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Moving from CreateSpace to KDP: A Simple Guide

A guide to migrating from CreateSpace to KDP
As you may have heard, CreateSpace is shutting down, with its operations being rolled into Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). What does this mean for authors, and how can you weather this change with a minimum of disruption?

With the imminent retirement of CreateSpace, all users of that platform must migrate their titles to the new KDP print division. This will be done automatically when CreateSpace officially closes, but ALLi recommends that authors be proactive and oversee the transfer of their books personally.

The transfer process itself couldn’t be simpler, requiring just three mouse clicks and a minute of your time. You will want to take a few extra minutes to examine your settings and confirm that the transfer was successful, as there are a few potential pitfalls which we’ll discuss below.

Preparing to transfer

Before you begin the process, be sure you have your login information for both CreateSpace and KDP. You will be asked to log in to both to confirm your identity and link the two accounts.

CreateSpace’s retired cover generator, Cover Creator, is incompatible with KDP. If you created your cover through that template system, you will need to obtain a new cover. Covers that were manually uploaded to CreateSpace as a file should port over without a problem.

Begin the transfer from CreateSpace or from KDP via the link at the top of either dashboard.

Initiating the transfer

1. Verifying your CreateSpace account

You will be asked to log in to CreateSpace to verify your ownership of the account. Once you do, your books will be displayed below your name and email so you can be sure you’re logged in to the correct account.

Step 1: Verify your CreateSpace account

2. Verifying your KDP account

You will be asked to log in to KDP to verify your ownership of that account. If you don’t already have a KDP account, you can create one now.

Step 2: Link you KDP account

3. Confirming the transfer

Click the “Start your move” button, and you’re on your way!

Step 3: Transfer to KDP

KDP will begin the process of transferring your books. This is quick — usually under a minute — and requires no input from you.

In Progress

When the process is complete, your titles — print and ebooks — will be displayed on the KDP dashboard. If you have multiple CreateSpace accounts, you can repeat this process to merge each one with your KDP accounts. Keep in mind that all accounts merged in this way will share the same contact and tax information.

Congratulations! You are now done with CreateSpace: your books, reports, and settings will all be administered through KDP from this point forward.

Next, take a moment to tidy up by updating your books’ data.

Grouping your books

When your books are transferred to KDP, you may find that your ebook and print editions of a title are listed separately. While not required, it’s a good idea to link these listings so that they appear together on Amazon, allowing customers who happen across one edition to easily find the others.

Unlinked book on KDP

Linking the books is simple: just click either the “Link Existing Kindle eBook” button on the print edition, or the “Link Existing Paperback” button on the ebook, and then select its counterpart. The two listings will be joined as seen below.

linked books on KDP

If you make a mistake, you can easily unlink the two titles via the ellipsis menu (…) at the right of each title’s listing.

Inspect your keywords and categories

Using the ellipsis menu at the right of your book’s listing, edit your book’s details. Examine your keywords and categories to ensure that nothing was lost in the transfer. Although rare, there have been instances of authors’ keywords being truncated, so it’s a good idea to double-check them.

CreateSpace offered five keyword fields, but KDP offers seven. That’s a potentially huge boost to your book’s visibility, so take advantage of the extra fields to add new keywords, and perhaps add your book to categories that are only available with special keywords.

This is also an excellent opportunity to freshen up your metadata. If you’ve been lax in your marketing maintenance — something every author should examine periodically — this is the perfect time to consider alternative categories and keywords to revitalize your book’s discoverability.

Checking your distribution and pricing

Under the Pricing section of your book’s details, you’ll need to reselect the territories for which you hold distribution rights. By default, only 29 of the 249 available territories will be selected, so review these regions. If you hold worldwide rights, simply click “All territories”.

KDP Territories

Pricing should have remained unchanged in the transfer, but as with keywords and categories, you may wish to review your choices and your international pricing.

Finalizing any changes

Click the orange “Publish your book” button to submit your changes. If you fail to do this, any changes you have made to your book details will be ignored.

Your book will go through an abbreviated review process similar to when you first uploaded it to Amazon. The existing settings will remain live and your book will remain on sale during this time.

Timelines for updates may be found here.

What’s changed?

Now that the transfer process is complete, what’s different?

This is, essentially, an organizational and branding change for Amazon. The network of printers and the logistics of shipping are largely unchanged, and the processes behind the scenes still go through the same internal channels they always have.

However, some of the infrastructure has changed, and you’ll find that KDP is much more responsive than CreateSpace’s creaky and aging interface. Here are some of the more noticeable differences.

