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Amazon finally pulls the plug on the Createspace store

Crumbly Writer

I was shocked today, when attempting to send a new editor a copy of the book she edited. Instead of being taken to the traditional createspace store, I'm now redirected to Amazon.com, where I, as the creator of this work, am expected to pay full retail price for any copies I purchase (for me, that's $9.99 instead of $3.78 I used to pay for it).

I'm guessing that Createspace isn't long for this world, since Amazon now 'formats your ebook for print' for you now (without any controls as to how it formats them) and they've now closed the CS story (which provided offers better reimbursement rates than Amazon international does).

Once again, I'm looking for another print book outlet. :(

Crumbly Writer

Update: Apparently authors can still purchase discounted copies ($3.99, which with taxes and 'standard shipping', comes up to $7.98) if they select 'order copies' from Createspace, but users are no longer allowed to access Createspace directly to purchase books (which means their better return policy is out the window).

What's more, the new 'order copies' option means authors CAN'T sell their own books themselves, since they're presumably stamping each book with "Draft copy"!

Once again, it's clear that Amazon doesn't give a damn about authors, as they see them as yet another source of cheap labor for them to churn out huge profits by selling kazillions of products which they pay little for.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

As Jim Nabors used to say while in his classic Gomer mode, "Surprise, surprise, surprise." Though I'm not surprised.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

As Jim Nabors used to say while in his classic Gomer mode, "Surprise, surprise, surprise." Though I'm not surprised.

Amazon allowed CS to operate independently for a LONG time, but once they took over their services (folding them into their 'automated print book' feature (to produce crappy looking print books), it essentially signaled the end was near.

I suspected Amazon was finally yanking the 'independence' card when CS was suddenly no longer able to intervene with Amazon customer service issues. If the CS staff couldn't contact Amazon themselves, you knew it was a significant shift in Amazon's strategy (i.e. 'we no longer need you, we've already stolen all your technology, so quit botherin' us!')

I'm still waiting to hear on their 'official' position on it (CS's, not Amazon's, since Amazon doesn't respond to ANY customer questions, and even fewer vendor inquiries).

I'll keep selling (ebooks at least) through them, but it's a slap in the face of all the loyal CS readers. But then, I haven't checked the CS purchase stats in some time, maybe they've been losing sales to Amazon for some time.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

since Amazon doesn't respond to ANY customer questions


Amazon always responded to me within 24 hours. And once I got the email response, I was able to reply to the email so I'd be communicating with the same person until the question was answered. One time there was even a place to click to have an Amazon person call me. My phone rang almost instantly.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

A response from an author on wattpad:


CS is still there and functioning, all they have done is closed the CS store front. You can certainly still buy author copies through CS. The rumour is that Amazon will close it down once the KDP interface has the same options (such as author copies and ED).


I'm waiting to hear back what "ED" is (Electronic Distribution?).

She also said (which I don't fully understand):


Personally I've moved all my paperbacks out of CS and created my Amazon versions through KDP and went with Ingrams for ED. It's simplified payment for me as CS only pays by cheque which is a pain in the butt waiting 4 weeks for it to turn up each month and then it takes 6 weeks to clear! I've also discovered I make far more with Ingrams, an ED sale thru CS used to earn me $1.50 and I now make $6 with Ingrams :)

Switch Blayde

@Switch Blayde

I'm waiting to hear back what "ED" is


Expanded Distribution

ED gets your paperback into all sorts of stores like B&N online, Book Depository, Walmart etc

For me, I sell more paperbacks elsewhere in the world than I do on Amazon and I sell far more paperbacks now than I did when I was with a publisher who had my books on B&N store shelves.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I'm waiting to hear back what "ED" is (Electronic Distribution?).

She also said (which I don't fully understand):

I don't think it's 'Electronic Distribution', since we're talking about print books (from CS and Ingram Sparks). Instead it sounds like they're talking about Author Earnings (though how you get "ED" out of that, I don't know).

