CreateSpace Shutdown Plan

Beware: book industry neepery.

Yesterday, Amazon announced that they’re merging Createspace into their KDP Print program. A reading of the article makes it clear that the services aren’t merging, though. Createspace is shutting down and all accounts are migrating into KDP.

This presents problems for me. KDP does not offer the same services as Createspace. The ones that present problems for me include:

  • Payment will be delayed an extra 30 days: annoying, but I’ll deal.
  • Small books will increase in price in Europe: I’ll have to pass this on to you. Sorry, folks.
  • Title Information: They’ll screw up my metadata, in new and exciting ways.
  • Orders: I will no longer use Createspace for books not available on Amazon–fine, whatever.
  • Expanded Distribution: I’ve heard from more than one source that KDP Expanded Distribution does not work outside of the US. This is a critical deal-breaker for me. I have non-Amazon readers around the world.

      Fortunately, this merger isn’t a surprise. The Digital Reader has been warning us about this for months, so I’ve had this percolating in the back of my brain. This is why I bought a block of ISBNs at the end of 2017.

      Here’s the plan for all Tilted Windmill Press books.

      1. Join ALLI. For $99/year, I get unlimited free IngramSpark access.
      2. Reissue everything using my own ISBNs. (Remember, you can get 1000 ISBNs for the price of 50, so think long term. Also, ISBN pricing is a ripoff.) Start with the best-selling titles, and go down the list.
      3. Distribute all print books through IngramSpark. Everything issued in 2018 is already available on IS, so this isn’t a big deal.
      4. Also distribute all print books directly through KDP Print. I don’t want to migrate, because they’ll mess up my nonfiction metadata. (Amazon’s offerings are clearly geared towards fiction. Nonfiction is wedged in.)

      As a test, I already followed this process for FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS and FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS.

      The problem books will be Sudo Mastery and DNSSEC Mastery. I’ve already talked about issues with these books, but to make a tediously long story short, availability of the print editions outside the US will be limited until I get the second editions out. That’ll start as soon as I finish the jails book. If you want the current edition in print, order now.

      The thing to worry about here is scope creep.

      I really need to revisit the covers on some older titles, like the Montague Portal and Prohibition Orcs books. Title text design standards have changed since 2010. The books that I’ve already designed alternate covers for will get them as part of this upload. Others will have to wait.

      And if I’m changing the covers, shouldn’t I also change them for ebooks?

      Yep. But that requires re-uploading books to every site. That’s a mindless job, and can be done in the evenings. It should also be combined with an audit of which books are on which sites, because I’m certain I missed some retailers for some books. (Fifty-odd titles. Several ebook retail distributors, which have changed over time. Yeah, there’s gonna be holes.)

      So, this means a giant spreadsheet. With a list of titles and checkboxes and distributors. Oh joy oh rapture.

      The really annoying thing here is that I’ve started making real progress on the jails book and on the next Beaks novel. Once I have momentum, I need to keep it going. So I have to really focus my time for the next few weeks to get this done.

      Because I only have a few weeks. What’s the drop-dead date? That’s a great question, but Amazon learned how to communicate with small authors from The Prisoner. “That would be telling.”

      Had I started with my own ISBNs, this would have been much simpler. I had no way of knowing in 2012 that this ridiculous business model would actually work, though. I would strongly encourage any self-publisher to own and control their own ISBNs, even if you have to buy them in blocks of 10 or 100.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a load of work to do…

      Stalk me on social media

3 Replies to “CreateSpace Shutdown Plan”

  1. > It should also be combined with an audit of which books are on which sites, because I’m certain I missed some retailers for some books. (Fifty-odd titles. Several ebook retail distributors, which have changed over time. Yeah, there’s gonna be holes.)

    > So, this means a giant spreadsheet. With a list of titles and checkboxes and distributors. Oh joy oh rapture.

    Can this be (at least semi-)automated? I’m envisioning curl, and Perl (or Python, not dogmatic), and an output of a .CSV file. (With version control, so you can see how you are doing over time.)

  2. Go ahead make your day! I really enjoy it when people gets their business starting and kept it rolling to some fruition. I really hope that this is th right word for it – ze German is speaking. 😉

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