CreateSpace vs KDP Print

Today’s in-depth comparison of the two major print-on-demand platforms, CreateSpace vs KDP Print, is brought to you by the talented, well-connected (and sassy) Gundi Gabrielle, who is a bestselling author and a blogger of her global traveling adventures.

If you ever published a Kindle book on Amazon, chances are you also created (or contemplated) a print version of your Kindle book and published via CreateSpace, Amazon’s print-on-demand (POD) platform.

In the summer of 2016, Amazon launched a 2nd POD platform – “KDP Print” – right in the KDP backend that most authors use to publish Kindle books.

At that time, only a limited number of authors were invited, but on February 15, 2017, KDP Print – still in Beta testing – was opened to the public.

Now suddenly, authors were scratching their heads trying to decide which platform to use, with KDP strongly promoting their new POD feature right within the author account.

You probably noticed that whenever you publish a new Kindle book these days, a pop-up will appear right after you hit “Publish,” inviting you to add a print version.

If you are happy and familiar with CreateSpace, you have probably been wondering whether you should switch?

While KDP was quick to add a comparison chart for both platforms, a few important aspects were left out. Plus, KDP Print is still undergoing frequent updates – even during the writing of this article, which we’ll work hard to keep up-to-date.

In addition, you can’t just switch back and forth at will. Once you move a book over to KDP, the move is permanent. It’s a one-way street.

So, in this article you will learn:

  • A point by point comparison of CreateSpace vs. KDP Print
  • Which POD is better
  • Current and upcoming changes
  • How one simple CreateSpace feature ruined the ranking of one of my books

Why a 2nd POD Platform?

While Amazon tends to be rather tight-lipped about their plans and motives, what crystallized during several conversations I had with Amazon reps was that KDP Print had been created to more strongly entice authors to add print versions to their Kindle books. Something many had not bothered with before.

Having a POD option right within the KDP backend seemed to make the process of adding a print book a lot easier for authors, and it allowed Amazon to reach out to authors more directly than ever before.

If you use KDP for your Kindle books, then you have already seen the combined accounting interface. Obviously, that is an advantage, as is not having to manually connect the two versions on the Amazon sales page.

Beyond that though, is it really a good idea to switch at this point? Or does CreateSpace still offer many advantages over KDP that should delay such a move?

Let’s have a look.

CreateSpace vs. KDP Print Comparison

We will start with the official comparison chart on KDP’s website and then dig a little deeper into features and differences not mentioned here:

International Distribution

From this chart, it seems distribution across international stores is identical, except that Japan is available only on KDP Print.

Notice any countries missing though…?

What about Canada?

Yes, what about our Canadian friends and readers? And our Oz and Kiwi readers, Asian readers, African readers…?

The problem with POD via CreateSpace has always been that ordering print books was only possible through Amazon.com and most of the European stores.

Canada was added to CreateSpace as late as 2015, but is still not part of KDP Print distribution.

Of course, Canadian readers can order through the US store, but many will not be aware that your book is available in print, and most will not bother to check.

While KDP Print books can now be ordered through the Japanese store, which is a nice touch, no official answer was given though as to whether Japan has a local printing plant (which would greatly decrease shipping times and cost for customers in the region) or if the books are still shipped all the way from the US.

Amazon printing plants in Europe are a well-known fact, but when asked about Japan I was given “no comment.” Upon checking with several of my author friends in the region, it seems Amazon POD books are still being shipped from the US, so apparently no printing plant in the region just yet.

Also, there was no confirmation about the Australian store being added to either POD platform soon. The recent opening of Amazon fulfillment centers in both Australia and Japan though gives hope that eventually Amazon POD books will be added as well.

We shall see….

If worldwide distribution is important to you – or getting into (physical) bookstores – you might be better off adding a platform like Ingram Spark or Lightning Source. In that case, be sure to purchase your own ISBN to use across all platforms, so bestseller ranking doesn’t get diluted over several ISBNs. Authors have also reported that Amazon’s ranking algorithm seems to favor Amazon ISBNs, known as ASIN, over external ones if there are two or more options.

Show Me the Money!

One of the most important questions on every author’s mind is, of course, the financial aspect: Is there a difference in earnings and royalty calculation?

The short answer is: yes and no.

