Here's a simple tip to save you from one potential source of frustration and delay when self-publishing paperbacks with print books via CreateSpace: comply with their new policy about barcodes. This post explains the policy and tells you how to implement it for your self-published books.
Until now, it's been possible to generate your own barcode and add it in to your book's cover design before you upload your cover design to CreateSpace (CS) ready for publication. Although it was also possible (and easier) to allow CS to add its own instead, adding your own to your artwork enabled you to keep control of the complete design, and to use a more elegant format than CS's standard one-size-fits-all approach.
However, following printing problems that had arisen from some barcodes submitted that way, CS is now clamping down and imposing its own barcode artwork instead, as part of the approval process.
How to Proceed
You are therefore now required to leave a blank space on your cover artwork to accommodate the CS barcode, or alternatively to ensure that your cover design is such that the overprinted barcode block will not obscure any text or important visual element, which would like cause your design to be rejected.
The first time you see the barcode in place will therefore be after your cover artwork has been reviewed and returned to you with comments, or, with luck, with the approval to proceed to publication.
The following advice gleaned from CS's customer service advisors' emails gives more detail of the process::
CreateSpace's system will place the ISBN barcodein a space 2″ wide and 1.2″ tall. The bottom of this barcode will be located a quarter of an inch up from the bottom trim line of the cover. The right side of the barcode will be located a quarter of an inch to the left of the spine. Please ensure that you don't have any important images or text in the barcode location.
If you want the barcode in a specific area, you can have a white box 2 inches wide by 1.2 inches tall placed anywhere on the back of the cover and we will put the barcode in that box for you.
You can also refer to CreateSpace's Artwork Templates for the exact size and position of the ISBN barcode on your book's final cover at: https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do
Null Price Code
Incidentally, in case you're wondering, CS's barcode generation doesn't include price information, as some barcodes do, which is a good thing, because it means you can remain flexible with your prices, rather than being tied in with the publication price you set on CS. Sellers of your book will take its price from their stock database rather than from information coded into the barcode on the cover.
If you've just uploaded cover artwork featuring your own barcode and had it approved without any problem, anecdotal evidence suggests it's because this change in policy is so new that some of CS's advisors haven't started applying it yet. Whether or not a design including your own barcode is passed for publication seems to depend on which of their advisors reviews your submission. However, it's pretty certain that the new policy will soon become general practice, so best advice is to gear up for compliance with any future paperbacks, to save yourself a potential and avoidable unwelcome delay.
With thanks to ALLi partner Jessica Bell (author and cover designer) and author members Jean Gill and Keith Dixon for sharing news of this new policy via our members-only Facebook forum, one of 21 great reasons to join ALLi.
OVER TO YOU Have you had any experience with this new policy yet? Do you have any further advice to add? We'd love to hear it if you do!1 top tip for #selfpublishing paperbacks via @CreateSpace - re #barcodes Click To Tweet
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