From Rick:

I apologize for not having a blog post last week. Simple answer: too much to do, not enough time. I also will not have a post next week for the same reason (and because I’ll be out of town). I’m trying to catch up, even get ahead. Hopefully by year’s end I’ll be there.

Onward…

I sure that some of you, especially those who have published books on Amazon, have heard that Amazon is closing down CreateSpace and replacing it with KDP Print.

Exactly what does this mean? Well, previously KDP was only for e-books, Amazon’s original platform. Print books were handled through CreateSpace, a self-publishing print-on-demand book service, which Amazon acquired 2005. It began as a company called BookSurge, founded in 2000 in South Carolina. Both of these events predate the Kindle. Thus, few of us had even heard of BookSurge because few were self-publishing, and the Kindle or KDP had not yet seen the light of day.

Here’s a short link: SOME CREATESPACE HISTORY

Once authors could self-publish their e-books, it stood to reason that many would want to make paperbacks available. And that’s when we were introduced to CreateSpace.

That’s where things have stood for the past 8–9 years. While CreateSpace has served us well, it was a separate service, and that meant we needed two different accounts and had to access two different websites to publish and manage our e-books and print books. Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything in one place?

When Amazon announced KDP Print beta several months back as their pilot test of KDP Print, the handwriting on the wall was fairly clear: Amazon was going to close CreateSpace at some point. Naturally, this led to rumors and fears that Amazon was also going to screw authors in the process.

It constantly boggles my mind why everyone believes that Amazon is out to screw the world. From my perspective, the opposite has been true. The only ones getting screwed are the businesses that lacked the foresight to keep up with the changing world and who have staunchly refused to change their ways (like Big Publishing, but despite their complaints, they’ve been profiting through Amazon—just not as much as they’d like).

Amazon isn’t perfect. They do slip up from time to time (occasionally in an embarrassing way), but they’re also quick to fix their mistakes.

Ten years ago years ago, Amazon handed authors everywhere the keys to the kingdom by giving us the chance to earn a living at writing in a way that very few could before. Naturally, the Publishing Industry was upset because they’d been cut out of a big piece of the pie (although they won’t admit it and often thrust the blame upon their authors). And they’ve certainly tried their best to convince everyone that Amazon is Evil.

Well, enough of that. I’m here to assuage your fears about KDP Print. One of my very good writer friends recently emailed me with concerns over this change and had the following questions and concerns:

“Once the books have been shifted, can we still edit out typos and poor word choices, so long as the page count, cover, and front matter remain the same? If I never bothered to shift them, they’ll be done for me? Do we have any choice NOT to have e-books now, but an option to do it later?”

I reassured my friend that the ONLY change was the merging of KDP e-books with the CreateSpace service to make it one all-encompassing service. We’re not being forced to issue e-book if we didn’t have them before or print books if we only want to have e-book format.

I told my friend that you can still revise the books, just like before, and even change the cover if you want or need to. Nothing is different in that regard. Amazon will move the books from CreateSpace to KDP Print for you, or you can do it yourself. Since CreateSpace is closing, the books MUST be moved somehow. If you don’t, they will.

I’m going to have to check on something. You have the option of taking it out of print before the move if you don’t want it on KDP Print, but I’m not sure if it will them transfer as an unpublished/unavailable book thgat you can activate later or if you’ll have to republish it. I’ll let you know when I find out.

No matter how your books gets moved, your ISBN number won’t change. It doesn’t matter if you used their ISBN or your own ISBN—no change.

Now, let me add a clarification regarding shifting your books over. Initially, authors could move their print books from CreateSpace at any time when it was KDP Print beta and shortly after. However, Amazon recently removed the option to move your books whenever you want.

Instead, it seems that they’re going to make the option available in waves. I found this out when I tried a couple of weeks ago to move one of my books. Further investigation revealed the reason. I understand this because there are a LOT of books up at CreateSpace. I’m guessing millions. Giving everyone access at the same time would lead to problems for authors and Amazon alike, especially given that many authors would likely wait until the very last minute to do so. I think it was a very wise decision and that someone at Amazon realized the chaos that would result.

However, this won’t stop anyone from publishing NEW books on KDP Print. My first novel, “More Than Magick,” had been up on Amazon through my most recent publisher. Since I was now republishing it myself, it needed a new ISBN number, so I couldn’t just transfer it anyway. I was able to republish it both in e-book and print. And I have to say that the process was very easy and the only tiny hitch was my error. Inside the book on the copyright page, I mistyped the new ISBN number and someone (a real human, I’m sure) caught it and kicked it back to me to fix. This surprised me because I would not have expected anyone to check the inside of the book for anything other than basic formatting problems. I don’t think the CreateSpace folks would have.

In case anyone is wondering, all of the reviews from the previous versions from three prior publishers have all transferred over. Nothing was lost. Even the sales ranks moved remained intact.

I’ve read some rumors and a few horror stories on the various discussion forums out there. Some writers apparently have had problems with formatting getting messed up when they converted their books over from CreateSpace.

As readers of this blog know, I’ve done several posts on the importance of clean source files to begin with. I’m totally convinced that any problems were caused by the authors uploading messy manuscript files. I have NEVER had an issue with files uploaded to Amazon and only once with one I uploaded to Smashwords (a minor formatting issue that was my fault).

One last note: When KDP Print was in the beta test phase, it did NOT offer proof copies prior to the book going live. Once you submitted it, it was live. There were also a couple of markets not available that had been available in CreateSpace. THESE HAVE NOW CHANGED. With the current KDP Print the same markets are available as before and you can order a proof copy or copies prior to having the book go live.

Therefore, I feel confident in saying that the switchover from CreateSpace to KDP Print is a very good thing and that Amazon is not out to screw anyone with this move. They’re not paying authors less in royalties (as some have claimed) as a result of the move. This change makes good business sense for Amazon AND authors. It’s now one-stop shopping.

But I’m sure some out there won’t believe me and that some are going to have problems, mostly their own fault. I can’t rule out occasional glitches on Amazon’s end. No system is perfect. I’ve read at least one article saying that the customer service for KDP Print is lacking. However, if that’s true, I’m sure Amazon will iron it out because it’s in their best interest (and one of Amazon prime philosophies) to keep their customers happy.

–Rick