Amazon has killed CreateSpace, and renamed it/merged it/replaced it (same thing, no matter which way you wash it!) with “KDP Print.” We all knew that was coming. And, between you and me, with all the complaints about CreateSpace posted online, it’s no surprise they wanted to get rid of the name. But, rest assured that Amazon, according to their email to authors, is still using CreateSpace’s employees, etc. so I don’t expect an uptick in quality and customer service. And, according to author comments I’ve read online over the past week, many of them are NOT happy with this move. Examples quoted directly from CreateSpace’s author forum are at the end of this article. Higher prices on some books, slower royalty payments, limited distribution, and much more. But, let’s step back a bit. When did Amazon start dropping hints that this might be on the horizon?
In 2017, Amazon removed the CreateSpace bookstore from the CreateSpace website, which forced their authors’ book buyers to use Amazon. CreateSpace authors earned lower royalties on those Amazon.com book sales.
Then, after years of complaints about CreateSpace’s quality and customer service problems, Amazon stopped offering creative services to CreateSpace’s authors. Editing, interior formatting, original cover design, and everything else – GONE. After that, CreateSpace became just another print-on-demand printer.
Also, earlier this year, Amazon laid off 58 CreateSpace employees.
So, last week, it was no surprise to anyone in the industry that CreateSpace was going to be renamed…I mean “merged with” KDP Print, which Amazon had originally launched as a beta service.
WHAT HASN’T CHANGED?
Like CreateSpace, KDP Print will own all rights to their authors’ production files. This is what we call the “forced marriage contract clause” and almost every publishing service includes this in their contracts. (BookLocker and Dog Ear Publishing do NOT.) What this means is, if you use their resources to create your files, they own those files. You don’t. This makes it very difficult for authors to move their books to another publisher or printer someday, even if they’re upset with KDP Print.
WHAT WILL CHANGE?
What are the big differences between the two? Remember…when reading all of the “changes” below that Amazon/CreateSpace/KDP Print (or whatever they rename it in the future) can make even more changes whenever they want, which can harm even more authors. Some authors paid CreateSpace to design their files and now they might have to go backwards in the process, and incur more time and expense.
Let’s look at what authors are screaming about online, starting with the most disturbing items:
1. SLOWER ROYALTY PAYMENTS
Sixty days instead of 30. Lovely. Now Amazon gets to earn interest on your money for that extra 30 days instead of you.
2. HIGHER PRINTING COSTS ON SOME TITLES
Authors of affected books are really upset about this! Some are being forced to raise their list prices. See the comments at the end of this article.
3. NON-SUPPORT OF SEVERAL LANGUAGES
Never mind the fact that CreateSpace has been successfully using the same pdf files to print those foreign-language books for years. Amazon says KDP Print will simply not support them.
As with existing cover design (see below), you can continue to use the current files. However, if you have any changes/updates to make, they won’t accept the new version, nor other books by those authors in those languages. It wouldn’t surprise me if KDP Print simply terminates all of those foreign language books some day…after the current dust settles, of course.
ATTN: AUTHORS OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE BOOKS – Please contact me RIGHT HERE. We may be able to get your book immediately back on the market!
4. MAJOR SITE PROBLEMS
Authors are complaining that they are having a very difficult time with the KDP Print website.
5. NOT A SEAMLESS TRANSITION
Just one example from KDP’s website: “…changing one book detail might prompt you to change others, requiring you to resubmit your book.”
6. NON-SUPPORT OF CREATESPACE COVER DESIGN
KDP Print will print your book using the existing CreateSpace cover file but, if you have any changes or updates, you’ll need to design a new cover from scratch. You can’t just change one word or tweak one thing. That won’t work. No, this doesn’t make any sense to us, either. So, if you hired a cover designer to design your cover, you may now need to pay them to redesign your cover, which is LUDICROUS. If you originally hired a CreateSpace cover designer, you’re out of luck because they’re no longer offering that service.
7. NO PAPERBACK AVAILABILITY THROUGH AMAZON’S AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, AND NETHERLANDS SITES!
Authors in these countries must order copies from an overseas Amazon facility AT THE FULL LIST PRICE, and they must pay extra for international shipping.