The problem with the CS store going away, is that it forces Amazon and their 'world wide' sales options (which was previously a trade-off for worse price returns) on every sale. In other words, without CS to sell the books at a reasonable price, I'll have to jack up the price of ALL my print books to take in the extra 30% cut that Amazon takes on each sale.

This is clearly an attempt to remove the 'independent author' from Amazon's sales equation, reducing authors to a low-level 'independent contractor' who has no leverage to dictate terms under any circumstances. Before, we could choose how big a cut of our profits we'd trade for a wider (global) distribution, now we're selling everything globally, for the same poor return rate, whether we want it or not.

As for "Ingrams" (Ingram-Sparks), virtually NO bookstores will carry createspace books simply because they are owned by Amazon. IS is more expensive, but they allow booksellers to return any and all unsold books they order (just like all traditional publishers).

For most independent publishers, this doesn't amount to anything, since few are orders hundreds or thousands of books at a time, instead only ordering a single copy (maybe with a backup copy). The problem with IS is the upfront cost: $57/year, expensive 'update charges' (so you can't afford to ever update the book) and other misc. fees). IS isn't making any substantial money, and aren't willing to change to an independent model (they started out trying to attract smaller traditional publishers, saw no interest, and aren't interested in the single-author model Amazon, CS, SW and lulu all rely on).

Essentially, IS is the ONLY way to get your book into bookstores, but it will cost you substantially to do so, so you'll need a certain amount of guaranteed sales to justify the upfront costs each time you publish.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

For me, I sell more paperbacks elsewhere in the world than I do on Amazon and I sell far more paperbacks now than I did when I was with a publisher who had my books on B&N store shelves.

"Expanded Distribution" makes sense, since that's the determining factor governing how much profit you earn vs. how much you surrender for each copy sold. Amazon has switched to a 'global distribution' scheme for everyone, whether they want it or not.

IS offers the cheapest international sales, at a much-higher upfront cost.

I'm curious, Switch. How are you making your print sales? Person-to-person, direct-sales (i.e. via PayPal or credit card), or some other means. For me, since my ebooks are only a few dollars cheaper ($9.99 vs $6.99) I sell almost NO print copies, even though most individual sales to individuals are glad to fork over $20 without a second thought for a well-done professional 6-9 book.

My main issue with IS is learning to publish using Adobe InDesign. I can't figure out how to retrofit my existing page structure into their format, since InDesign is a designer tool, rather a publisher or writer tool.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I'm curious, Switch. How are you making your print sales?


My novels are not available in print.

1. I didn't want to deal with the more complex cover (spine and back cover).

2. I didn't want to deal with formatting (there really isn't much formatting for ebooks).

3. I thought 80% or more of book sales were ebook. Everyone I know reads ebooks (but they're not teenagers — see below).

However, it burned me on my YA novel. It seems teens don't read ebooks. A generation that does everything on their phones and other electronic devices wants to read a paper book. Go figure.

The other thing I didn't count on was teens don't have credit cards. They buy their books in bookstores or get them from libraries. Occasionally grandma gives them an Amazon gift card, but they buy print. I should have continued to plug away at finding a literary agent for that book. There's a reason my WIP novel (finished the first draft the other day) is back to erotica.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

However, it burned me on my YA novel. It seems teens don't read ebooks. A generation that does everything on their phones and other electronic devices wants to read a paper book. Go figure.

I've mentioned this before, but it's not that they won't do anything electronic, it's that everyone prefers paper books, all things being equal. Unfortunately, nothing is equal. Books that cost $24.98 when sold via a traditional publisher (where the print book is CHEAPER than the ebook), will sell MORE print books. However, if you drop the price for the ebooks by only a couple bucks, and NO ONE will purchase paper anymore.

I'm the same as you. I've learned to turn out a beautiful looking book, but I can't tell them because they cost more than my ebooks.

