CreateSpace – Reviewed (Update Aug 2018) [DEFUNCT]


CreateSpace is the publishing engine of global online retailer and publisher Amazon, the company everyone either wants to love or hate. Createspace began life in 2002 as CustomFlix Labs (DVD), originally intended to make widespread distribution easier for independent filmmakers by providing on-demand DVD production. In 2000, a small group of writers pooled resources to form Booksurge with the intention of creating opportunities for authors to self-publish their books and retain content rights and sales profits. Both companies quickly flourished and in 2005, Amazon acquired them, with CustomFlix Labs changing its name to CreateSpace in 2007. By late 2009, Amazon took the logical step and merged CreateSpace and Booksurge under the CreateSpace brand name to form a single company offering on-demand manufacturing of books, DVD’s and music formats for independent artists and businesses. CreateSpace also support on-demand products for Amazon retail and their publishing imprints AmazonEncore (for deserving author slipping under the mainstream radar) and AmazonCrossing (for foreign language books deserving an English translation).

A few years ago CreateSpace might have seemed like any other POD (print on demand) service, but visit its site now and you will be in no doubt that you are dealing with a competent company connected to the Amazon brand. For several years CreateSpace was the main competitor to DIY self-publishing service,, but by 2009, CreateSpace surpassed the published output of the Tennessee-based self-publishing service.
Many readers will have followed my own DIY self-publishing experiences on this website with Lulu and Blurb throughtout the period 2008-2009 and wondered why TIPM did not offer a more expansive review of CreateSpace until now. We delayed doing a thorough review in 2010 because of the rapid development and changes at Amazon and CreateSpace.
CreateSpace, in spite of all the changes, has built up an extraordinary strong brand and it was no real surprise when Booksurge was subsumed into CreateSpace. Like Lulu, CreateSpace is the ideal place for an independent DIY artist to go and upload a book, film or album for on-demand production and publication.
For the purpose of this review, we will centre on CreateSpace for the services it offers self-publishing authors. The most significant move made by this company was the introduction of full global online distribution and availability package at $39 (Pro-Plan), costing almost half of what is on offer at Lulu for a similar deal. Books submitted and up-loaded must meet with CreateSpace’s technical requirements. Prior to the introduction of this distribution package, CreateSpace would have always been considered the second choice for serious self-published authors. Thankfully, that all changed in 2010 when CreateSpace introduced the package and it truly put the company on the map as a DIY self-publishing service. Of course, like Lulu, if an author has modest aspirations, and simply wants to have a printed book and use CreateSpace’s ISBN, and is happy with availability of his/her book on CreateSpace’s bookstore and Amazon, then setting up a book is technically free, outside of the cost of the final proof copy of the book before it is made available. Since TIPM did this review, CS has waived that requirement, but I would wholeheartedly not advise approving a book until you see a physical proof.

CreateSpace use online tools to upload a completed book PDF file, or allow the author to design his/her book using templates and widget tools. I found the Createspace application for book load-up not quite as easy to use as Lulu (I still feel the same way circa 2012), but that is purely personal taste. The quality of what you have and what you put in is what determines the quality of output on the finished book. The book samples I have purchased from CreateSpace were exceptionally good and on a par with anything I have got from Lightning Source.

From the CreateSpace website royalty video. Also the CS Expanded Distribution plan.



It may take up to six weeks for your title to begin populating in the distribution outlets you select. Additionally, changes to any details of your book including list price, selling information (such as your book’s product description), or your book’s files may take up to six weeks to update in all distribution outlets. Outlets don’t update simultaneously, so your book’s previous list price, selling information, or files will persist until the change propagates throughout the distribution outlets. (CS has improved this, 2012)


Book Update Fees

If you need to change the cover or interior files for your book for any reason, we can accommodate your request; however, there will be a $25 book update fee for each new file change request. This fee only applies to changes made for an EDC-enrolled title.”


Calculating Our Share
      Sales Channel Percentage
+    Fixed Charge
+    Per-Page Charge
=    Our Share “Upgrade your book toPro Plan to lower your book’s fixed and per-page charges.

