CreateSpace

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CreateSpace.com is the self-publishing arm of Amazon, providing a service that makes it easy for an individual to self-publish books, CDs, and DVDs. I’ve used CreateSpace for books and highly recommend it.

In the past when I had a book project ready for press, I’d submit the specs to a free bidding service run by the Printing Industry of America that would distribute my project specifications to all its participating members. I’d soon receive quotes from all over the world, even for small print jobs. While I felt confident this enabled me to select the printer with the best price, it meant I needed to develop new relationships with every new project. I also encountered some hard-to-resolve quality issues with long-distance vendors.

CreateSpace produces good quality at good price, backed by decent service, but so do other self-publishing sites like the previously reviewed Lulu and Blurb. What CreateSpace has that the others can’t touch, however, is the direct link with Amazon. Products published through CreateSpace are automatically, and instantly, given displays on Amazon. More importantly, orders through Amazon are fulfilled directly, without my ever having to handle inventory. They simply pay me a royalty.

It’s the logistics of small-scale publishing that are killers. If you order a book from Blurb and sell it on Amazon, you can kiss any profits goodbye. Amazon doesn’t discount books published by or through CreateSpace. They do help themselves to a generous 55% of the retail sale, but the 45% remaining for the publisher (me) is unencumbered by shipping or other deductions. It’s pure gross profit.

I’m an author and a conventional publisher, and recently started by own micro-publishing venture called The Public Press. I’ve gone down many nano-publishing paths, making many mistakes along the way, and CreateSpace is the best option I’ve found for making small-scale book publishing profitable. Moreover, this is one aspect of Amazon’s business that does not come at the expense of independent booksellers and actually creates an environment that makes it possible for the self-publisher and booksellers to work together compatibly and profitably.

-- Stephen Morris