For the US store: Same royalty rate of 60% and same calculation of production/printing costs

For Europe: Same as US store except for books with fewer than 110 pages.

Let me show you:

Cost of Printing

These are the two charts that explain how each platform calculates production costs:

KDP Print

CreateSpace

 On both platforms, the production/printing cost is a combination of “fixed cost” and an “additional per page” charge.

Those costs are identical on both platforms for sales on Amazon.com. They are also identical for books with more than 110 pages sold on the European stores. For books with fewer than 110 pages, however, CreateSpace tends to have a slight advantage in Europe:

EXAMPLE A: 100 Page Book Sold on Amazon.co.uk

KDP Print: £1.70 fixed cost, no additional per page cost – TOTAL Production cost = £1.70

CreateSpace: £0.70 fixed cost + (£0.01 per page charge x 100 pages) = £1.70

=> exactly the same

With fewer than 100 pages, CreateSpace will cost slightly less than KDP, while books containing between 101-108 pages will cost slightly more on CreateSpace.

EXAMPLE B: 100 Page Book Sold on Amazon.de

KDP Print: €1,90 fixed cost, no additional per page cost – TOTAL Production cost: €1,90

CreateSpace: €0,60 fixed cost + (€0.012 per page charge x 100 pages) = €1,80

=> only at 108 pages is production cost the same. With fewer than 108 pages, CreateSpace pricing gets lower.

Royalty

Both platforms apply a 60% royalty rate for books sold through the Amazon stores. The calculation is based on the “List Price”.

CreateSpace clearly defines “list price” as the price set by the author.

On KDP, the definition isn’t quite as clear. List price is defined as the price the customer sees on the Amazon Sales page.

You probably noticed that the author price is often crossed out on the sales page, and Amazon instead sells the book at a different – usually lower – price. This price is whatever the algorithm deems the best converting price at any given time.

After some conflicting answers I received earlier this year, Amazon now confirmed that KDP will also base royalty calculations on the author’s set price, regardless of how much the book is actually selling for.

Bonus Tip!

In this context, here is a great hack I learned from Derek Doepker that doubled – and in some cases tripled – my print income:

Start with a list price that you feel most appropriate. Leave it for a few weeks and let the Amazon algorithm use it as a base to find the best converting price.

Then, once the sales price has stabilized, raise your list price. Oftentimes, Amazon will continue with the lower price in the range that you initially established, while you get paid royalties on the much higher list price.

So, if you set your list price at $22.99, and Amazon sells it for $18.99, your commission is based on the $22.99.  So how that can be really really good 😉

Obviously, this should be done within reason and ethically, but even raising it by a few dollars per book can significantly raise your print income.

Accounting

The obvious advantage of KDP Print is the combined accounting interface where all sales and royalties – for both Kindle and Print versions – are presented together in the same chart.

Up until recently though, KDP’s accounting backend was frustrating at times. Particularly disappointing was the fact that you could only access sales figures for the last 90 days.

Beyond that time frame, you had to download an Excel report – for each month separately! – and then have Excel add it all together. This was tedious, impractical, and frustrating for tax purposes.

While I was writing this very article, KDP rolled out a major update to its accounting interface, which now allows easy online access to sales numbers all the way back and monthly accounting at least until October 2016. Monthly periods before this still have to be exported to Excel.

This evened the score between the two platforms significantly, and clunky KDP accounting is no longer a reason to stay with CreateSpace – which doesn’t have the most practical accounting backend either, but at least it allows for online access to your entire paperback accounting.

One major difference that remains is the payout schedule…

Payout Schedule

CreateSpace: 30 days vs. KDP: 60 days

Getting paid every 30 days is obviously better than 60, so at this point it becomes a question of preference between faster payout vs. combined accounting interface as far as the financial aspects are concerned.

Author Copies, Print Proofs, & Expanded Distribution

Looking further down the official comparison chart, we notice three features missing on KDP Print:

  • Wholesale Author Copies = Authors can order copies of their books at production price
  • Physical Print Proofs = If you’d like to see a physical proof of your book to make sure it meets your standards before publishing, this feature is currently only available at CreateSpace
  • Expanded Distribution to other online and offline bookstores like Barnes & Noble, distributors like Ingram, as well as certified resellers (CreateSpace Direct), libraries, and academic institutions

All three are obviously important and would alone be reason enough to stay with CreateSpace, but rumor is that KDP Print is going to add these features soon, so I will leave it at that.