Sales Channel Percentage

A sales channel percentage is deducted from your book’s list price depending on which sales channel the book is sold through.”

Sales Channel Percentage
CreateSpace eStore
20% of list price
per sale
40% of list price
per sale
60% of list price
per sale

“Fixed Charges

Fixed charges vary depending on your book’s page count, whether your book’s interior is black and white or full-color, and if your title has been upgraded to Pro Plan.”

Fixed Charges
Black and white books with 24-108 pages
$3.66 per book
$2.15 per book
Black and white books with 110-828 pages
$1.50 per book
$0.85 per book
Full-color books with 24-40 pages
$6.55 per book
$3.65 per book
Full-color books with 42-250 pages
$1.75 per book
$0.85 per book

“Per-Page Charge

Some books with higher page counts may also have a per-page charge.”

Per-Page Charges
Black and white books with 24-108 pages
Black and white books with 110-828 pages
$0.02 per page
$0.012 per page
Full-color books with 24-40 pages
Full-color books with 42-250 pages
$0.12 per page
$0.07 per page


“Based on the above figures, if an author goes for the Pro-Plan distribution on our average example of a 200 page black and white interior and full colour cover books, then we are looking at the following royalty share for authors if they set a retail price at $10:


Through CreateSpace bookstore – $10 less 20% ($2) distribution, less fixed charge for Pro-Plan ($0.85), less page charge ($2.40) = $4.75


Through Amazon bookstore – $10 less 40% ($4) distribution, less fixed charge for Pro-Plan ($0.85), less page charge ($2.40) = $2.75


Through other expanded channels – $10 less 60% ($6) distribution, less fixed charge for Pro-Plan ($0.85), less page charges ($2.40) = $0.75″


Total Design Freedom Standard

Let a team of professionals work their magic with your manuscript—we’ll use your input to custom-design your book’s interior and cover while maintaining your unique vision for your book.

Price: $728.00*

Total Design Freedom Essentials

Having high-quality content and a top-notch design are essential to the success of your book. With Total Design Freedom Essentials, you’ll receive great savings on our copyediting and book design services to create a professional, polished, one-of-a-kind book.

Price: $1,737.00*

Total Design Freedom Advanced

Want to create a polished, great-looking book and get a head start with marketing? Total Design Freedom Advanced offers a round of copyediting to help refine and prepare your manuscript for publication, the flexibility of a custom-designed book cover and interior, plus a press release with distribution to help get your book noticed.

Price: $2,315.00*

Total Design Freedom Marketing Pro

Launch your book in style with Total Design Freedom Marketing Pro. This comprehensive publishing solution comes equipped with multiple rounds of copyediting, custom book design including a Signature Book Cover, and an assortment of effective marketing tools.

Price: $4,634.00*”


It is obviously worth making a Kindle version available with Amazon if you are going to use CreateSpace to publish your book. The service itself does not come at a fee and the author gets 30% royalties on the retail price.

Like competitor Lulu, CreateSpace offer access to a thriving online community of CreateSpace authors well worth browsing if any author is seriously considering using this service. CreateSpace offers an abundance of other services from design and layout to editing, but again, CreateSpace’s strength lies in being a provider of DIY self-publishing services for authors who can provide print ready files and I would like to think that they will not go the way of Lulu and start to place more of an emphasis on some of the expensive packages listed above.

CreateSpace is now at the forefront of DIY self-publishing and the introduction of the Pro-Plan at $39 makes it a difficult choice to ignore. Short of working with Ingram’s Lightning Source (a more complex undertaking for the DIY self-publisher), CS beats Lulu hands down on front end pricing, and lacks some of the frustrations authors experience with Smashwords.

CS is still not for the faint-hearted, but with a well-edited and complete print file, you really won’t find a better DIY service. I’d take a lot of the added packages, bells and whistles, with a pinch of salt. Go to a freelance designer or marketer if you want those services.

UPDATE (Feb 2017): There are increasing indications that Amazon intends integrating its self-publishing POD operation CreateSpace in Amazon KDP and repurposing CreateSpace as a B2B operation, much in the way we have seen Ingram use Spark to fix on the self-publishing service market and allow Lightning Source to service the commercial publishing market.

UPDATE: Nov 2010 –CreateSpace announce service improvements.

UPDATE: May 2012 CreateSpace Fully Rolls Out Distribution on Amazon Europe

UPDATE: Nov 2013 CreateSpace Offer Expanded Distribution for Free

UPDATE: Aug 2018 CreateSpace will merge with KDP Print

RATING: 0/10 (Defunct, as of late 2018 – REMOVED FROM INDEX OCTOBER 2019)


  1. Tom Stevens said:

    I’m UK based and I use CreateSpace for Amazon in the States. In the UK I use Lightning Source, having been through a protracted argument over quality with CPI Antony Rowe who print in the UK for Lulu.

    I’ve sold far more through CreateSpace than I ever achieved thru Lulu – and if my experience is of ny help to anyone in the UK I’d say avoid Lulu, aboid Antony Rowe, go to Lightning Source for UK distribution (including hardbacks) and CreateSpace for Amazon in the USA.

    Tom Stevens

  2. Mick Rooney said:

    Thanks Tom for the info. I actually had not been aware of Lulu’s use of Anthony Rowe printers in the uk.

    I suspect this must have come about last year after the whole Amazon debacle.

  3. regina said:

    hi mick,
    -just comments to begin but i do have questions which i will ask and appreciate if you respond to at the end.

    – as random as things are I have come across you site over the past couple of days and have returned.
    – a career changer, an individual who has wanted to give this writing thing some dedicated time for years – i am here
    – after research and research it appears using publishers marketplace as a datamining resource, that much of what is selling in fiction is of the genres: thrillers, supernatural, vampires.
    – that being said, i would like to self publish.
    – been reading much about different companies who facillitate this
    – my objective is to get my stories out there, for fun and pleasure but when I read fiction I like to learn something as I do
    – i do not want a reader to pay ~16.00 for a paperback plus postage and as you have made mention, the price is very high with booksurge and lulu.
    – i still haven’t figured out ‘createspace’
    – indypublish has a great philosophy but they are closed to new manuscripts until they catch up on their backlog; that is reputable that they honestly say this.
    – i want to go paperback because i am an environmentalist.
    -anticipate that i will make use of my own webpage

    my questions:
    Q1 – copyright ownership.
    if i ‘own my isbn’, and list myself as the ‘company creating my own publishing name’ but then i go with lulu, booksurge etc to facillitate the printing and distribution of my book through amazon etc ‘own’ my work and will this prevent me from trying to go another venue if I am not successful with them ? for instance changing from one publisher to another.

    Q2 – can one publish their book as an ebook with one isbn and with one publisher and then their paperback with another publisher ?

    Q3 – i would like to make this an ebook right away. is ‘ebook’ the generic way to describe a book that is downloadable ?

    Q4 – i’m in the states, [one of my kids is studying in the UK this term] and I would like to make sure that my book(s) are available worldwide. i know that you are trying to provide infomation in a diplomatic fashion but if you have a preference based upon your experience and what you have embedded in your very informative website, i would appreciate it.

    do you like U2 ?

  4. Mick Rooney said:


    Q1. Yes, in theory you can withdraw your book from one self-publishing services and go from one to another. As you say, you are simply using them as a printer. Regarding going with a tradition publisher in the future – thats a little more tricky because you have used ‘first published’ rights and traditional publishers may not be interested in your book unless it has had a significant sales record.

    Q2. Ebook with one publisher (self-publisher service I assume) and paperback with another – yes if you retain all publication rights, but all contracts differ.

    Q3. Yes an ebook is an electronically downloadable book that can come in a number of different formats (Kindle, epub etc) or a basic downloadable PDF file.

    Q4. Many good self-publishing services offer worldwide online distribution (Lulu, Createspace). What can the real negative is the amount paid in shipping a book if only a US printer/fulfilment to the rest of the world.

  5. Kevin S. said:

    The cost per copy for an author using CreateSpace is actually quite low, in fact, the prices I pay are a few cents below what I would pay for author copies from Lightning US.

    In order to get the low price, you MUST pay the $39 Pro Plan fee, which is really reasonable compared to all the other options to take your money that are out there.

    Then there is the advantage of having a direct link to Amazon if that is going to be your main source of sales.

    I cannot speak to any costs that an author may incur outside of the United States.

    The drawback, if you see it as such, is that you must pay Amazon a 40% discount to sell your book. The 20% short discount option available through Lightning is not an option. I could never afford to pay for the marketing and exposure that one obtains through Amazon so the 40% does not seem unfair to me.

  6. Diplo Dice said:

    Folks that deal with CreateSpace should be careful because their “Expanded Distribution” will eat up over 60% of your retail price. Say your book costs $30, Amazon will pay royalties of approx. $7.80. That is outrageous. The major book distributors out there (Ingram, Baker & Taylor) will charge from 40% to 55% so the price Amazon is demanding is too much.

  7. Editor said:


    You have made a fair point on the confusion over ‘we’ and ‘they’ in the review. I have formatted the post to indicate where I am quoting directly from CreateSpace.

    However, I really don’t follow your eschewed logic that quoting factual information from CreateSpace makes the review ‘impartial’?

    With respect, I’d suggest you read and familiarize yourself with the other 60 reviews here and the hundred plus articles before making such generalization that we are not being impartial.

  8. Windfield said:

    Hi Mick

    While your information is valid this is not really a review per se. I would see it more as lobbing known information. However that being the case I would offer the following. Although my math is a bit clunky the msg I get from the information about this service is it would be fool hardy to think you could make money. Example.

    If my 800 page book sells for $20.00 on Amazon, they will take 40% or $8.00. Then since it is 800 pages on the pro plan they will take $.012 per page or $9.60. Then another $.85 per book on the pro plan. So $20.00 minus $8 minus $.85 minus $9.60 is $1.55.
    Yes they do it for free but you give your book away virtually for free also.
    Something for nothing makes nothing. (Sounds like a song)

  9. Editor said:

    Eh, Windfield,

    Isn’t the whole idea to lob out the information that is there? createspace is by no means the perfect answer to every self-publishing authors aspirations, but it remains one of the best options.

    And I agree, particularly in using self-publishing services, you get nothing for nothing in this world.

  10. THE AGILE BADGER said:

    My father is currently working with CreateSpace on a book, the cover for which he asked me to design. People should be aware that CreateSpace will reject cover art that contains any text–even rasterized text. This means that designers cannot work with text–arguably one of the most important elements–in their designs. This came as very disappointing news to both me and my father since I developed the artwork and text to work together in a very deliberate manner. CreateSpace, evidently to avoid any potential conflict with typeface copyright issues, will reject out-of-hand any cover art containing text, even if it were hand painted in the artists own script. Buyer beware.

  11. Anonymous said:

    Agile Badger,

    My suggestion would be to contact a customer service rep via e-mail and set up a phone call.

    I have published 15 books with CreateSpace and had my interior file rejected once and a cover once. Both were accepted following a conversation with the customer service rep.

    Kevin Sivils

  12. THE AGILE BADGER said:

    Thanks, Anon. The issue was eventually resolved in the way you described; after some back-and-forth, the cover will be published as it was designed. But the culture of “reject first, then consider petitions for acceptance later” is needlessly frustrating for authors and designers. I wonder how many customers settled for designs they didn’t want simply because they assumed “no” means “no.” When they’re paying the tab, they should be greeted with “yes” more often.

  13. Anonymous said:

    Does CreateSpace offer any serious marketing services? Once the book is “published” it might rot online unless some evaluation and marketing is done. I understand that Amazon retains a high percentage, but are they really working for it?

  14. Mick Rooney said:

    CreateSpace do offer marketing services, but I think you would find cheaper and more effective marketing options from freelancers or dedicated book marketing agencies. Amazon (Kindle) retain 30% on sales of books (70% to the author) for most US, UK and Euro territories.

