This week Amazon has told indie authors they can buy “author copies” of POD paperbacks from KDP Print, a feature previously only available through CreateSpace. Amazon further states expanded distribution, also available only through CreateSpace, will soon be a KDP Print feature.
At which point, we have to ask, why will Amazon need to keep CreateSpace open for indies?
Currently Amazon offers three tiers of POD – one for bigger publishers, one for indie authors through CreateSpace, and lately a similar service for indie authors through KDP Print, the POD arm of the KDP ebook dashboard.
Late last year Amazon closed its CreateSpace store, driving readers to the main Amazon site to buy indie paperbacks.
As the headline said, “CreateSpace unaffected. For now.”
The CreateSpace store was not an option for KDP Print authors. Closing the store removed one more reason for indies to prefer CreateSpace over KDP Print.
The gradual drawing of indie authors into KDP Print is presented as a convenience for authors to have all their products in one place, but if that’s true then we ought to be seeing Audible titles shunted to the KDP dashboard too. No sign of that as yet.
What the KDP Print move does do is to encourage ebook indies to get into POD, expanding Amazon’s catalogue, and places Amazon in a position to offer further incentives to indie authors to go exclusive with Amazon in digital, and perhaps in print too.
It’s quite possible the mysterious 50% royalty rate that briefly appeared in the KDP dashboard –
is related to Amazon’s plans for KDP Print as it comes out of beta, with the likelihood all indie titles in CreateSpace will be shunted into KDP Print, leaving CreateSpace as the preserve of bigger publishers.
That’s something I first discussed back in November 2016.
Many of us are seeing our CreateSpace titles appear in our KDP dashboard, and I would expect that to continue apace until all KDP authors have the KDP-CreateSpace set-up available.
CreateSpace itself will no doubt become a professional-publishers only site.
Two years on that remains the clear trend.
Closing CreateSpace to regular indies would drive authors to KDP who currently go to Amazon via a third party distributor like Draft2Digital, StreetLib, PublishDrive, Bookbaby or Ebook Partnership and use CreateSpace for POD. Once those authors need a KDP account for their POD they will likely desert the aggregator service for ebooks and use KDP for both print and digital.
Just last week The Digital Reader reported CreateSpace had officially pulled the plug on its author services – yet another sign CreateSpace as we know it is not long for this world.
The most scenario is that CreateSpace POD in the US will become Amazon Print On Demand as already exists in the UK, with services and rewards solely for bigger publishers.
CreateSpace may well remain a brand for small-time content creators in other areas – video and music, for example, where CreateSpace offers CD and DVD distribution – but even here the clock will no doubt be ticking as these analogue delivery systems fade in importance.
As for CreateSpace for indie authors, I would be very surprised to see that still an option this time next year.