Repeat: NO paperback distribution to Amazon.com.au, Amazon.com.br, or Amazon.nl!
If you are one of these authors, please contact BookLocker. You WILL be offered an author discount and our printer has several facilities in the U.S., as well as ones in the U.K. and Australia.
8. SOME AUTHORS MUST PAY THE FULL RETAIL PRICE FOR THEIR BOOKS!
I have NO idea why Amazon is doing this but authors of books in only seven languages can purchase their books at the author discounted prices (below retail) – English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch. Authors of all other foreign-language titles must pay the full retail price for their books. WHY?!?!
9. FORCED TO SELL THROUGH AMAZON.COM IF YOU WANT TO USE EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION
Sometimes, authors simply don’t want their books available on Amazon. And, they have a variety of reasons for doing so. A good example of this is professional speakers who sell books to event attendees. They want complete control over the sale of their books. They won’t want to find used copies online, nor fake listings for copies of books that don’t even exist. (Many of Amazon’s “reseller” listings for print on demand “new and used” books are for copies that don’t even exist yet).
I have spoken to authors in the past who don’t want their books listed on Amazon based on principal alone. After reading about Amazon putting small retailers out of business, as well as Amazon’s (alleged) anti-trust actions, and more, they prefer to just sell their books through other channels only. Through KDP Print, authors are forced to list their books on Amazon.com if they want expanded distribution. Period.
10. MANY CREATESPACE AUTHORS HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN NOTIFIED OF THE CHANGE!
Despite the fact that CreateSpace authors are supposed to login to their accounts, and transfer them to KDP Print, many authors are claiming they have not yet been notified by CreateSpace about the (forced) transition despite the fact that the email sent to CreateSpace authors has been posted many places online now. A friend of mine with a CreateSpace account gave me his login info. His account has no notifications or messages about the change whatsoever and he has received no emails from CreateSpace about this. Other authors are making similar claims online.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE CREATESPACE/KDP PRINT DEBACLE POSTED DIRECTLY TO CREATESPACE’S AUTHOR FORUM:
Moving us from createspace to KDP makes print costs nearly twice as expensive as before.
We sell a lot of short books below 100 pages, most in Europe
I have to raise book prices by at least 1.50 Euros to receive the same amount.
Now you see why they want to make us move from createspace to KDP.
Same here – I’ve increased prices on all our books in order to maintain a similar royalty. Will
have to see if, in the next few weeks, sales are down or not. But we are powerless.
The transfer process, in the past, has suffered from repeated timeouts and failures. The
handoff from createspace to KDP seems to take forever, and when it is ‘done,’ you just get
error messages like “resubmit your file.” My favorite is when it takes forever and the error
message is “you cannot have invisible characters in your title/description.” Uh, great?
When this happens, you are left with a book that has no interior or exterior.
The KDP Print process has a looooooong way to go. It is not ready for prime time at all, but
now it’s ours.
This doesn’t seem to be very well planned or thought out. They’ve alluded to the fact that
printing costs may change… and I recently looked into KDP only to discover costs are higher
and royalties are more complicated.
I don’t like the fact that KDP pays royalties 60 days after the end of the month… That’s
definitely a drawback.
My guess is that having moved your titles over before your usual end of the month payment,
you’re now subject to KDP’s rubbish payment policy – i.e. you’ll be paid after 60 days/2
months, rather than current 30 days/1 month. So you should get paid your July royalties at the end of September. It’s a bad situation for many of us!
As many of you, I was asked to move my books to KDP. That is done! Now, I discover KDP cannot support some very common languages such as Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Polish, etc. What about our multilingual books published through CS. Are they going to be rejected by KDP?
Does CS really plan to eliminate millions of books because their “updated” printing facilities
can’t handle certain languages?
While I agree this merger/move has been horribly handled, accepting it doesn’t solve the
problem. I’ve been encouraging research and finding options. As pointed out elsewhere, I have a chunk of business I that I will no longer be able to serve if I stay with KDP. I have found another company that I can use and will be moving those titles there.
So much money spent in translations will just be a total waste of money! I am really angry!