mr. Marcus on August 15, 2010 12:55 PM writes...

I am a fairly new published author - I've written a lot, but this will be the first one I've gotten published. Too bad too, I was pretty good on the fiction side.

Anyway, I chose CreateSpace because the OnDemand publishing appeals to me. It lowers my upfront investment, which is a big selling point. If I gain traction as an author I'll go the pre-print way and just stock them somewhere and ship them from my print house, but for now it works.

I have to agree with how slow CreateSpace works. I also don't like how I can't make cover changes if I haven't approved the proof, even if I haven't yet ordered the proof. Can't even change the color which is all I wanted to do. If the proof isn't ordered what does it matter? Their shipping methods are horrid, too. It makes me wish they would use whatever avenue Amazon uses, because it makes no sense that 11 day shipping is $7 yet 3 day shipping is $30...on a 100-ish page paperback!! They don't offer USPS Priority Mail which would be around $6 for 2-3 day shipping. Also their royalty rates are a bit iffy.

Some have commented that they don't like being forced to buy proofs. I'm glad they do this because I actually reviewed the original source doc before creating a PDF, reviewed the PDF, and reviewed the Kindle version and was fine, but when the proof came - the physical product - as I read through it, the feeling was different. I found all sorts of changes that I wanted to make in places and even added some content that should have been included in the first place.

On a 10 scale right now I give CreateSpace a 6. They're not terrible, but for a startup author who's trying to get in the door I find them a solid option.

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51. felicia miller on August 28, 2010 12:34 PM writes...

i dont think it is right to make it so expensive to publish books,espcially for a 13 year old who's parnts dont make much money.make it at least 60 dollers or somthing

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52. deborah Elston on September 16, 2010 3:35 PM writes...

My book was published and is a best seller in South Africa, I am worried that there is no transparency. The publishing house I used New holland Struik were very upfront with regard contracts and royalties. I paid nothing upfront and was sent a statement every three months.

This looks like a farce.

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53. Hush Dimbulb on September 28, 2010 2:40 PM writes...

I agree with "Pen&Sword". I have 6 CD titles on Amazon, via Createspace and they have all been at the very top ranking of their searchable categories for months. These titles, "Hush Dimbulb", (political comedy CD) and 2 others are all over the place on dozens of sites on the web, via Amazon, and after nearly a year I have made just $5.75. Creatspace customer service is great BUT Amazon's customer service couldn't not be worse. They seem to be purposely hard to understand and they say, over and over again, "not trained to answer your question" and they can't wait to bounce you back to CS and CS doesn't not know a thing once your works go to Amazon. Am I getting all my due? Not even maybe. I need lawyer.

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54. clyde nassau on October 15, 2010 9:04 PM writes...

I have used CreateSpace to print my first novel.

I have found the people, if you can ever reach them, very helpful.

But, the CreateSpace software is unGodly difficult and opaque to a moderatly experience computer user.

I can seldom visit the CreateSpace website, trying to get my novel printed, without being totally confused and baffled by their hard-to- use, or even understand, programs.

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55. Elibeth on November 1, 2010 1:30 PM writes...

I just published a children's novel with CreateSpace. It has been a really good experience. I got immediate, very helpful answers to my questions both through the Community and Customer Service. I'm a woman in my 80's and I found the setup process very easy to work. Previously, I published with another POD company, but createspace is practically cost free. The book just went up on the online sites, so I don't have any experience of their payment policies yet, but so far, CS has been great.

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56. Jack on November 3, 2010 10:16 PM writes...

I am the publisher of my own book which I turned over to Lulu to print and distribute. The book has been very successful, so much so, that it is selling all over the planet. It is easy to search the internet and see where your book is selling by ratings on sites and buyer comments. Still, I have yet to receive a penny from Lulu for book sales throughout the world. My book has a very popular purchase rating on Amazon Canada; again not one penny from there. I do not trust Lulu and their practices. Also, my book is being sold by on-line sellers in their stores for substantially less than the price set initially with Lulu for it to sell at. In other words, these sellers are not buying the book through standard means, but are getting substantial discounts from "someone" to make it worth their while to sell at such discounted rates. I feel cheated, and worse yet, feel like my book has been taken away from me by those who have insider access to the files and the entire POD process. If you are lucky enough to have a successful book on Lulu, you too will get to experience how you will see little to nothing in compensation for your efforts.

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57. Joseph Richardson on November 6, 2010 10:41 AM writes...

