I suspect most indie authors have a soft spot for Createspace. It’s the first outlet most people used to generate a paperback book. Ebooks feel virtual and imaginary, a book is a solid thing and Createspace gave us that.
The advice was always Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for ebooks, but Createspace for paperbacks. Each offered the other, but they weren’t very good at it.
Createspace only two issues. One was putting your book into ‘file review’, which took 24 hours, and you always realised that there was something to change as soon as you clicked the button. However, you couldn’t cancel the file review, so you just had to wait. The second, and fairly unforgivable, was that proofs and author copies had to be printed in the States and shipped over the Atlantic. (Actually, it was even worse than that, flown into Heathrow, then taken to Dusseldorf for sorting, then flown back to Heathrow to be put in a van.) The Print-On-Demand for readers was printed locally, so why not the author copies?
Unfortunately, Createspace has been taken over by KDP. Amazon owned both and it does make business sense. I think Amazon might have bought Createspace to deal with the competition. So, we all had our books shifted across. The transfer of files went smoothly for me, but I know of a publisher who lost over a hundred titles somewhere in the ether.
It’s a shame they didn’t take the best of Createspace across as well.
Createspace had a wonderful ‘Interior Viewer’ with a shaded gutter, so you knew if your text was too close to the middle, and an animation of your book rotating, so you could check the cover, see the spine and realise that it would be a wondrous object. None of that in KDP’s ‘Previewer’.
However, KDP was, and is, for ebooks, it’s 80% of the market, so it’s an interface you already know. Why remember two systems? Paperbacks are the same as ebooks in the sense that it’s just uploading files and choosing options. Although with KDP there’s a lot of scrolling down the screen to find the buttons, text boxes and squares to tick. KDP also doesn’t allow you to delete books that have been assigned an ISBN (which you have to do), even if it’s never been published, which means all your experiments clog up your ‘bookshelf’.
Createspace used to take a few moments to prepare your files for viewing, KDP is slow, really slow – I mean really, really slow. The display suggests you go and make a coffee while waiting. Later, it suggests you make a sandwich. It’s that slow.
As I scoff my peanut butter on rye, I realise that I miss Createspace, and I miss its forum, when it used to be good.
Still, KDP do print your proofs and author copies on the continent you live in, though, so at least we’re not burning fossil fuels to fly dead trees half-way across the warming planet.