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.
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.
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.
3. Confirming the transfer
Click the “Start your move” button, and you're on your way!
KDP will begin the process of transferring your books. This is quick — usually under a minute — and requires no input from you.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!Nervous about moving your CreateSpace books to KDP? Here's everything #indieAuthors need to know - @johndoppler Click To Tweet