February 04, 2009
Bargain Basement PODs - You Get What You Pay For | printable version
I am considering two different POD companies, BookLocker and CreateSpace. From what I can see, CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) has no set up fee but you pay a little more for each book sold. Honestly, after reading all the information you provide, I like your approach and I have purchased a book from you and I like the way it feels and looks, but I am having trouble justifying paying $500 when I can pay $0 in set up fees. Can you tell me if I am missing something with CreateSpace? I see they are not one of the companies you discussed in the comparison article. Thanks for any additional information you can provide!
You're right. CreateSpace is owned by Amazon.com. Amazon, CreateSpace and BookSurge are all part of the same company.
CreateSpace doesn't do any formatting/design for you. They provide you with their interior and cover specs, which are a bit hairy, and you have to do everything yourself. They then upsell you on BookSurge's expensive services along the way (remember - all part of the same company).
Perhaps the biggest drawback to CreateSpace is your book won't be in Ingram's system. Ingram is the largest book distributor. And, it may be difficult for other bookstores to order your book. Click HERE for one attorney's story.
We can't prove it, of course, but perhaps it's difficult for bookstore to obtain an author's books because Amazon competes with those bookstores? Wouldn't it behoove them to do everything in their power to force an author to send all orders to Amazon instead of to other bookstores? I mean, they don't list CreateSpace books with Ingram and their ISBN numbers have been questioned (are they real, or aren't they?). Some authors report the CreateSpace ISBNs aren't listed in Books in Print. Authors may be forced to send customers to Amazon or sell the books themselves if bookstores have a hard time ordering their book or if their book doesn't have a real ISBN. If a bookstore can't get the books from CreateSpace for one reason or another, they don't make any money...but Amazon does when the author ends up sending customers there instead. They could pretty easily slow/eliminate business for other bookstores through these actions if they wanted to. We're just sayin'...
Anyway, Amazon/CreateSpace/BookSurge also have quality and customer service complaints posted online. Here are a few (from their own discussion board):
"I contacted CreateSpace days ago about a very overdue payment."
"CS seems to have set a new gold standard for abysmal support."
"It is quite a concern that an Amazon owned company can be so highly incompetent and treat people so very badly. They often respond to me with nonsense emails."
"I shouldn't have to put up with mediocre service just because it's a cheaper alternative to Lulu and other self-publishing platforms."
"I was supposed to get my royalties in October, then November, then December, and I still haven't received anything."
"I'm more than irritated at the level of frustration involved in the createspace.com process. I know intimately how the process actually works with other publishing firms, and it is not as frustrating as this."
"Requesting the person to purchase (a) proof copy every time a minor alteration is made to the base objects is not common in any form of industry. The only company to do this is CreateSpace.com There's no justification for it except to gouge the consumer and user."
CS seems to have set a new gold standard for abysmal support. I've been trying to get a revised proof. Files were accepted immediately. Yet, despite repeated support tickets, after 17 days no one can answer the simple question, 'Why haven't you shipped?'"
"Just so you know, that ISBN is NOT a real ISBN, it's an Amazon stocking number. It doesn't come from Bowkers, so you can't use it anywhere but on Amazon. You can't use it to, say, order a book from a brick and mortar store."
"Having run out of any reasonable patience, I left Creative Space even before learning that their ISBN is actually a fake..."
"If you only want to sell on Amazon, that's fine, but just be aware of that. I got that information directly from CreateSpace's customer service."
"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 book essentially doesn't exist outside of Amazon..."
Our opinion is that CreateSpace and other so-called "free" POD services are the bargain basements of the industry and, well...you get what you pay for.