Just a few snippets from below:
* “a HUGE waste of time”
* “they provide a flawed service to authors”
* “a bunch of lame excuses”
* “Book literally falling apart at the seams”
* “Poor paper quality”
* “thought it looked terrible”
* “I’m taking my business elsewhere”
* “They really let me down”
* “Extremely Unhappy”
* “lack of payment”
* “seems like they don’t care”
* “beyond frustrated with CS and their lack of support”
* “Review Process bass ackwards”
* “an absurdly long, arduous process”
* “What the **** is going on!?”
Thinking of using CreateSpace to publish your book? You might want to first read the complaints from their own authors below. They detail formatting headaches, poor print quality and binding issues, delivery delays, bad customer service, and much, much more.
Back in 2009, the name BookSurge was retired (after previously being called Digitz, and then GreatUnpublished) and that business was rolled under the CreateSpace name. Since there were so many complaints about BookSurge posted online at that time (we were a previous victim as well), we investigated CreateSpace’s forum back then to see if their customer service and quality issued had improved. Changing a name doesn’t make a business instantly better! You can see our 2010 findings (they’re not pretty!) HERE. We checked again in 2011 and there were, once again, plenty of new complaints http://writersweekly.com/whispers-and-warnings/CreateSpace-complaints-part-ii.
In 2014, we checked again and, you guessed it – lots of upset authors! You can see some of those complaints HERE.
We have continued to receive complaints from authors about CreateSpace since that time and, this week, we revisited their forum to see if things have improved. We weren’t surprised by what we found.
CreateSpace claims to be “free” (if you follow all their rules and confusing specs to the letter) but they sure can be expensive if you can’t! (See complaints below.) If you attempt their “free” service, they try to upsell you on their expensive services along the way. A classic bait ‘n switch perhaps? Sure looks that way to us. Some authors are spending hundreds to thousands of dollars to get their books published at CreateSpace. In fact, for comparable services, the price is $675 only at BookLocker.com vs. $1,151.00 (OUCH!) at CreateSpace. For the record, BookLocker also offers a D.I.Y. program. Please see our POD Price Comparison, which lists several other firms as well, HERE.
Here are some comments we have received directly from CreateSpace authors via email:
Proofs of poor quality, print too light, cover not sharp.
(I need) more exposure for my book.
Looking for bigger distribution…
I need one-on-one support. I’m not getting enough support from CreateSpace.
I feel as though the quality of my print copies suffers when printing from CreateSpace and I had hoped that not only could I find a better printer but that I could get a better deal in the process.
CreateSpace is a mess. The process to get the proof is no problem. Everything was going swell until I ordered 50 copies on the 9th of January and chose expedited shipping. They shipped it standard, then it took 5 days to print the book, then another 5 days to get it to USPS. Then it was sent off, only to be delayed another 2 days. Now it’s the 20th and I need it for a book signing on the 23rd and there’s no way it’s getting from Pennsylvania to Lafayette, Louisiana in 2 days. Hopefully your service will be done correctly.
I’m aware of many problems with CreateSpace, and have been suspecting that my CD sales through them have been grossly under-reported, though without specific evidence on that. (I have a big CD list at CreateSpace.) I’d really like a POD service with more reliability and integrity than CreateSpace.
I would like broader distribution. Also, CS (CreateSpace) has mucked around with my second book for almost two weeks and I am really fed up with their ambiguous error messages and 24-hour turn around for each error.
– Ben D.
Here are complaints from other websites:
…of the 105 copies of my book that I have received from the company to date, all 105 (100 percent) have been defectively manufactured and damaged in shipping as a result of improper packaging. Photographic documentation appears below…
I have emailed, messaged and used social media to contact Amazon Books, CreateSpace and Kindle books requesting eight books that I authored, illustrated, and self published to be removed from all of their shelves and they have not complied. My books converted terribly when used with their software causing my illustrations to be ruined and unrecognizable. I feel terrible accepting readers’ money in royalties for books that are not up to my standard as an author and illustrator. I have contacted a popular attorney who appears on the news broadcasting their stories. I asked Amazon to work with me and delete all my books without us having to use the attorney and I have not received a reply.