Professional publishing services, such as cover design, editing, formatting, and marketing, are only available on CreateSpace at the moment. No word yet on this addition to KDP Print. For most authors, however, this is probably the least important distinction as there are plenty of other services that provide these services.

One Major Difference That Can Affect Your Ranking

While many of the above features seem to favor CreateSpace over KDP Print – at least for the time being – there is one major difference that might outweigh them all:

Every time you upload an update, CreateSpace takes down your print/paperback version, which is an entirely separate entity from your Kindle book as far as ranking is concerned.

On the other hand, KDP – both print and Kindle – keep your old version up and available for purchase until the new version is approved.

Having your print version taken down can be a big deal when that version is selling well (e.g., when you are “riding the algorithm,” and Amazon naturally promotes your paperback book).

I experienced this firsthand with one of my travel books. Over several months, print sales were consistent and actually increasing, without extra promos needed.

Then I had to upload an update and the print version was taken down while the updates were in review. The paperback completely disappeared from the Amazon store for almost a full day. While that may not seem like much, it was enough to interrupt the great run this print book had enjoyed, and it reset the algorithm to some degree.

Yes, there are numerous factors that contribute to ranking and sales fluctuations, but the change was so sudden (and permanent) from one day to the next that there is no question of a correlation.

And once the damage is done, it’s not easily repaired. This book still has decent sales and occasionally outranks Lonely Planet at #1, but there is no comparison to the way it was thriving before the update.

Taking a book down during the review process is standard practice with CreateSpace, and there are no plans to change that procedure.

Since KDP keeps your old version available until the new one is approved, there is no interruption. The print version never disappears from the Amazon store, and your ranking is not affected or interrupted.

So if you have a well-converting paperback, switching to KDP Print will be the better option, certainly once you need to update.

As I mentioned in the beginning, moving your print version over to KDP is irreversible. Once you switch, you cannot move back, at least not for that particular book.

Of course, you can always create a new print book in CreateSpace, link it with your Kindle book, and then delete the KDP Print version…but you cannot switch an existing paperback back and forth.

CreateSpace or KDP – What’s it Gonna Be?

Looking at all the above factors, CreateSpace – for the moment at least – still presents a few more advantages, though they are slowly eroding as KDP Print keeps adding new features in the coming months.

For now, the pros for CreateSpace are:

  • 30 Day Payout
  • Distribution in Canada
  • Wholesale Author Copies
  • Expanded Distribution
  • Physical Print Proofs
  • Professional Publishing Services
  • Slightly lower production costs for Europe (for books of less than 110 pages)

KDP is quickly catching up with most of the above, however, and currently…

KDP’s advantages are:

  • Combined Publishing and Accounting Platform for both Kindle and Print Versions
  • Easier to setup straight from your KDP platform
  • Distribution in Japan
  • Keeps Your Older Version Available during Updates

A lot of effort seems to be invested in making KDP a superior POD platform. Keep in mind that KDP’s print feature has barely existed for a year and only been open to the public for the last few months – and it is still in beta testing.

Aside from the above-mentioned additions, it will be interesting to watch what other features KDP will add over time. For now, I will keep my books mostly in CreateSpace until the announced updates have been made, but over time – and also for future books – I will gradually move over to KDP Print.

How about you?

About the Author

Gundi Gabrielle – aka SassyZenGirl – is an 8-time #1 Bestselling Author of “The Sassy Way….when you have NO CLUE!” — Beginner Internet Marketing series , the Zen Traveller Series, and “Travel for FREE” (Grab your FREE copy HERE).

A former Carnegie Hall conductor and Concert Organist, she decided 3 years ago to make a bold change in her life, packed up a few belongings and drove all the way from Santa Monica, California to Alaska.

She has been traveling the world as a Digital Nomad ever since and loves the freedom of online entrepreneurship through her Kindle Publishing company and her travel/lifestyle blog SassyZenGirl.com/FREEDOM

She has no plans of settling down anytime soon…..

  • Jon Galt

    Very interesting article. One other consideration is CS and KDP are seperate entities and the ‘diversification’ of using two platforms maybe a consideration.

    Long story, but KDP decided my ebook was a copyright violation (after 2 years of being published.. but a whole other story) and decided to block the book. Because CS is a separate entity and did not have problem with it, I have at least salvaged the paperback book. If I have both books in KDP, the ebook and paperback would both be blocked.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      That’s an interesting point, Jon – and so sorry to hear that. Did you take up your case with a supervisor? that often helps.
      Inititally, I had thought of keeping 2 platforms for that very reason – diversification. But an Amazon exec I talked to said that that’s really not the case since both are owned by Amazon and largely even share the same staff, but with issues like this, it might make a difference.
      Have you tried creating a new Kindle version and simply uploading it again and connect with your paperback?

      • Jon Galt

        Thanks Gundi.. I battled for about a month.. emails & phone calls to anyone. I couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone.. just the same emails copied and pasted until they just decided to irreversibly blocked it.

        A stern email suggested not reupload it.. my KDP account is worth more than the one book 🙂

        It was a blessing in disguise.. meant I could trial my book on D2D instead 🙂

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          oh – that’s frustrating – but if it worked out in the end all the be better…

  • Hi Gundi, nice article. I remember you from your house (ranch)-sitting in Texas. Looks like things are going well. Thanks for the swell info!

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      I remember you, too, Tammy!! – so nice to “see” you again here….;-) – hope your books are going well?

      • Moving along. I’m trying Dave’s advice and going to try an AMS ad. We’ll see how that goes. Plus, I will have a new release this month. This time a time-travel, murder mystery, paranormal romance! How ’bout you? Good? Still traveling?

        And on the subject of CS vs KDP, I’m sticking with CS for now. I’ve not had any trouble and really like getting paper copy proofs. Plus, I actually have a lot of readers in Canada and Australia!

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          yes – still travelling…;-) – currently in Spain for a few months and publishing more travel books over the summer. As for CS, I agree, until they have made those updates, incl. Canada – I wouldn’t move.

  • Val

    I had an issue loafing a 6×9 cover for a print book on KDP. My graphic designer nearly pulled his hsir out. Published beautifully on CreateSpace without any hassles. Staying with CS for now.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      that’s interesting to hear, because usually Createspace seems to be a lot more critical and hand review everything (and refuse any file that doesn’t meet their requirements) – thanks for that info, Val

      • Elena Ivanova Smith

        I wish I would have seen Val´s comment before. I decided to upload several books through KDP and it was a complete nightmare in terms of book covers (which were all fine on CS) also for 6×9. We failed to do it for last 3 days with my designer and he is super experienced specialist. After all I launched the KDP cover creator and will probably be able to work it out from there. So disappointed.

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          thanks for sharing that, Elena – and so sorry to hear that. Someone else here also mentioned interior files having issues. That’s definitely important feedback and we might add that to the article. You can probably just delete the title (print version) and then publish via CS, rather than going through this nightmare.

  • Andrew Chapman

    I have just set up another Kindle ebook and amusingly the email sent to confirm it is now live recommended creating a paperback… with Createspace. Amason seems to be confusing itself even.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Really? – that is amazing! – I always get invited to KDP Print. Maybe they are mixing it up a little…;-)

      • Andrew Chapman

        Yes, a bit of a surprise! Ironically it was a title that I had originally put up at Createspace anyway and then did a Kindle version.

  • Elena Ivanova Smith

    So both are ran by amazon… So why all this mess then?

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      yes, Elena, they are both run by Amazon and it isn’t entirely clear, why….. – but one obvious reason is having everything one accounting platform under the KDP banner. Beyond that, I wasn’t given a clear answer. Amazon denied that Createspace was phased out long term, but we’ll have to see. They also removed mp3 a while back from Createspace, so again, remains to be seen

  • Smokemare

    I actually used Ingram Spark to make my paperbacks. However it really doesn’t seem to pay dividends. I never succeeded in getting my books stocked and receive a tiny royalty on anything I sell. Should I pause my Ingram Spark/Lightning Source titles and put out KDP Print or Createspace? Or should I allow multiple POD versions with different ISBN numbers? I really don’t know what to do. I have decent following, and I’m sure I COULD sell more paperback books but I don’t think Ingram is the way to do it.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      I would not use separate ISBNs as it dilutes your overall ranking. I have heard from other authors that Amazon’s algorithm gives preference to their own POD platforms, but I can’t imagine it would be a dramatic difference. To test it you could leave your Ingram Spark as is and just publish another version on KDP or Createspace. If you own your own ISBN use that – otherwise, you can get a free one from either platform. That way, you will know whether it makes a difference – without having spent any money.