I have had two books published through them and have nothing but good words for Createspace. My books are available from Amazon.com, BooksAmillion.com and Barnes&Noble.com. I had some problems with the first book, but all were due to my own lack of knowledge about formatting for pdf. It took several proofs before I got it right. The second book zipped through without a single problem. Shipping is fast--much faster than estimated. Quality is great.

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58. Bob McNesby on November 11, 2010 11:27 PM writes...

I was thinking of using Create Space until I read these comments. Thank you posters for saving me from a high blood pressure attack. Are there any legitimate online publishers? I haven't found one yet.

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59. Anny on November 12, 2010 9:39 PM writes...

I don't get this. So ... createspace helps publish your book and sell on Amazon? Only Amazon? Who edits the book? I contacted another company and they wanted 15 grand up front if the book was accepted. That seems high. I always thought if someone wrote a good book someone bought it from you, paid you a chunk of money as like a deposit and then you earned profits. I'm confused. I have a book ready to be published and am working on another. Someone please help I am lost.

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60. Richard Detrich on December 2, 2010 12:57 PM writes...

I have published three books with Create Space, all three came out last month (November 2010) I thought it was a good experience UNTIL . . .

Two of the books are on the Panama Canal YOUR DAY IN THE PANAMA CANAL and oriented specifically to folks taking a Panama Canal cruise. One of the major cruise lines wanted to order 2,000 copies as a test to sell on their ships during the Canal season. If it does well, as they and I think it will, this has the potential to be a yearly big order, and other cruise lines will probably follow suit. Being a major company naturally they need to have information on the vendor and issue a purchase order. Incredibly Create Space refused. They will only sell if people use a credit card on line and what major cruise company is going to do that?? So regardless of how relatively easy the process was of publishing and designing the book, what is the use of publishing it with a company that essentially turns down a test order of 2,000 copies? And potentially 10,000 copies a year in future years??

So it looks like I made a MAJOR MISTAKE with Create Space. They are not a serious publisher.

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61. bertie on December 8, 2010 6:19 PM writes...

had a little look at Create space - first impression - confusing, second impression - bit like sales literature for mobile phones.


This feels very much to me like an exercise generated by a school for salespeople.
Every box is ticked.

Recently i got rid of my mobile phone contract - i now have pay as you go - net result even though the calls cost more - savings of 60%.

Just had sales literature from createspace - 20%off if i do this - 60% off for so many, all of course if i buy by mid december.
I have read all your comments, i notice the ones who say they were pleased with their books have not said how much theyve earned - i dont think im desperate enough to go down this route.
Words are cheap, its results that count.

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62. strom on January 26, 2011 11:31 AM writes...

Of course, you could always do it yourself, with your own imprint. It means doing your own editing and proofing, or employing proofers, and a lot of hard work. But then it will be yours alone, authentic self-publishing, and without the dubious marriage to other industry. And you will learn an awful lot about your writing - stregnths an weaknesses. It's a holistic thing, perhaps?

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63. Gloria on March 2, 2011 1:59 PM writes...

Hi Strom, what is a imprint? And where can i buy the softwear to do all these things: editing and proofing?

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64. Firehouse Publications on April 9, 2011 12:41 PM writes...

I have been with Createspace.com for 2 years now and am seeking a transition to LSI (Lightning Source) But I may keep some titles up on Createspace because they are cheeper for ordering author copies.

The Pluses and Minuses:

+ With a pro-plan royalties are good and author purchases reasonable.
+ Easy set-up of titles
+ You keep full rights to your book
+ Discount codes can be used for buyers to encourage them to use your store for higher royalties even with the discount you give them.
+ Though it's said to be "free" ultimately for under $50 most can have a book in print, FAR LESS than the upfront money required by other POD companies.

The Negatives:

- ONLY for sale on Amazon
- 3rd parties can get your book and undersell you sometimes
- Expanded Distribution can force too high a price on your book, if it's just on Amazon the price can be kept low.
- Though your book CAN be available to bookstores through Expanded Distribution, it is VERY unlikely.

I use Createspace to create "Sample" books I send to publishers when pitching an idea. This way they can hold it and understand my concept better.

This has worked for 2 of my titles that now sell nation wide.

Good luck!

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65. THERESA on April 12, 2011 5:40 PM writes...

