CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing Merge:

What This Means for Indie Authors

This past week, the publishing community received big news from Amazon: CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) are going to become one service. This is the latest in a series of changes to these two platforms, and we understand that it may be tough to make sense of how the moves affect you as an author.

We want to make it easy for you. Here, you will find a cheat sheet full of need-to-know information about the merger. We’ll break down how this will impact your current and future book projects and offer suggestions on next steps to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.

What Exactly Happened?

On August 28, 2018, KDP sent an email to customers informing them that CreateSpace was being absorbed into KDP. Here are the key points from that email:

  • In a few weeks, Amazon will start automatically moving CreateSpace books to KDP. Books will remain available for sale throughout the move, and authors will continue to earn royalties. However, once the process begins, authors will be unable to edit existing titles or create new titles on CreateSpace.
  • To align KDP’s distribution with CreateSpace’s distribution, KDP will now give authors the ability to sell paperbacks to physical bookstores in the US, as well as on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.au, with Amazon.mx coming soon.
  • Print quality will not suffer. KDP paperbacks will be printed in the same facilities, on the same printers, and by the same people that produced CreateSpace books.
  • If you happen to have a release planned soon or you would like to start the move yourself, KDP is making updates that will allow you to move your entire catalog in just a few steps.
  • Going forward, all authors will be paid on KDP’s payment schedule, which sends monthly royalties approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which they were earned.
  • Some low page count books will see an increase in printing fees when they are printed in the UK and EU. (If your titles are affected by this change, you will receive a separate email on this topic. Learn more about KDP’s printing fees here.)

Simply Put…

This means that authors who used CreateSpace in the past must use KDP once the transition is complete. This affects all authors who currently have CreateSpace accounts, and if that includes you, in a few weeks, your books will automatically be moved from CreateSpace to KDP.

CreateSpace vs. Kindle Direct Publishing: What’s the Difference?

For the majority of authors, services will not change much. Here is a breakdown of what will stay the same during the move:

  • Your books will remain available for sale.
  • You’ll continue to earn royalties.
  • Your books will be printed in the same facilities.
  • Your books will be printed by the same people who produced CreateSpace titles.
  • The printing quality will not be affected because your books will be printed on the same printers CreateSpace used.

However, there are some key differences between these platforms that you should be aware of, and we’ve outlined a few of the major ones below. For a full list of differences, you should consult KDP’s list here.

  • Author payments: You will be paid on KDP’s payment schedule going forward. Instead of getting monthly royalties thirty days after the end of the month in which they were earned, you will now get your royalties sixty days after the end of the month in which they were earned. In other words, you will be paid in October for any royalties earned in August through KDP (unlike CreateSpace, which would pay you in September).
  • Printing fees: Some books that have low page counts will see an increase in printing fees when they are printed in the UK and EU. This affects a small number of titles, and if your titles are affected, you will receive a separate email about how this affects you. You can read more about these fees here.
  • Expanded distribution: In the past, CreateSpace allowed you to select expanded distribution for a title without making the book available for sale on Amazon. This is no longer the case with KDP. Henceforth, any titles you have that are not available for sale with Amazon will be held in “draft” status and won’t be available for sale anywhere! To prevent this holdup in sales, we strongly advise you to log into your CreateSpace account and select “Amazon.com” under the “Standard Distribution” channels.

Also, if you had selected CreateSpace Direct under expanded distribution for a book title on your CreateSpace account, this option will no longer be offered through KDP. Instead, you have the option listed as “Bookstores and Online Retailers.” If you are an author who has chosen CreateSpace Direct for any of your titles, you will receive a notification email encouraging you to select an alternate expanded distribution option.

Pro tip: We recommend that authors use KDP for distribution to Amazon and use IngramSpark for expanded distribution. Not only will this be less expensive than the expanded distribution rates for CreateSpace, but you will also receive 10 percent off any editorial services that you purchase through Kirkus by clicking on “Kirkus Editorial” on their Experts page.

What Should I Do Next?

  • For current books: KDP has taken on all the grunt work for you. If you already have a book (or multiple) through CreateSpace, they will automatically transfer your books from the CreateSpace platform to KDP in the coming weeks. You will be notified by email if you need to update your Expanded Distribution settings or if your titles will incur additional fees in the UK and EU due to a low-page word count. To facilitate this transition, it might be a good idea to open up a KDP account at http://kdp.amazon.com ahead of time. If you have created a Kindle e-book in the past, you should already have a KDP account, and the login will be the same as your general Amazon.com login.
  • For future books: We suggest that you create (or use your existing) KDP account for all your future titles. Be sure your banking and tax information is up-to-date.
  • Take stock of your publishing goals: It would be wise during this time of transition to reflect on your publishing goals. Since it might take a few weeks for all of your titles to carry over to KDP (admittedly, the email from KDP was a bit vague about exactly when the transition would take place), you might want to take the time to get the books you plan to print with KDP in the future professionally edited now. Kirkus Editorial offers an excellent set of services for independent authors, including collaborative editing, copyediting, and final polishing (proofreading). Additionally, if you are already thinking about next steps for book promotion, you might want to consider investing in a book review from Kirkus Indie.

What Does This Mean for Independent Publishing?

While all this change might feel like a cyclone now, we think this move is actually a smart one that will result in a calmer self-publishing landscape in the long term. Since Amazon owns both CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing, the streamlining of their services allows authors to enjoy the best of both platforms and eliminates customer confusion about which platform to choose.

Indie publishing is nothing if not dynamic—that’s what makes it fun, right?—so there will surely be more change to come. And we’ll be here for you when the winds start to pick up again…

Additional Kindle Direct Publishing Resources:

  • KDP guide: KDP released this guide to give you all the information and tips about what you need to know before, during, and after the move. By providing an overview of the process, a preparation checklist, and a FAQs page, you should rest easy knowing that your book is in good hands.
  • KDP University webinars: These interactive webinars are free and frequent throughout September. They will offer an interactive tour of the website and discuss title requirements and best practices. Click on the link to sign up and secure your free registration.
  • KDP customer support:At any time during the transition or after, you can contact KDP directly online or by phone (866-321-8851) to speak with someone in English.