Reports

Following the transfer, all of your reports will be available in one integrated dashboard on KDP. The convenience of having all your Amazon sales data in one place is a welcome change.

To view your old CreateSpace sales data, use the Historical tab under Reports. (On transferring your books, it may take several days for this initial sales data to be ported over from CreateSpace.) Current information can be found in the default Sales Dashboard tab.

Proofs and author copies

When we initially reviewed KDP’s print services, they did not offer proof copies or author copies. Those features are now available. Author copies generally take seven to ten days for fulfillment, with additional time needed for shipping, so order early! Author copies are sold at cost, and are added to your Amazon cart, so they are eligible for rush shipping.

Your book must be published and live before you can order author copies. Proof copies are available at any time, but be aware that they are prominently marked as such.

AMS ads

With the switch to KDP, print titles will now enjoy added exposure through Amazon’s AMS ads. This may be a huge boon to authors who have difficulty scaling up their AMS campaigns, as they are no longer limited to marketing Kindle editions.

Distribution

In the past, it was possible to sell your books in one of Amazon’s regional stores (e.g., Amazon.co.uk) and still distribute to Amazon’s network of bookstores. Distribution to the primary Amazon.com store is now required to take advantage of Amazon’s expanded distribution.

ALLi recommends that authors distribute their books through both Amazon and Ingram Spark rather than relying on expanded distribution. The process for doing so is unchanged from CreateSpace.

KDP now distributes print on demand books in Japan, a welcome expansion for CreateSpace users who lacked that reach. Distribution to Mexico is coming soon.

Book details are now subject to KDP rules

Some rules that applied only to ebooks will now apply to print books as well. Among these are requirements that titles and subtitles match what is on the cover of the book.

Enforcement of these rules is erratic, but we strongly recommend that authors comply with them to the best of their ability lest a crackdown by Amazon disrupt your sales.

Our KDP Rules Roundup gathers KDP’s myriad rules in one place for your convenience.

You cannot sell your print books for less than your Amazon list price

KDP has always required that ebooks be priced at or below the list price on other retailers. Print books were not subject to this requirement.

Amazon has altered that requirement to include print books. Your print books must be priced at or below the price on any other channel, or you are in violation of KDP’s Terms of Service. While enforcement is lax, it is possible that Amazon will adjust the price of your books, remove books from sale, or even suspend your account if this requirement is not met.

Smaller books will be more expensive in Europe

European print on demand costs will increase slightly for books under 110 pages.

Author bio

CreateSpace offered a separate field for your author bio, and this is preserved when transferring to KDP. KDP does not offer the option to edit this bio, so if you wish to make changes, you will need to use Author Central.

Tax information

Any tax information you’ve entered on KDP will take precedence once you move your books over from CreateSpace. Most authors won’t need to worry about this, but if you had different tax or payee information entered on the two platforms, you will either need to merge them to use one set of information, or you’ll need to create separate KDP accounts for each tax identity you wish to maintain.

Over to you

Although technical hiccups are to be expected in this massive shift to KDP, most authors will find this to be a pleasantly smooth process. Have you moved your books to KDP yet? Were there any surprises? Let us know in the comments below!

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19 Responses to Moving from CreateSpace to KDP: A Simple Guide

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  6. Andrew Chapman November 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm #

    1. These comments here are mostly repetitive, obvious, generic, spam-bot posts… so it would be helpful if you’d delete them.

    2. As a small publisher using CreateSpace for nearly 10 years, the transfer to KDP has *not* been the rosy process we were led to expect. Considering how long KDP had CreateSpace under its control, you would’ve thought this would have been handled better. A few lowlights from my and some colleagues’ experience so far:

    • Proof copies, that we have to pay for, have a gargantuan “proof” band across the front cover, making the actual review/proofing of it impossible. How am I supposed to gauge the quality with this in the way? Further, they say they do this to avoid reselling of the proof… really? Isn’t that my prerogative, given that I’ve paid for this proof copy?

    • “Unsupported languages”… A vestige of KDP being an ebook operation, author/publishers are unable to publish paperback books including such exotic and unusual languages as Chinese and Russian. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) This is unacceptable. Apparently, it’s due to the KDP process not actually using the press-ready PDFs we upload, but converting them. Their process reveals this stupidity by advising us that it’s converting our “manuscript” to a “print-ready PDF.” Thus, I’m guessing it can’t process these unsupported languages. This may seem trivial to an English-only author/publisher, but there are many books now in limbo as a result. I have one client in the middle of an English-Chinese series that started on CreateSpace, but he can’t continue with the series through KDP now. And to be clear… books of these languages that transferred from CreateSpace *can* continue to sell, *but* they cannot be updated in any way. And new books of these languages cannot be published. This is a complete failure on the part of KDP. This should’ve been resolved before forcing CreateSpace authors to transition.