      • Smokemare

        So pause the Ingram ones, make sure the ISBN data is a match and assign the old ISBN to the Createspace or KDP Print one? Which do you think is best to try in my circumstances?

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          you don’t need to pause Ingram – you can use the same ISBN over multiple platforms IF it is your own ISBN (e.g., if you purchased it). If it’s owned by Ingram, then you can only use it there. and can get a free one from CS or KDP. The free ones would also be owned by them and can only be used on their platform. I would keep the Ingram as is and publish an additional version on either CS of KDP and see if that makes a difference in sales. Give it a few weeks – and then you will know whether the platform makes a difference – hope that helps?

          • Smokemare

            Ahh, so as long as I match the trim size and page count to the Ingram version I can put out a KDP or Createspace version with an identical ISBN? I’ll be honest I think I’d prefer to keep it KDP Print, but those things you lose against Createspace are a bit of an off-put. I like to review a physical copy before I publish. However whether it’s worth it given I can order author copies at cost from Ingram? It’d be nice to keep more accounting in the KDP Interface and I suspect it’d be good for rankings and maybe encourage Amazon to promote my paperbacks a bit more. They seemed to like them better when they were Createspace before I moved to Ingram. I really wanted to get some shops stocking my books, but it’s never proved possible. I suspect the first book being free as an ebook has always hindered this. What do you think? Do you think that would put bookshops off?

  • Elena Ivanova Smith

    And how about quality of printing? I heard some authors complaining about KDP quality in comparison to CS but not sure how objective it is.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      I have not had that experience personally – both had the same quality – and they are supposedly using the same printing plants for both – IF they are purchased through Amazon. That’s why I didn’t mention it here. So unless a customer orders directly through CS, there shouldn’t be a difference according to them. It could also be different probably depending on region. The US printing plants might have different quality compared to European plants.

  • I’m with you. I’ll stick with CS for now

  • Olesya Kalinina

    Thank you for the nice article, Dave.
    There is one more CS benefit that I didn’t see mentioned. You may give coupons for CS versions of your book (unlike in KDP). In fact, your customers should buy discounted book through CS website directly. It mostly works for your own audience that knows you well, since most of random people have not idea what CS is. 🙂

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Thanks for sharing that, Olesya! – those coupons would be through the CS store though, not Amazon, right? – I usually prefer to send people to Amazon, so every sale counts towards ranking there, but for coupons, it seems like a nice idea.

      • Olesya Kalinina

        You are absolutely right. 🙂

        • Could they word for say a library? Our local library is great about stocking local author books.

          • Olesya Kalinina

            I can imagine this may help for the library audience as well. I am not sure how the modern libraries work in the USA, and are they popular or not. I live in Ukraine most of the time. Libraries are no longer popular here as they used to be. I wish you good luck. I think if someone becomes famous on the local level in the USA, this may help boosting overall sales as well. That’s a great starter option for the U.S. authors! 🙂

    • Where is this coupon feature that you speak of? I have several createspace books and didn’t notice this. Please elaborate. This sounds cool!

  • Hi Gundi, thanks for a really useful article. I’m just about to publish my first book and need to be able to POD for the US market. Am I right in thinking that Creatspace is the best platform for this? Many thanks, Nick

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Hi Nick – congrats on your first book, that’s exciting! – as for “the best” – there are pros and cons for each, but for most points so far, CS is still the more robust choice. And you can always switch over at any time. Some of the major differences, like author copies, expanded distribution etc. are supposed to be added soon, but until they are, it would seem CS is the better option. But again, that’s just my opinion, and each case is a little different. The thing to consider is: you can’t switch back from KDP Print to CS – but you can go from CS to KDP Print….

