KDP Print now offers author copies. Expanded distribution coming. How long left for CreateSpace?

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.

CreateSpace e-store closing. CreateSpace unaffected. For now.

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 –

Amazon KDP’s new 50% royalty option. Or was it an error?

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.

11 Replies to “KDP Print now offers author copies. Expanded distribution coming. How long left for CreateSpace?”

  1. Thanks for this, Mark. Can you explain – are the ‘author copies’ referred to still available only from the US. It’s a pain as a UK author to have to pay expensive shipping costs for proof copies to come from the States, especially if you want them relatively quickly and have to pay for Express.

    1. My understanding is that through KDP print author copies are available in UK and Europe, which is a big improvement on CreateSpace.

  2. Is there a believed timeline for expanded distribution? I’m just about to launch. If there is not, do you think I could do KDP and IngramSpark as a work around?

  3. Createspace is still the better option. If you want author copies at an author rate rather than full price, KDP ships them in individually wrapped envelopes rather than one container which is incredibly wasteful and time consuming for Amazon employees, postal service, and the author. KDP is good for ebooks, but they lose their edge with regards to environmental impact if they are going to continue shipping paperbacks in such a manner.

  4. I have a Children’s Picture book. I just put it for an eBook with KDP. I am confused on what is the best option with a printed version. KDP says my size is not available for the expanded distribution. It is 8.5×8.5. Why would that be an issue? I can redesign it to fit in another size but if I don’t need to? I would prefer not to I had a pay to play publisher who said this was a good size. All of this is very confusing. Does IngramSparks be something worth looking into as well as Create Space then? I really don’t understand the Royalty programs as well. Thank you, any input will be greatly appreciated.!

    1. Hi Vicky, I’m dealing with exactly the same issue right now ie I also did an 8.5×8.5″ book.
      Be great to know if you found the answer and could share please.

  5. We Australian authors can’t order print proofs of our own books from KDP! They say it has something to do with our GST (goods & services tax). They’ve offered an alternative—order our books through a retail outlet; we’d at least get the royalties! KDP needs to come up with a more creative solution. The fact that we’re excluded from what we should be entitled to diminishes our value in the international marketplace.

  6. Is anybody having problems ordering author copies of their books on kdp? I’m following instructions i.e. quantity , marketplace, submit order, it directs me to Amazon but my basket is empty and can onl buy at full price,
    What if anything am I doing wrong.

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