    • What I call “private publishing,” which is essentially “author copies” in their terms… This is when you have a title that’s not sold publicly but sold in some other way. This would include, for example, special editions, sponsorship versions, and event-specific books. We produced a “special autographed limited edition” of a title for one of our authors, which has slightly different content, but mainly which he buys to (of course) autograph and use for fundraising for his nonprofit. We don’t want this sold on Amazon, but to buy “author copies” of it, we are required that it be. It’s not meant to be a public book. Sure, it can be moved over to IngramSpark or something, but what a stupid, annoying, and inconvenient solution.

    • Slower shipping… So far, author copies are taking longer to receive than they did with CreateSpace. Why, I don’t know, but that’s the experience so far.

    • Amazon listing description… CreateSpace used to allow basic HTML in the title’s description, which would then port into the Amazon listing. KDP doesn’t seem to allow this *and* the description gets all mashed into one continuous paragraph, which is less inviting.

    • Customer service… While CreateSpace had its glitches from time to time, over the course of my nearly 10 years with them, their customer service was excellent overall. They were quick to reach, quick to respond, and quick to resolve issues. KDP has been anything but. They started a CreateSpace-KDP Transition thread in their online community for questions and feedback, but apparently are paying little to no attention to it. No one from KDP has posted a response in weeks, nor have I gotten one privately from them. Granted, I can only imagine how overwhelmed they may be — but that’s their fault. They knew they’d have a million-plus titles coming from CreateSpace; they could’ve handled this transition over the course of months instead of weeks. And more important, they could’ve warned us about certain things (as I’ve mentioned above) that would’ve prompted some of us to wait longer. Instead, they painted the transition as seamless. And being that Amazon has owned CreateSpace for years now and has run KDP very well, why would we not expect a smooth transition?

    So, I’m posting these complaints far and wide online because I want to warn people before they fall into these situations. Furthermore, I’m hoping to, in some small way, pressure KDP to step up their game.

    Thanks for providing the forum!

    • Devorah Fox December 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm #

      We had been using CS for years as enterprise publishers, with complete satisfaction. KDP/Amazon is a total fail for this. The books take longer to manufacture. Then our “author copy” order gets put into our Amazon cart for order fulfillment. Amazon encloses a detailed invoice with the shipment so our customers now know exactly what we paid for printing and shipping which is not as you can imagine what we charge our customers. The workaround is to select the “Gift Order” option but be sure to put something on the “gift card,” an order or PO number or something, and delete the default text which leads the recipients to believe they’re getting a gift. Amazon ships the order in chunks: one copy one day, 5 the next, 10 the next. This is all unsatisfactory for us and our customers. Although manufacturing and shipping will be more expensive we will be moving all our titles to IngramSpark.

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  13. Connie Rossini October 26, 2018 at 11:25 pm #

    John, I just merged my Createspace and KDP accounts. On KDP, when I click on the ellipses for a paperback to edit the details, I get a “404 – File not Found” error. Do you know if there’s a delay in info showing up? Have you heard of this problem? Thanks!

  14. Colin Sole October 20, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

    The advice is spot on and it’s easy to complete the process with one hiccup. I went through this process before your advice came out. My cover was originally uploaded to CS as a file, but KDP claimed that it was too small (by a fraction of a mm), and I cannot do anything about distribution or pricing without first fixing the cover. This means I have to go back to the designer and request more work (at a cost). In my opinion, Amazon demanded we switch for their benefit and so they should be more adaptable with the details.

  15. Kassandra Lamb October 15, 2018 at 7:32 pm #

    Thank you, John!!!

  16. Chris Longmuir October 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    One thing I haven’t been able to find is a table of shipping costs for author copies similar to the one Createspace used. My CS books always worked out cheaper than the Ingram Spark equivalent for printing but it was the shipping costs which made IS the cheaper option. Now that UK authors have their books shipped from within the UK rather than from the US I’m sure there must be a difference in these costs but I’m reluctant to order blind not knowing what the final cost will be because I usually order 50 of each title at a time.

    • John Doppler October 16, 2018 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Chris,
      You won’t find a shipping cost calculator because KDP’s shipping now goes through Amazon’s cart. Shipping costs will vary by region, destination, carrier, delivery speed, VAT, sales tax, etc.

      However, you can create an author copy shipment and add it to your cart, view the cost, and then cancel or suspend the order before you complete the transaction. This will also give you a general idea of fulfillment times.

      A little roundabout, but it gets the job done.

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