Publishing news of the decade

Amazon has launched CreateSpace Books on Demand, which allows authors to upload content and publish direct. CreateSpace is Amazon’s new name for CustomFlix Labs, Inc., which it acquired in 2005. Until 2006, Amazon used a company called Lightning Source for its print on demand service: now, Lightning Source, along with plenty of other print-on-demand services, is a competitor. 
CreateSpace has been offering customers single CDs and DVDs on demand since 2002, and it is envisaged that its new service will provide books in just the same way, aiming to ship titles within 24 hours from when they are ordered. Customers pay the standard paperback price for a book, set by the author, with no setup fees or minimum orders. For authors, books must be uploaded to CreateSpace as PDFs; an author must then purchase and approve a proof copy of the book before titles can be produced on demand.
Amazon’s share of each sale is calculated by taking a fixed charge of $3.15 per copy, plus a charge per page ($0.02 or $0.12 per black and white or colour page, respectively), plus a percentage of the list price (30% for sales through So a 100-page black and white book sold on Amazon with a list price of $25.00 would earn an author a royalty of $12.35 per sale.
Is this "the publishing news of the decade"? Or is it some way off reality? As Timo Hannay (see link) puts it: "For books, of course, Amazon is the owner of that precious data set. They know more than any other organisation about my reading habits — heck, they probably know more than I do about my reading habits. In contrast, Waterstones knows nothing at all about my preferences even though I must have bought at least as many books there over the years as I have at Amazon. The other players in the current publishing chain know even less………Amazon becomes the ultimate clearing house for books of all kinds (and much else besides), with none of the traditional middlemen getting a look in. Genius."

7 thoughts on “Publishing news of the decade

  1. Ha. Amazon may ‘think’ they know about my reading habits but I mislead them. I buy books from them on behalf of quite a few friends who have no access to internet. I feel particularly pleased about this right now and take a gleeful pleasure in thinking about how I’m unwittingly fooling them…
    Thanks Maxine for the tip, though! It’s an interesting venture – I wonder if this is an indication of the future. Could be, I guess.

  2. Good point, Clare, though it can be useful, eg when I bought my Dad a book on Venice and Amazon told me when the author had his next book out, so I gave him that too — otherwise I would’t have known.
    But this system does seem so much better than other POD systems for author marketing, if it works as advertised. Time will tell, I am sure.

  3. I bought a bunch of “A-List” novels for my teen daughter — now I get alerts for every kind of teenage girl book coming down the pike. Sigh.

  4. You can only use CreateSpace if you are a US Citizen. This is buried in the small print but I confirmed this with a person at Create Space. The rest of us, apparently, don’t matter.

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