– H.B. David
* Switch and bait on quality of paper – self published my book with CreateSpace five months ago. The cover of my proof copy was thick and slick. The pages inside were white and smooth. I ordered 50 copies to start. The cover color was wrong. The background, which is supposed to be pink, was yellow. I complained. They replaced the copies, but I had to use some of the copies which were already promised to some people…
* Seems CreateSpace and amazon publishing can’t be trusted. I had an issue with their reporting practices on one of my titles and decided to contact them to get to the bottom of it. Their reply was a general form response, leaving none of my concerns addressed. So, since I lost confidence in their business practices I requested that they retire all of my titles – not only did they, they also closed my account, leaving me with no way to access all of my reporting for the last seven years…
* I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use CreateSpace. They are nothing but a HUGE waste of time. I ‘ve tried to use their services twice and was not impressed. They want your book to be perfect, yet they provide a flawed service to authors…
* <i>CreateSpace is one of the most useless things on the internet. They have no “Customer Service” – it’s a Third Party company that contracts the “Service. ” When you call them they barely speak English, and they can’t actually help you. And never mind the way they count your sales. That’s a joke…</i>
* “I have asked for my initial $399 to be returned but just got stalling language about other options. I will not send another $199 just to have my Word file published by their system.
* CreateSpace didn’t work out for me. I have no complaints about the product itself. The book came out great. But when it came time to pay out my royalties, a big fat ZERO. The payouts met the minimum threshold, too. They just gave a bunch of lame excuses that never panned out. It was just stalling tactics. There are also many complaints about CreateSpace underreporting sales.
As we did in 2010, 2011, and 2014, we recently checked out CreateSpace’s own message board to see if their authors are still posting complaints about them. Of course, they are! Here’s what we found (and there are plenty more where these came from):
Book literally falling apart at the seams..? Customer Furious
I am a new author and have a beautiful book that is selling well worldwide. A customer contacted me and sent me photos of my beautiful book literally falling apart with pages flying out. Do I have any recourse with Amazon or CS? He has proof of purchase.
An Inquiry that never gets a response.
I have repeatedly asked if there was a way an author who used the Cover Creator and was willing to pay could arrange a custom spine, and I never get the courtesy of a response. If C/S were to see how poorly most books present when viewed from the spine, as opposed to the cover, they would see the reason why I keep asking.
Amazon quality problems
One of my readers has said my book arrived from Amazon with a large black smudge on the front cover. He sent it back immediately and is expecting a replacement in a couple of days.
How do I ensure the quality remains the same as the proof I received from CS? Who at Amazon do I send my complaint and concerns?
Poor paper quality
Has anybody else created interior files with rich page design, only to find that CreateSpace paper and printing quality subverts the quality of the page design? 60-lb, smooth, white offset paper with a brightness factor of 90 would make my many half-tone elements, particularly my page borders and my 300 images, look like I didn’t produce my book on my home laser printer.
Yet after having been through support multiple times, I can’t get the full specs on the paper they have used for printing several book orders. One order of 30 copies had 5 mil paper that looked and felt like the whiter, brighter, smoother, heavier-weight paper one would expect for a book. But other orders have been printed by CreateSpace with paper that measured only 4.5 mil and was thin, rough and dull.
Mostly I feel that if CreateSpace is not going to use the kind of paper necessary to make rich page designs look good, it should advise or warn authors against half-tones and photos in the design. As a blog-to-book author, I might have been able to choose another publishing option. Does anyone else have experience that sheds light on the problem I am having with poor-quality paper?
Adult Colouring Books – “paper too thin”
I published an adult colouring book earlier this year, via CreateSpace, and sales have been fair. But a customer has recently left an online review comparing it unfavourably to a similar book published by a mainstream publisher. A lot of the feedback was actually useful, and it’s stuff I can learn from, but one of the issues was a complaint that the white interior paper was too thin. Not a lot I can do about that if I use CreateSpace for the next book. Personally, I thought the paper thickness was adequate for colouring, but I was just wondering if there was anyone out there that may have had similar feedback.
I recently ordered two big batches of a book I publish with multiple internal color pages.
One batch was produced in Delaware; the pages were thick, bright white semi glass and looked fantastic.
The second batch was produced in Charleston and the pages were dull and thin – print showed through the paper! It’s not that these works were less good than the ones from Delaware – they are too poor to use.
I just sent a galley to an author, with plenty of color plates, and he thought it looked terrible. Printed in Charleston.
If CreateSpace can’t assure better quality control – that is, assure us of what kind of paper they’re going to use – I’m taking my business elsewhere.
Thanks for confirming my own experience. I managed to “escalate” my complaint, and was told that CS changed their paper specs about 11 months ago. But the company “owner” I talked to said CS still declined to actually publish their paper specs, so that paper brightness, whiteness, and thickness can be taken into account at the time of page design.
I have to say, with all I had to do to produce a professional-level digital book file, including complicated page design involving lots of grayscale, I counted on CS to print a book worthy of my writing and design elements. They really let me down.
If you can press the need for them to make public their paper specs to the highest possible level, you will help me help the next author/self-publisher.
Over $35K of Unpaid Royalties Since July. Extremely Unhappy
I’ve been in contact with CreateSpace support for over a month and they have offered little help in resolving my payment issue. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch it after the first month it occurred so now it has just accrued over the last several months totally more than $35,000.