I'd thought you said that you sold "more paperbacks elsewhere in the world" than you do ebooks, so I was asking how you were selling them, but apparently you never made that claim.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

It seems teens don't read ebooks. A generation that does everything on their phones and other electronic devices wants to read a paper book.


A typical smart phone is too small of a device to use as an e-reader. Most teens don't have the resources to have a tablet or dedicated e-reader.

And as you said most teens don't have credit/debit cards and there isn't anywhere you can go to buy e-books with cash.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I'd thought you said that you sold "more paperbacks elsewhere in the world" than you do ebooks,


That wasn't me.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Dominions Son


A typical smart phone is too small of a device to use as an e-reader.


These kids access wattpad on their smart phones where they participate in the social media and read stories. Many even write their stories on their phones.

Another author asked readers under 18 years old if they buy ebooks. That's where I got the information. When they buy a book they buy (or borrow from the library) paper. They seem to do everything else on their phone.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

When they buy a book they buy (or borrow from the library) paper.


Most libraries don't loan out e-books, and when most 18 year old's buy regular (as opposed to comic) books, it's and impulse buy and they are paying cash.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

Most libraries don't loan out e-books


I believe that's not true in the UK.

AJ

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Most libraries don't loan out e-books, and when most 18 year old's buy regular (as opposed to comic) books, it's and impulse buy and they are paying cash.


Not true where I live. You can borrow an ebook at our libraries.

My target age group is 13–17 years old. I can only go by what they said in that thread. They like paperbacks. Like the feel. I have no idea how they buy them. But it's not impulsive buying. When they have the money (and or time), they look for a book to read.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

A typical smart phone is too small of a device to use as an e-reader. Most teens don't have the resources to have a tablet or dedicated e-reader.

Most new parents I know let their very young children use their iPhones (often as infants) and often purchase them their own iPads. It's cheap for a babysitting replacement. Most teens probably don't have the latest iPads, but I bet many have the iPad minis.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Most new parents I know let their very young children use their iPhones (often as infants)


True, you see them on it all the time at restaurants, doctors offices, etc.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

but I bet many have the iPad minis.


I wouldn't use anything that small as an e-reader.

Capt. Zapp

@Dominions Son

Most teens don't have the resources to have a tablet or dedicated e-reader.


An inexpensive tablet can be had for under $50 from many retailers. Of course they do not have access via 4G or any cellular service, but can connect through wi-fi. So if they use it at home, they can load up their ebooks on it and take it with them. I have 2 of them set up like that. one for me and one for my teenage son.

JohnBobMead
Updated:

All I can say concerning the last several posts is, how the world has changed! My youngest grandparent was born in 1900; she was 27 when she died, but my mother's mother lived to be 102, dying in 2001. My parent's were born in 1925, my sister in 1958 and myself in 1960. So my mother's parents went from horse and buggy to Neill Armstrong walking on the moon to personal computers being a fairly common item in the house. In my lifetime we've gone from experimental cardreading mainframes that filled the basement of city hall that had a maximum memory size of 12kb (dad was system's analyst for the city of Salem, OR for a couple of years in the late 1960s) to small children playing with cheapo $50.00 tablet computers more powerful than anything available to the Apollo astronauts, by far. $50.00 was what my sister paid for her first battery operated calculator in the early 1970s, all it did was add, subtract, multiply and divide. Had the most amazing purple leds for the numbers, I coveted that calculator. I remember the controversy over whether students would be allowed to have battery operated calculators during tests; years later, when I was attending a community college, if you didn't have one of your own, they sent you to the school library to check one out for duration of the test. You still had to understand which numbers to enter and which operators to apply, and in what order, it just eliminated the really stupid math errors caused by misaligning your numbers on the page, stuff like that.

Edit: "All I can say..." Well, for me, it was a short post.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@JohnBobMead


$50.00 was what my sister paid for her first battery operated calculator in the early 1970s


My friend was an engineer for the City of NY back then (or maybe it was for the State). When he had them buy him a Texas Instruments calculator, they didn't know how to handle it. Computers had to be secured so they couldn't "walk," so they chained it to his desk.

Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

My youngest grandparent was born in 1900; she was 27 when she died, but my mother's mother lived to be 102, dying in 2001.


One of my great grandparents (specifically my father's paternal grandmother) lived 1891-1997.

I came this close | | to knowing someone who lived in three centuries. :)

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Most new parents I know let their very young children use their iPhones (often as infants) and often purchase them their own iPads. It's cheap for a babysitting replacement. Most teens probably don't have the latest iPads, but I bet many have the iPad minis.


The 13 month old grandchild knows how to swipe a smartphone to look at pictures and play games. The 8 and 9 year olds have had tablets for a couple of years. The 12 year old has his own phone and various game consoles.

Crumbly Writer

@JohnBobMead

All I can say concerning the last several posts is, how the world has changed!

All I can say is, for me, the most important technological improvement in the past hundred years is the use of indoor plumbing (I shiver thinking of reusing outhouses anytime I read the various 'relive your life' stories. The fact you can now while away your time on the John doing research (or shopping) is even better. 'D

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

Update: Heard back from CS. It's official, the CS Store is no more. And yes, the larger return to authors is over (and the main reason by the change from Amazon, although they claim that readers prefer buying things via Amazon (one-click ordering, Prime shipping, etc.), though they provide no evidence of that claim.

In an attempt to appease authors, CS is offering a 'transitional rate' on print book sales for the next month (akin to how the Republican Congress is offering to 'phase in' the wildly unpopular laws they keep trying to pawn off on the U.S. public).

The long and short, if you sell via CS, I suggest you order multiple books in bulk, keep them on hand, and ONLY handle sales to customers via PayPal (i.e. they pay YOU, and you ship them the print books). That's the ONLY way to maintain the same return on each book. Even better, mark the Amazon retail price up to $19.99, and then offer 'discounts' to frequent readers (at your normal price). That way, you won't lose as much money to the lower-return Amazon prices.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
sejintenej

@JohnBobMead

My youngest grandparent was born in 1900; she was 27 when she died, but my mother's mother lived to be 102, dying in 2001. My parent's were born in 1925,

Laugh. I'm having problems because my father's death certificate says he was born in 1896. His citations give an age which points to the same year. However other official records point to 1892! I saw him just once before he died in 1950 and neither he nor my mother would not have known any of the electronics we have today I don't think she even saw mains electricity or TV. On her side one family tree is known back to the 800's

Replies:   JohnBobMead  Joe Long
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

(I shiver thinking of reusing outhouses anytime I read the various 'relive your life' stories.

I have nightmares of having the screaming abdabs late one night after dark when it was bitterly cold, windy and swamping down with rain. The dunny (that's strine) was right down the garden and no electricity or gas light

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I suggest you order multiple books in bulk,


Are they stamped "draft copy?"

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Are they stamped "draft copy?"

That was my fear, based on how we used to order books for ourselves from CS (ex: anything bought from the site was a "Draft Copy", but anything purchased from the store was a "Retail Copy"). However, based on the latest message I got from them, that's no longer the case. So now, any book purchased (by the author) directly from CS is a regular retail copy.