      • Hey Gundi, thanks so much for your reply, I think I’m going to go down the CS route and flip over to KDP when the services are active. The main reason is the author copies – I plan to send out quite a few as gifts to prospective clients and it helps with keeping costs down. many thanks, Nick

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          it sure does…;-)

  • Scott Allan

    Thanks for a great article Gundi. It’s great to see the pros and cons laid out in such detail. Actually, I started moving my books over to KDP a couple months ago. The main reason I made this decision is because, I live in Japan. And, Createspace, unlike KDP, can only issue royalty payments by check. But in Japan, most banks are very “skittish” when it comes to checks from abroad, and I couldn’t find a single bank to cash it. One big downside to Createspace if you live in a region that Createspace is restricted to deposit funds via ET. So what I do, in the case of author copies is, publish first on CS, order a bunch of author copies at the cheap rate, then jump over to KDP with the book. KDP says they have plans for expanded distribution but they couldn’t confirm when that would be.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Hey, Scott – nice to see you here…;-) – and that’s interesting to hear. Since the Japanese store offers KDP Print books, it would make sense that they would also pay you there. And checks must indeed be a pain……
      Another option could be to keep a US bank account and use it mostly via online banking and credit cards, but I can see the issue…..
      And yes – Amazon confirmed to me that those changes are “imminent” – whatever that means. I think over time, KDP Print will outperform CS – but for now, we are not quite there yet. Except in special cases like yours. – thanks for the feedback!

  • jacku

    I can’t see it mentioned anywhere in the article, but do you think paperback sales would affect Kindle ranking? Maybe this is why KDP introduced a second service?

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      that’s an interesting point. I wouldn’t think so since they have different ASINs / ISBNs – and both versions usually rank completely independently, but who knows what’s going on in the secret tunnels of the Amazon algorithm….;-) – given that they both owned by Amazon though – and CS execs are very much involved with KDP Print development, I doubt it. But again, who knows….?

  • brittmalka

    Hey Sassy. I’m on your list. Nice to see you over here, and it’s a great article. I was under the impression that you could choose both a print book on KDP and CreateSpace. Is that wrong?

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Hey Britt – great to see you here….;-) – not quite sure I understand the question? – CS is print only – KDP has both Kindle and print options. Was that what you were asking?

      • brittmalka

        I thought you could choose to have print books both on KDP and CS. But my husband just said that he tried, and you can’t.

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          you mean 2 print versions – one on each platform? at the same time?

          • brittmalka

            Yes, that’s what I meant.

          • Gundi Gabrielle

            I’ve never tried – because they would be competing with each other? but if they have differetn ISBNs I’m not sure why it wouldn’t work.

  • Anita Rodgers

    I think I’ll stick with CS for now. That old adage about putting all your eggs in one basket (even though CS is sort of in the same basket) seems to apply. Also, since KDP is still in beta there will likely be changes, glitches, and hiccups to get through. Maybe after all of that is sorted out.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      that’s kinda how I feel. I think eventually KDP will outperform CS, but we are not quite there yet – maybe in a few months or a year….

    • Totally agree. One of my books got blocked on KDP, so I made a print version on CS and boom! not blocked and making way more dough than kdp!

  • Philip Gibson

    For those of us who sell more paperback versions than Kindle versions, it would be great if the new system would allow paperback sales to be reflected in the best selling rankings.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      They are reflected, Philip – my print versions occasionally rank higher than the Kindle version. They are 2 separate entities when it comes to ranking. Or did you mean something else?

      • Philip Gibson

        Do you mean your KDP sprint sales show a ranking? My CreateSpace sales have no ranking displayed on my KDP dashboard or anywhere else. Am I missing something?

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          I don’t think either platform shows bestseller ranking. Only the Author Central page has that feature to my knowledge?

  • What about keyword and category selection? At one point I heard that KDP gives you more control over keywords and categories. If so, wouldn’t that be a huge advantage for KDP?

    • I know you get 7 keywords for KDP print, and only 5 for CreateSpace.
      If you can measure that advantage? That’s a question for the Keyword master – DAVE!

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      well – you still have your Kindle book which has access to all of that and is linked to the print version, regardless of platform. So people finding your title would not be affected, but you are right in that CS is more limited in that regard. 2 categories vs. 10 in KDP (though I will double check with CS whether you can add the other 8 via email as you do in KDP). As for keywords, most of that needs to be in the metadata (title, sub title, description and reviews) – I think Dave mentioned it in one of his articles, that the backend KWs are only relevant in the beginning, but not long term, and they are certainly not visible in search engines like Google.