As a business owner, this lack of payment is severely hurting our business and CreateSpace seems like they don’t care.
EASY TO PUBLISH WITH CreateSpace, EH? FORMATTING/SPECS HEADACHES…
Happening to me, too. This is my fifth book but IR always shows it is wrong even though CS approves it.
My last email to CS asked them if this was some sort of a scam to get people to pay for a proof and then have to resubmit the interior. I’m waiting for their reply.
When is a 5X8 not a 5X8?
I’ve just received another proof of my book and find that the template I have been using (CS supplied file) results in a different output to the actual book!
All dimensions and margins are the same but yet I still have a difference of 3 lines of text!
Digital Proofer Shows Weird?? Things Not on Interior Reviewer
My Word doc, pdf and the interior reviewer all show things looking perfectly. Then I submit and wait and look at the digital proofer and one page is all boxes instead of my words. I have deleted and retyped and resaved and reuploaded and resubmitted and waited and all three times the same thing happens. I’m assuming the digital proofer shows what’s going to show if I print the book. Anything I can do about it?
Cover Screw up
Uploaded my usual cover pdf for (book title removed), but creatspace some how cut it in half and stretched the bottom half to a full cover?
Never had this before?? I uploaded a new pdf, that I checked twice, but it looks like the same problem?
Review Process bass ackwards
Either I’m doing something really wrong, or the review process is bass ackwards. You should not have to submit your book for 24+ hour review prior to seeing it in the Online Format Reviewer. I should be able to open it up in the reviewer, see what’s not working, fix the issues, THEN send it on to be reviewed by CreateSpace 24+ hour review.
I’ve wasted DAYS fixing stupid little issues because I make a change, hope it’s right, and have to wait up to 24 hours to find out if I fixed the issue without creating any other issues. So what could have been done in an hour has been an absurdly long, arduous process because CS put the cart in front of the horse.
Am I doing something wrong, or is the review process really this broken? If I’m right, you really need to fix this so that users can avoid submitting until they are reasonably confident they have a final, ready product by checking it online, THEN letting the CS folks look at it.
I’m just blown away at how this is handled.
I have to redo interior files again after I got a reply from Create Space Reviewer!
“We are unable to process the interior file as it is corrupt or too complex. Please ensure all layers and transparencies are flattened and that it is a valid PDF.”
I flatten layers in illustrator and then save as PDF file for every page. There are totally 72 pages.
After got 72 PDF separate files, I combine all of separate PDF files to one PDF file in Acrobat XI pro.
I follow up your instruction of Creating a PDF for Print setting in Acrobat XI pro, but Acrobat informs “the document can’t be printed”…
In general, “My book was fine, it was approved, then I changed one letter on the cover, now the interior is being rejected. What the **** is going on!?” is a fairly common complaint.
There is a problem in a file and it is missed by the first reviewer, only to be caught by a second reviewer who blocks the project.
There is no problem in the file, but the second reviewer misinterprets something and blocks the project.
CUSTOMER SERVICE/RESPONSE TIME ISSUES
Just adding to the number of complaints I hope they’re getting. For a company like CS, with Amazon behind them, this is disgusting.
Cattle prods? I’d be threatening emasculation if those lazy sods are male…
I had raised a complaint for re-issuance of royalty payment and sending reminders to it since 3-Feb-2015 and am not getting any response from (the) CreateSpace team.
Please help me.
WEBSITE AND AMAZON ISSUES
This is really beginning to pizz me off
Is anyone else extremely annoyed that CS managed to fix the All Content home page last week and it has been screwed up again? I have called CS and was told the problem was my browser. FAT FRIGGING CHANCE! If you are as irritated as me, contact CS either by email or phone through the Contact Us link below and lodge your complaint. The more we bombard them with complaints the sooner they will get this fixed.
Price Changes Not Taking Effect?
My last post discussed about my print book being ripped from sale on Amazon with no prior warning and no explanation as to why. 14 days later it’s now back up and my rankings have naturally taken a big hit. So I’ve put together an email ready to send to my subscribers to offer them the book at cost price to give it a boost. The Kindle prices have changed accordingly on the Amazon sites…
But even though I’ve reduced the price on all 3 channels (.com, .co.uk. eu sites) in the CS admin, the price has remained at the higher price for over 24 hours now across the Amazon sites. In the past, price changes would pretty much take immediate effect. Has something changed in this process?
Also I notice there is no list price now on any of the Amazon sites for my print book? It used to detail the list price which matched the price set in CS admin.
Any thoughts appreciated.
WHAT’S AN ALTERNATIVE TO CreateSpace? Which firm can get your book published fast, with high quality, and with a smile? Which firm gives authors DIRECT ACCESS to the owners for extraordinary customer service? BookLocker.com does.
Check out our POD Price Comparison HERE.
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE