CreateSpace Closing?

Image (C) Wikimedia Commons

Yes, apparently! But no big deal.

I noticed when uploading to Kindle (KDP) some months ago that Amazon was kind of pushing also uploading your print book on the KDP platform as well. They made it convenient and easy, but I didn’t like that you had less control and fewer options. So when they announced CS was shuttering up, I was not surprised, and you should not be worried. I think they’re simply getting it all under one roof, and I’m sure they have internal reasons. You can see Amazon’s current, full explanation here.

In case you’re not familiar, Amazon’s ebook platform has been “Kindle” or “KDP” (Kindle Direct Publishing) and they bought a private company early on called CreateSpace to jump into on-demand print publishing with. I’ve always liked CreateSpace. The quality has been great, and the prices/costs to authors about the best (depending on book format). But it has always been very limited in distribution (effectively Amazon only, but we know how big Amazon is) and lacked options available with Ingram. The idea was to be very user-friendly, and create consistent high-quality for self-published authors, and, likely, to encourage you to be sort of exclusive on Amazon (hence the user-friendliness).

Amazon seems to understand there will be a process involved in moving files over and I’m sure Amazon does not want to lose book listings. Perhaps this is even a step in the direction of Amazon doing more with print books. After all, I believe they’ve opened brick-and-mortar bookstores just as others shutter up. Add to that it seems ebooks have settled into about 25% of the book market, after their initial explosion. As mentioned, I’ve always like CS for certain uses, and I’m a big fan of Ingram. I often advise clients to publish with both (CS and Ingram) but it depends on your goals, hopes, and current strategy.

Amazon has a lot of books to move! So, they’re doing this in phases. If you do nothing, they will move your books for you “in a few weeks,” but I don’t recommend waiting. Amazon has provided a page where you can move your titles sooner but if they have not made the transfer available to you yet, you will not be able to complete it. I just tried, and they have apparently not enabled this for me yet (despite my allowing pop-ups). When ready, it will be three pretty simple steps when available to you: (1) verify your CS account, (2) link it to your KDP account, and (3) move you books. But again, it found my accounts but wouldn’t move my books, not yet.

I’ve just tried to move books for my accounts and for several clients and none of the accounts are “ready.” Nonetheless, here’s how I suggest you try this if you do, if you already have both a CreateSpace and a Kindle (KDP) account:

1. Open a tab and go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ and log in. Leave that window open.
2. Open a second tab and go to https://www.createspace.com and log in. Leave that window open.
3. Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/createspace-transfer.

“Step 1” seems to simply take you to a login page for CS. You should see some of your Kindle titles already in “Step 2.” “Step 3” may or may not be live yet. If so, click, and if not, try again later. Amazon is allowing people to make the transfers in chunks, apparently, but I do recommend doing this before they do it for you.

Ultimately,I’m hoping for the same of better features with print books on KDP!

Trim Sizes

Full cover design in 6″ x 9″ trim size (C) Rodney Miles

“TRIM SIZE” REFERS to the sizes of books. In fact there are charts that tell which sizes are “industry standard” and available in different formats. The availability from self-publishing platforms can affect your decision on where to upload, distribute, and publish your book. For example, CreateSpace does a great job for self-publishers but by design is meant to be more on the user-friendly side, so the amount of technical know-how you need is less but so are the publishing options on things like trim sizes, formats, and distribution, as compared to Ingram’s self-publishing platform, Lightning Spark, where you have many more professional options but a little more know-how is required. Each platform has a PDF that explains file preparation and lists trim sizes.

For example, speaker/author/trainer Erin Mahoney and I did a beautiful little book recently called Positive Vibes. We wanted a small format in cloth hardcover with a dust jacket. Ingram had it, but the smallest available was 5″ x 7″. That trim size was available in softcover with CreateSpace and we wanted to upload to both, so that’s what we went with. The Big Five publishers have access to more by way of printing, and produced Oprah’s little book in a size unavailable to self publishers. But that’s fine, Positive Vibes turned out beautifully!

I always check and try to decide on trim sizes before we get too far into a project. It helps, especially for cover design, and I’m anal-retentive, a bit. In fact I mock up the book file in the chosen trim size from the beginning (I loathe 8.5″ x 11″!). There are design benefits, and it’s more fun for me, which is important!

Certain trim sizes will be expected as genre-specific. Non-fiction books are very often 6″ wide by 9″ high. Textbooks are often letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″). Books of poetry, fables, and small business books are often 5″ x 7″, and if a business or philosophic title, exoected to be pithy at that size. Thicknesses are also expected as per genre.

The best exercise I know of is simply going into a book store once in a while and picking books off the shelves. You’ll want to be familiar with reader expectations, to meet them in ways, and exceed them in others.