  15. Anonymous said:

    How do the Kirkus and Foreword reviews help with marketing of a new book?

  16. Halle Bose said:

    I think authors would be negligent in relying on Createspace’s marketing alone. The most successful people seem to take the marketing of their work as their responsibility. They use different means of event marketing along with that provided by their publisher in order to reach people who would benefit from their product. In this way they make a big impact.

  17. Paul said:

    My experience with CreateSpace has been painful, difficult and stressful. As a first time author I expect to have a hassle free experience as releasing a novel is stressful enough. I have found their website to be inconsistent and unhelpful. Although their reply to questions is fairly quick, as a UK user, I found a lack of UK phone number annoying.

    I ended up having to re-upload my novel which caused much frustration as it uploaded fine first time but second time and everything was somehow different, they could not upload my cover properly even though I followed their downloadable guide and the website looks outdated and unprofessional.

    I would tell writers not to use CreateSpace but then what is the alternative? Also I am pretty sure they are under paying me but can’t get someone to talk straight to me on their email service. The whole process is a joke. The first copy I received from their printers came out good, I just forgot to put in page numbers. Now I have to wait several days to see if the re-upload will be successful. Sadly, I doubt Create Space’s ability.

    Also, a helpful tip, do not use Create Space to release a novel around Christmas time. Makes everything all the more stressful.

  18. Dan S said:

    CreateSpace didn’t work out for me. The book came out great but when it came time to pay out my royalties, a big fat ZERO. The payouts met the minimum threshold, too. They just gave a bunch of lame excuses that never panned out. At the end, simply stalling tactics. There are also many complaints about CreateSpace underreporting sales. CreateSpace is a Amazon company, but it’s a shady operation. I would stay away from them.

    • Mick Rooney said:

      Daniel, you’ve already stated it yourself. The book turned out great. Your royalties were not a ‘big fat ZERO’. Your book simply didn’t sell many copies to even reach CreateSpace’s threshold. CreateSpace terms are very clear when you sign up to use its publishing platform. Most self-publishing platforms have some form of payment threshold, whether it’s $10, $25 or $100. Signing up to a company’s terms – which clearly state this – is not operating in a shady way. It simply means you didn’t read and make yourself aware of the terms. Companies like CreateSpace have threshold terms in place because it costs money to administrate payments and the charges that go with that if it is only paying out a handful of dollars. I’d suggest you check what payment method you indicated on sign up.

      In fact early last year CS reduced the threshold for direct deposit payments. I’ve had payments from Amazon/CS (per month) for as little as 2 or 3 dollars.

      “As of January 20, 2014, the minimum threshold amount has been removed for accounts selecting Direct Deposit as their payment method. Previously, you were required to wait until royalties met the minimum payment amount (threshold) of $10/£10/?10 before any earnings could be dispersed via direct deposit. You will now be paid approximately thirty (30) days following the end of the calendar month during which applicable sales occurred, no matter the amount.”

      • Bob said:

        Mick, Your “Review” is not a review. It is simply a history and facts about pricing, which you never mentioned a payout threshold either. A threshold is understandable and acceptable if explained when setting up your account. The facts on pricing that you have in this article are very helpful and greatly appreciated, but a review should include other details. How is their service, support, ease of use, Integrity, or security. The BBB has only 6 negative reviews, but there are only 6 reviews. Of course, people tend to only take time to write a review when upset. The BBB also has over 40 complaints about unpaid royalties, no way to track royalties, poor customer service, poor quality of printed books, delayed shipments blamed on incorrect formatting that was perfect when first submitted, but changed, and from people being blown off, telling the that it is not CreateSpace’s problem. A history, price guide, and list of some services offered is nice, but actually review the company if you are going to title you article\probably blog, as a review.

    • JoAnne Stoklasa said:

      You need to file a consumer complaint at the Washington Attorney Generals Office Gov web site, online.

  19. Paul Gresham said:

    Pretty useful info, thanks.
    I just visited because I’m ready to self publish my first novel on Kindle, and am looking at print on demand.
    I wouldn’t call this extensive market research, I’ve just spoken to two people about Kindle and print on demand.
    One person is happy with Kindle, the other prefers a book that they can hold in their hand.