I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH CREATESPACE FOR A YEAR AND HAVE NOTHING BUT GREAT THINGS TO SAY. I WAS ORIGINALLY OFFERED A CONTRACT WITH A LARGE PUBLISHER THAT WANTED ME TO PASS OVER ALL OF MY MATERIALS AND LET THEM DO ALL THE WORK. LIKE IT OR LOVE IT !! I HATED THAT IDEA! CREATESPACE HAS MADE MY VISION COME TRUE WHILE PUTTING MY THUMB PRINT ON EVERY PAGE! IF YOU TRAVEL THE SAFE SIDE AND GET YOUR OWN ISBN. NO WORRIES ! ! ! A++

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66. Willard C. Richan on May 30, 2011 12:02 PM writes...

My experience with Createspace has been excellent. I opted to do my own editing, formatting, cover design, etc. Following their advice, I focused on local outlets to market the book. I have had two book readings/signings, one at a Borders and one at a local independent bookstore. Result was 28 copies sold on the spot. That's aside from marketing through Amazon. I refer people asking about the book to Amazon (just plug in the title in quotes) and they are able to see the front and back covers, title page, a random sampling of the contents, and two positive unsolicited reviews. Plus the cost to me of additional copies is ridiculously low. No complaints whatever.

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67. Diedra Holley on June 22, 2011 7:01 PM writes...

I used AuthorHouse to s-pub my first book. All was good and it was up on the Amazon and B&N sites for sale. I pubbed in Jan 2010. At the time, AuthorHouse charged a large fee to publish on kindle, so I declined the service and did it myself, for free. Sounds good so far, right? In April 2011, I noticed a second Kindle version of my book on Amazon's site, priced much higher than mine. I have been back and forth with Amazon and AuthorHouse and they are playing the blame game. The second book is still there. I can't get them to take it down, this is copyright infringement because I have all the rights to my book and did not give permission to publish via Kindle. It would seem that AuthorHouse and Amazon are in cahoots on this one,ut to what ends, I don't know. Could Amazon be doing this with CreateSpace, too? I have a meditation CD and a book I was planning to publish through CS, but it looks like I won't be doing that now. I have enough problems with royalties as it is. Amazon gives you no way to see what your sales are at all, until you get your statement two months after the quarter is over. No way to verify it either. Thanks for the heads up folks.

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68. ChrisW on July 17, 2011 9:49 PM writes...

How much control does a customer have over CreateSpace's connection to amazon or other book-sellers?

I am finishing a book and intend to have them print @100 copies which I expect will last for the rest of my life. If I sell more, I will print more, but having an existing copy and keeping the rights is the most important thing to me.

I don't have any objection to them making my book available in other marketplaces, but I wouldn't trust any sales statement they provided. Those hundred copies of mine, I'll know whether or not one was sold, given away, destroyed, etc.

So are there different options for this? Can I tell them to just print my hundred copies and direct any sales inquiries to me?

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69. Anne-Mhairi on August 28, 2011 12:08 PM writes...

I can't help noticing that the vast majority of comments here stating they've had bad experiences with Createspace also have less than perfect grammar and spelling. I'm not sure if there is necessarily a direct corrolation, but it's interesting to me.

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70. Lgabirel on September 7, 2011 3:23 AM writes...

@Anne-Mhairi "corrolation"--- right

What was your experience Anne-Mhairi? It would be helpful to hear it.

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71. Carla on September 19, 2011 2:21 PM writes...

Ya'll have successfully scared the crap out of me. Thanks. Really, though. Always good to have some info. than none...

I think I'm moving forward anyways. Disappointed that I didn't get my own ISBN--more going on with that than I realized.

Also, the undercutting thing is quite alarming. Really? Wow!

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72. Iris Crenshaw on October 22, 2011 10:33 PM writes...

Createspace is the worst company to work with. I had my book published by Booksurge and then Createspace brought them out. I ordered a marketing package through them and they failed to produce what I paid for. They provided no excuses, just that it was being worked on. They produced one poster for me to approve and I rejected it, it was extremely poor quality. I had to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to get my money refunded. This whole process took about six months. This company is the pits!!!

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73. Moses Nyagaka Okioga on October 24, 2011 6:31 AM writes...

I have afeeling that I am being conned.My novel RELEGATED TO THE WILD is currently on sale with the amazon.com having done by Booksurge which later changed to Createspace.I do not know who owns the copyright and I am reliably told that a lot more copies may have been sold without receiving a cent in loyalties
I live in KENYA and urgently need help.

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74. Nina on November 9, 2011 9:49 PM writes...

I haven't tried CS yet, but I published two books with Xlirbis, one in 2009 and one in 2010. I recieved one royalities payment from my first book, and then the royalties stoped. I have recieved nothing from the second book, what-so-ever. I don't know if something happened or if they began to forward the money to someone who helped me when I published my first book, but that wouldn't seem to work for my second book for which I worked with Xlirbis by myself.
...I have yet to contect them about this, so the problem may not be so severe.