      And again, given that both versions are linked, I don’t see that making much difference. I still have some CS print books rank higher than the corresponding Kindle in the main category – if that’s a topic where people prefer print (like travel). I have always found the meta data optimization much more relevant than backend keywords.

  • Awesome article Gundi!
    I feel the pain too when I need to update a CS book and it goes offline for 1 day – how lame!
    But I also find the CS cover creator/step to be much better than KDP’s. So I will be sticking with CreateSpace for now.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      I hear you – SO frustrating! – if it wasn’t for that, I would never consider switching to KDP, because I, too, like the CS process and interface much better – but with a well ranking book, it can be quite costly in lost royalties and I don’t ever want to go through that again. ….

  • Margaret Skeel

    Hi Gundi. Great article! I am in Australia so out of the loop…sigh. i have 2 books published on kindle and a third ready to launch but no pods yet. I guess i have to stll go with Ingram Spark? Will i be able to switch later? Or can i go with 2 at once? Any help on this coundrum would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hey Margaret! I’m in New Zealand (but have lived in Australia, my hubby’s Australian!) and I print all of my books with CS. Ingram Spark is costly and the majority of my sales come from the US And European markets… if any of my readers are from Australia and New Zealand and they want a copy of my book in paperback, all they have to do is wait about 10 days or so and my book is available on Bookdepository.com and similar sites 🙂 It’s been a great workaround so far!

      • Gundi Gabrielle

        great advice, Lise – thanks for that! – you know that answer much better, of course…. I hope they will eventually have printing plants in Asia or Australia…

  • Hannah Loviisa

    What about barcodes? Will it hurt you to use Createspace free barcodes at all?

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      you mean ISBN? – I don’t think that would hurt? I have not seen a difference. Both are Amazon owned, so it should not make a difference. External ISBNs have been reported to get lesser treatment, but so far I have not noticed anything between CS or KDP

      • Hannah Loviisa

        No I did mean barcode. I published a book on Createspace using their free ISBN and bar code and later I tried to switch to Ingram but they said it was not allowed because I used the free ISBN. I was wondering if there was downsides to using the free barcode too

        • Gundi Gabrielle

          well, the barcode is basically a scannable version of your ISBN, so is always tied to whatever ISBN you are using. What Ingram is referring to is something I mention in the article. If you get the free one, it is owned by CS (or KDP, or Ingram), which is fine if you want to save the money and have no intention of ever publishing the paperbook on a different POD platform. If you want to combine Amazon PODs with outside POD platforms, you need to buy your own ISBN at Bowker.com (US only), which you can then use everywhere.

          You can also have the same book published using different PODs with different ISBNs, but it will dilute your rankings as sales are spread over several ISBNs. Another thing, authors frequently mentioned (even under this article) is that ranking on Amazon seems to be better for Amazon owned ISBNs, or at least published through CS / KDP – that is something I have heard again and again.

  • EJ Randolph

    Hi. I tried to use KDP print. I write with LibreOffice and then convert to Microsoft Word. Kdp would not split paragraphs so no page was full. I talked with the staff. Nothing worked. I went to CreateSpace. No problem. So, I printed the second with CreateSpace. Again, no problems. I sure hope Amazon continues CreateSpace.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Interesting to hear, EJ – someone else mentioned similar, so it seems that at least for now, KDP Print staff is more competent than Createspace. They certainly try to help you, I have experienced that myself with a cover issue (CS). And it seems they will continue CS for the foreseeable future.

  • Hey Gundi, such a great article! Now I understand all the questions a few weeks ago 😉 You’ve sold me, I’m sticking with CS until KDP at least gets the author proof copy in play, without that, how on earth can you be sure the quality of your book?! Seems crazy to me. Thanks for sharing Derek’s tip too, just changed three of my book prices on CS and will see what happens over the next 30 days! It’s always great to increase profits where you can WITHOUT having to pay for it!!