JohnBobMead

@sejintenej

On her side one family tree is known back to the 800's

I'm not sure how far back my cousin has researched mom's side of the family; my maternal grandmother's side is from Sweden (she was a first generation American, both of her parents had immigrated from Sweden), but if I recall correctly from the one Lindstrom family reunion I attended, in St. George, UT, (one of mom's brothers lives there and hosted it, that's the only UT connection) they've traced back to Lief the Lucky; I don't know enough about their research to know if I should believe them or not. My maternal grandfather's line goes way back in South Carolina, I think, my cousin would know more about that. Dad's side, the family name we can trace back to circa 1850 when they moved to Oregon, but where they came from is real murky; you'd think that Minor Moss Mead would be pretty unique, but two of them appear in the same census, and I haven't checked into the dates of the census for those areas to see if it's the same guy, different guys, and neither of the entries looks right, anyway. My paternal grandmother, the one who died at 27, was from England, and the family there has prettty good records; I've no idea how to contact them, we're completely out of touch since dad died; I'm sure if I really tried, I could track them down, but my sister and I are the end of this branch of the family so it doesn't really matter all that much. Well, other than to let them know that; well, I do have one surviving cousin on dad's side, in California, but I haven't had contact since shortly after dad died back in 2001. It's amazing my sister and I have stayed in touch as well as we have.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@sejintenej

Laugh. I'm having problems because my father's death certificate says he was born in 1896. His citations give an age which points to the same year. However other official records point to 1892!


I've done genealogy for about 20 years, mostly about people in the US but some in the UK & Germany.

To judge the accuracy of a document, try to determine the source of the information. For death certificates, tombstones and obituaries, it's the survivors, which are normally a spouse or children - people who were not present when the deceased was born and got the info second hand decades later. Look for records where the person's parents supplied the birth info as close to the event as possible, such as birth certificates, church records (baptisms & christenings), newspaper announcements and census records. Records where the person themselves supplied the birth date, but as an adult, include marriage licenses and military records. However, any or all of them can be in error.

Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

On her side one family tree is known back to the 800's


Catholics were good at keeping birth, marriage & death records, but most places in the US it was illegal or frowned upon to be Catholic before 1776. German records usually only go back to the end of the Thirty Years's War (1660's). UK church records start in the late 1500's. Before that you pretty much have to tie into a royal line to have any records still in existence (or even recorded at all.)

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

From an article at: https://writersafterdark.net/2017/03/02/is-amazon-firing-createspace/

KDP's chief selling point to CreateSpace authors is their dashboard. Transferring a print book to KDP allows authors to view all of their sales in a single place. No more jumping between the KDP site for electronic sales and CreateSpace for print sales.

A nice feature, but what is more interesting is the stuff KDP isn't offering yet, and the list is fairly extensive.

KDP's site provides a comparison chart. Most of their features are marked "coming soon." KDP also offers this "important" note:

Important: CreateSpace still offers features like physical proofs, author copies, expanded distribution, and professional publishing services like editing, design, and formatting help (among others). KDP will add these features in the future.

Although KDP has a dashboard and the same royalties as CreateSpace, there is no guarantee, with a beta agreement, that terms won't change or that any of the coming soon features will be offered. The thing about the "future" is you seldom can predict its arrival.


and

The comparison chart is intended to make it clear that KDP is not CreateSpace.

KDP also requires the signing of a new agreement with them and notes that, after transfer, your CreateSpace "stuff" will live on only in the archive.

After you publish your CreateSpace book on KDP, we'll automatically remove your CreateSpace paperback from sale, and your KDP sales will be tracked in your KDP sales and royalty reports. You can still access historical sales reports on CreateSpace but you will not need to take any additional action there.

These factors all suggest that this is not a merger of names and services. KDP is doing its own POD thing and their "thing" does not include CreateSpace.

Since CreateSpace hasn't announced a new ebook service, it appears they are okay with the poaching. It seems a lot like training your replacement.


As noted, there are too many important features KDP isn't offering. The lack of formatting services, the absence of a physical proof, and the inability to purchase at cost copies are deal breakers. On the last, consider how you might run a giveaway or display at a book fair if you are required to buy your books at full retail?

The future of CreateSpace may seem a bit uncertain. But until KDP can offer clarity as to what they will offer, when they will offer it, the full and finalized terms and conditions, and the costs of their services, it doesn't make a lot of sense to jump on KDP's beta POD offering.

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