CreateSpace ~ The Door Into Amazon

In some ways the choices for authors and publishers in the printing market are unlimited, and in others they are very, very narrow. Part of what we will do with this series is describe the benefits and drawbacks of a number of printers so that both authors and publishers have a better chance of selecting the right printer for the right project. The thing to keep in mind is that you are not married to a printer. The only time you are limited is if you purchase the ISBN from the printer. If you buy your own (which, of course, is fairly costly on an individual basis), you can have your book printed by a dozen printers without causing issues. As we build our database we will talk about how each printer handles what we consider to be primary concerns. If you have others, please comment and we’ll dig deeper. First in the box? CreateSpace.


CreateSpace is up first because it is the door into the Amazon – the largest bookstore on the planet. CreateSpace as a provider has a lot going for it and it is actually working at improving. So, here we go.


CreateSpace offers a variety of editing packages for $160 to $400 for the first 10,000 words. The interior design packages run from $149 to $579 and they include everything from creating your pdf file to meet specifications all the way to creating an interior design and adding images. For cover design they offer something as simple as getting submitted files to comply with specifications for $99 all the way to full design and preparation for $599. Services to convert a file to Kindle format range from $79 to $139. CreateSpace will acquire a Library of Congress Catalog Number (LCCN) for $25. They will also build a marketing platform with marketing tools keyed to the book for $249.00. There is a direct link to Kirkus Reviews on the site, however the fees are high and we wouldn’t recommend paying for a review. Kirkus charges $425-575 depending on how fast you want it. If you are an author under contract with a traditional publisher, you can begin to see the value of the investment that publisher puts in your work. Of course with CreateSpace you can decide to do it all yourself or use third party assistance. As long as you meet the specifications.


Anyone who has been in the industry long enough to remember offset printing will know the term, “camera ready.” This meant that the piece was ready to be photographed and transferred onto the printing plate. In the digital world that term has a different meaning but it is no less important. To get the best results, every time, and to have the lowest set up fees, files need to be ready to shoot. For the most part the file must be a pdf with embedded fonts, no layers, bookmarks, comments, or metadata. Images must be 300 dpi or greater.

For more detailed information, their submission Guidelines can be found here: https://www.createspace.com/Special/Enterprise/Publisher/submission_guidelines.jsp

CreateSpace does offer free tools to test the file to make sure that images are properly placed, bleeds are handled correctly and that the specifications are met for a good print run. Uploads can occasionally be frustrating as the automated program will not recognize some changes. In most cases the customer service department is quite helpful.


Currently, CreateSpace does not charge upload or set up fees if the file is according to specifications. Fees are quoted on their site and it is always a possibility to pay them to clear any of the irritating details.

CreateSpace does not charge for an ISBN if you accept a free one assigned by them. This, of course, means that the title will show as being published by CreateSpace. For $10.00 you can purchase an individual ISBN and designate the publisher. If you own the ISBN, then it can be used free of charge.


This is paperback kingdom. CreateSpace does not currently offer hardback print runs. Trim sizes vary from 5” X 8” to 8.5” X 11” for both black and white and color (interior) books. Currently there are two choices for paper, cream and white.

Print Runs:

Print on Demand (POD) has a lot of advantages. It is green. It doesn’t cost money to warehouse books, return books, or, well, have left over books that won’t sell. With CreateSpace the printing costs are the same until the order reaches really large volumes. Basically, they charge .012 per page for black & white, .07 per page for color and .85 per unit on covers.

As a price gauge we will be pricing a 250 page black and white manuscript with an 8.5 X 5.5 trim size and a full color cover from each printer. For CreateSpace this would be $3.85 per book.


First and foremost, CreateSpace is the place for the quickest Amazon upload. You are also guaranteed the “look inside” feature without additional fees. Another good perk is that books loaded through CreateSpace always show at least 1 in stock. This is the work around that Amazon uses so that customers will not be reluctant to purchase something that may or may not be immediately available. If you do not warehouse with Amazon and you order through a different printer then the title will show available but not in stock.

CreateSpace also offers expanded distribution without a fee (as of now). This usually pushes the title into the international market. There are still a few catches. Canadians have an entertainment content law that protects national content from being overrun. The best way to sell in Canada is to use a Canadian based distributor or push the Kindle. The Expanded distribution also includes access to bookstores, online retailers, libraries and academic institutions.

CreateSpace is also set up with an eStore which allows authors and publishers to sell directly from the CreateSpace store and make a bit more on the royalties.

Royalties (or Publisher payments):

CreateSpace has one of the better royalty structures and does not hold a minimum. Whatever is earned in a month is released the following month as long as you sign up for direct deposit. The site has a calculator to help the author or publisher set a price for the book that will generate a profit from wherever it is sold. It is useful to research the genre and page counts of other books to make sure that the pricing is competitive while generating a return.



VICTORIA ADAMS is an accountant and financial analyst by profession, but numbers can get numbing. Not in a mood to allow her mind to glaze over, she has always found ways to be creative in her business career by helping in the growth, development or startup of many different kinds of enterprises. That creative spirit extended to many of her leisure activities where she pursued such things as pottery, needlepoint, gardening, and well just about anything that is creative. Her professional background has also made her a perpetual researcher. In this way she developed a deep love of philosophy, religion, history, archeology and anthropology. What she learns she loves to share so she has been a teacher and occasional speaker. For many years her husband tried to get her to share through writing. Now that she has tested the waters with her first book, which ironically was about the first year of learning to live with his dementia, she is ready to reach further and write the things he always wanted to see.

Blog: http://victoriasreadingalcove.wordpress.com/
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