I was thinking about using CS, but if they are having problems with royalties and ONLY work with Amazon...then I think I'll look elsewhere.
I don't really like Amazon, for the reasons stated in earlier comments.

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75. G on November 29, 2011 2:17 AM writes...

Wow, virtually every comment about CS and Amazon has been negative. Some have remarked that the spelling of some posters is, well, weak. It isn't germane to the discussion but, sheesh, you'd think writers would be able to spell!

So if CS and Amazon suck big time, what are alternatives? Lulu? Any others?

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76. Ed on December 14, 2011 5:52 PM writes...

After investing several weeks trying for a POD product produced by CS I have given up. Remote control printing of one's book, or in this case, reprinting a third edition, has nearly landed me in the luny bin.Give up. Find a dependable local print shop with which you can communicate in person.Each time an upload of an interior file is made it supposedly undergoes a professional review. But the review is strictly designed to address technical printing problems. Each time a review report came back by email it contained different issues. I finally concluded the CS objective is to force your use of so-called "professional services." For a fee, of course. Talk about trying to sell you a pig in a poke. Or for French readers: poque.

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77. Dennis on February 6, 2012 8:55 AM writes...

I have been publishing books for years. (1965).
For POD I use Lightning Source. Lulu was tried but as some have learned, they are not user friendly. CreateSpace is out of the question since it's all a build it online system and that's not at all satisfactory for anyone who wants a really professional product. The printing is okay, acceptable. But what I've noticed is that a lot of undedited, poorly written books are making it into this world and that's probably POD's biggest pitfall. We have seen competition from poorly drafted cookbooks, how to books, and other trade pubs cut into sales, but also into reader's budgets who learn too late that they had purchased junk.

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78. Tim Beckley on February 11, 2012 6:46 AM writes...

Boy I have been using CS for three months and I am tickled pink. The payments are on time and average over a thousand dollars. Of course, we have quite a few titles. Some titles sell a lot -- some titles sell hardly anything. Thats book publishing on any level and authors should realize it. And the printed books from CS are good quality and the price is fairly low and the turn around time OK. Unless you have a big name publisher behind you this is the era of doing it yourself. I rmember in the old days the vanity houses would charge thousands of dollars and the authors would get nothing for their money. If you dont want CS to control some aspect of publishing you dont have to have them do it. We have a problem stocking Amazon directly cause we have so many titles. Here the ones done thru CS are printed and shipped without lifting a finger. And you can call them on the phone 24/7. Most complaints seem to be from authors who do not have that much experience as publishers.

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79. Marie on April 18, 2012 11:01 PM writes...

I have been with LS for the past three years. Comparing the book and shipping prices between LS and CS, CS is much lower. The one thing I'm noticing with LS is that their distributors are selling my books at quite a low price. In fact, I found out--from an LS employee, that they can get my books at 35% off. I'm positive some of these employees are selling my books--"New," and real cheap, on the Amazon site (you know those "Ma/Pa stores"). Some sell them so cheap, that they only sell them to make money from the shipping costs! I am disturbed to see that Cs may be doing this too. I found a printer, an hour from my home, who does print on demand. I will be going next week to see what price this printer can give me. If the price is a good one, I'll sell directly to Amazon, B&N and other bookstores myself. This will keep those Ma/Pa stores from outselling me. Anyone of you can sell directly to Amazon. The cost is $29.00 per year (no matter how many books you've written). Amazon requests 55% off your retail price (plus the shipping to Amazon). If you can get a good price from a nearby printer, this might not be a bad route to go. It'll certainly keep the Ma/Pa stores from outselling you!

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80. Rebecca on April 29, 2012 2:35 PM writes...

I was going to use createspace until reading these comments. I went through the whole process and have the book ready for me to accept and publish with createspace right now, but after what was said here I think I will look for something else.
I have searched for other publishing companies and POD ones, but can't seem to find any that won't charge for having a book printed. The ones I've seen are like $500 and up to have a book published with them. I don't have that kind of money to put into it and certainly not when there's no guarantee it will sell well or even at all.
From what I have seen on createspace there hasn't been any fees asked of me to pay to have it published, but then what's the point of using their services if there are going to be issues with receiving royalties and they may print another copy of it and you get nothing from the sales. Ugh!
Does anyone know of any legitimate publishing companies or POD ones that won't charge for getting a book published and will actually pay you the royalties?

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