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Hi Lise, great to hear from you!! – and I hope it works for you, too (it does most of the time)….cheers to beautiful NZ…;-)

  • While I appreciate all the helpful information in this article, my hackles were raised when I read the Bonus Tip – how do you think it’s ethical to employ this “tip” at all? How do you suppose you would employ it “ethically”? To cheat a company out of a few more cents or dollars using a “hack” is not ethical in any sense of the word. And sadly, this is the second time such a tip has been suggested by Derek D. I called Amazon on another tip/hack he suggested in his newsletter, and the KDP representative assured me that it did, in fact, go against their Terms & Conditions. While I’m appreciative of the other information in this article – thank you! – I am sorely disappointed that Kindlepreneur has decided to support an unethical practice by including it in an article on their website.

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      Hey Kitty – thanks for your feedback, but there is nothing unethical about it. Both Derek and I have asked Amazon about this, and they said it is absolutely fine. I even did before this article with one of the executives and I am also forwarding them this article – they are very aware of it – no one is being cheated here.

      You set your price and if the Amazon algorithm decides to use a different one, that’s up to them. Btw, they don’t always keep the low price, sometimes they follow the raise. And I also had the opposite happen when I lowered my price from $12.99 to $9.99 and Amazon kept selling the book at $12.47 which was a bit annoying. So I finally set it back to the old price.

      There is nothing unethical here and Amazon is fully aware of this feature and ok with it. Sometimes it can work for you and sometimes it can work against you. We cannot control what price Amazon sells the book at – for better or worse – and the algorithm picks the price that it calculates will sell the most copies and makes Amazon the most money.

      Hope that helps.

    • I do agree the tactic has ethical considerations even if it’s technically allowed. In the proper context of where I shared this, I encouraged anyone considering it to take into account what’s ecological. That considering all three elements of what’s good for the author, good for the companies, and good for the readers. For this reason, even though I could have charged a price in which Amazon takes a loss, I chose to raise the list price only marginally to still ensure Amazon made a profit, and the list price was on par with list prices of other books of similar length.

      “Cheating a company” is actually what I was worried about. I didn’t want to use the technique purposefully (I discovered it by accident) until I first contacted CreateSpace to confirm they’re OK with it. Since they are, I don’t see how one could consider it cheating if they allow for its use. Even still, I feel there’s a responsibility to not use it to a point where they would no longer be gaining something from the transaction.

      The ethical concern is not the tactic itself since it’s acknowledged and allowed by the companies. It’s HOW it’s applied and to what degree. Thanks for bringing this up because I don’t want to see people “abuse” the system and cause issues.

  • Mark Newman

    Really good insight, thank you. I don’t currently print any of my books, But I’ve been looking to add this feature. Having looked at the info in this article I think I’ll go with KDP POD.
    Thanks again,
    Mark

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      glad it was helpful, Mark.

  • SciFi_Fantasy Girl

    Great article Gundi – thanks for breaking it down into pro’s and con’s. I wondered about the option for POD at the backend of KDP and why it was there when they had CreateSpace. Now I not only know, but understand the differences as well – thanks!

    • Gundi Gabrielle

      my pleasure – glad it was helpful…;-)

  • Dave, it is another great piece of content. You are great inspiration for me. Even if I am not native english speaker, I believe I can achieve success in this business. I hope u will produce more stuff like that. I also started running a blog, currently it is simple and humble blog but I hope the content attracts some readers. Cheers mate

  • Carrie Hartunian Smith

    Wow – great stuff, thanks for laying this all out simply and easy to digest!

  • jedi4432

    Hi Gundi, Thanks for the article. My friend and I are working on our first book. It is about job hunting/change in . . . . Japan. Since we are both bilingual English/Japanese speakers, we decided to write the book in English, have a more qualified friend write it in Japanese (our weaker language), and then try to get it published as a Kindle and print bilingual book on Amazon.co.jp.

    From what it seems, I’ll have to go KDP if I want the print copy to get to Japan. However, I’d like to have wholesale physical copies to give away/sell to people I meet. Would it be better to start on CS and sell just the Kindle version while hawking the paperback whenever I meet people? Or would it be better to have both ready on Day online, but not have any copies to hand out?

    Or should I wait it out for KDP to roll out all of these “not yet” services?

    Thanks in advance for your help (or anyone else who may jump in)!

  • Melissa Wardwell

    Thank you for breaking it all down. I am a busy mom and sitting down to understand all the differences was something I did have much time for.

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