Thursday, July 26, 2018

Winding Down Createspace | Impressions of KDP Print

I read that Amazon has announced that they are closing the Createspace DVD/CD Production component and switching everyone to Amazon Media on Demand. Amazon previously shut down the Createspace Publishing Services group (the people that would format the book for you) and started KDP Print. I think it's obvious Amazon will shut down the rest of Createspace soon.

At Createspace, you submit your book files and then wait for them to review them prior to ordering, or viewing, a proof. Historically the review process has taken 24 hours or less. The last two books I've submitted (one last week, one this week) have taken closer to 36 hours. I went on the Createspace forums and saw that I'm not the only one to have experienced this. Either they are extremely busy (on average they process 1,500 books every day - 7 days a week) or they have moved people to KDP Print and there are fewer people available to process the Createspace submissions. While I have no facts to back this up, I suspect the latter is probably the case. It only makes sense.

I combined my two published ebooks into one book to try out KDP Print. Here are my impressions:
  • The specs for the PDFs, both the interior and the cover, appear to be exactly the same. I also evaluated a new tool in this process, but I didn't have to change anything in regards to margins, bleed considerations, sizing the cover...
  • The screens are different, but they ask for the same information. 
  • The flow is different. At Createspace you submit your files and then they review them prior to ordering your proof. At KDP Print, you must review your book digitally and click "Approve" prior to being given the option to order a physical proof. Not a bad idea really, it's just different. You can order a physical proof prior to clicking the Publish button. The review process, however, happens after you click the Publish button - a difference from Createspace. I think I'd rather they conduct their review prior to me spending money on a printed proof, but we're the publishers and the burden is on us to do the book right.  It's hard to complain when they aren't charging us a penny for the whole process. 
  • The review process at KDP Print happened in about 12 hours for the first review. They discovered a mistake I made in the book's header. I fixed it and the second review happened in about 2 hours. I don't think that this timing will necessarily continue as the vast majority of self-publishers are still using Createspace, but I was pleased. The KDP Print screen says the review can take up to 72 hours, so we'll see what happens once Createspace is shut down. After getting the OK I clicked Publish. I ordered some copies. I haven't seen them yet, but I would bet they use the same printing facilities as CS, so I don't expect the quality will be any different.
  • I had some difficulty selecting Expanded Distribution when I initially loaded my book. It would not let me, but it gave me no message - it just didn't work. However, after publishing I selected it and it worked fine. Perhaps I wasn't allowed to select that prior to publishing, but it should either not be an option or tell me what's going on.
  • I also submitted the ebook version of my new work. I really liked that. I didn't have to sign out of Createspace and sign into KDP to accomplish everything, it all happened in one session very smoothly. 

So far, I would be fine with putting a new client on KDP Print. I might change my mind after I see my printed books, but I doubt that there will be a problem. 


Susan DeLay said...

Thanks, Kevin, for this information. Any time changes come up with a trusted vendor, I always wonder what lies ahead and you've done the leg work for all of us. I agree with you that KDP will probably use the same sources as Createspace--at least for now. My concern on print product is that it will go overseas, which adds a lot of time to delivery. And 72 hours sounds like rapid-fire turnaround compared to 20 years ago when the timeline from receipt of materials to finished product was, on average, a couple of months. Hard to imagine.

I'm glad you'll be handling this for my books. Kinda makes my head hurt

Unknown said...

Thanks for the helpful information, Kevin. I'm forwarding this to my writers group as well.