  20. John said:

    Isn’t the whole idea to lob out the information that is there? createspace is by no means the perfect answer to every self-publishing authors aspirations, but it remains one of the best options.

    And I agree, particularly in using self-publishing services, you get nothing for nothing in this world.

  21. Nathalie Almonacid said:

    It is worth to use CreateSpace for books related to photography? Additionally I would like to sell it physically in Bookstores, so not sure if the cost of printing it (in UK) plus shipping will worth it.

  22. Jio. Reliance said:

    Pretty useful info, thanks.
    I just visited because I’m ready to self publish my first novel on Kindle, and am looking at print on demand.
    what a beautiful design! Those two did a great job decorating such a small space. Looks like a very cozy little nest!

  23. tubemate apk said:

    Thanks Tom for the info. I actually had not been aware of Lulu’s use of Anthony Rowe printers in the uk.

    I suspect this must have come about last year after the whole Amazon debacle.

  24. yahoo support said:

    Useful information for everyone who is just going to start their own self-publishing Work.It really helps them to get important tips and idea of the girls including its consequences and risk.
    Great work!
    Keep sharing such more.

  25. JoAnne Stoklasa said:

    FRAUD: Any Createspace complaints should be directed to the Washington Attorney Generals Office Gov web site and file a consumer complaint. Amazon is based in Seattle.

  26. Todd L Thomas said:

    I have 10 Books on Amazon via Createspace. it has been like pulling teeth from a dinosaur. It is my professional opinion as an Author of 5 years and Graphic Designer/Illustrator of 23 years that CreateSpace Support Team Members and Sr Team members do not know what they are doing when it comes to checking files and are ‘rejection-happy’ or they reject files on purpose hoping Authors don’t know what they are doing. For me, first they say there is no bleed. Then they say the spine is off. They are just plain off their rockers. I’ve had every file rejected the past 8-10 books. They are ridiculous. I am using the same d____ file over and over again and they print just fine after fighting with them and forcing them to approve the files. But for their ‘make-believe reasons’ they reject them regardless. I believe it is so Self-publishing Author’s will use the Creative services to make more money. I am going to do something about it.

    • Annie said:

      I am researching where to self-publish. I am working with a friend that is writing a book to educate folks on a sustainable plant. the book will include interviews from successful companies etc. if we want to have both print copies to hand out, as well as electronic availability, do you have a suggestion?

  27. Scott Symmonds said:

    I have gotten a lot of great information from this review and from the many comments I have read. I do have a question for any or all of you: For a first-time author, do you think it would be wiser to publish a physical book via Creatspace, or is there more advantage to going the ebook route through Kindle? I have tossed this around some, but would love to hear from people such as yourselves, who have some experience in the matter.

    Much Thanks!

  28. VISUALITY books said:

    apropos, as Amazon Author, I’m dealing with shipping of the infamous CreateSpace Proof of Print, which, supposedly, should be a SAMPLE; I had to pay more than the 10% of final value amount, detailed by Amazon on the parcel, to pass the Custom here in India. As if it was a good for sale!
    I know that Trump and Modi are plotting to Make Your Country Get Worse Again, but it is simply ridiculous that CreateSpace does not apply basic fees for printed matter all over the Globe.

  29. Nan Mykel Ph.D. said:

    I’d like someone to do a legal audit of Create Space. I’ve never received a yearly statement accounting for transactions. The most recent time I requested I of course I got “no sales.” I’ve never received enough to have to pay taxes on royalties. My tax person felt so sorry for me she ordered her own copy! At 82 I guess I’m a sitting duck, but I know that older people sometimes get paranoid but I don’t like feeling so uncertain. .A year or so ago I got an e-mail saying they had the wrong bank routing number (turns out it wasn’t). I note if they sell a book under “New or other” they don’t have to pay a royalty fee?. If sold through one of their out of store companies do royalties get paid? More copies seem to be available under new or gently used than have been sold. Someplace I saw “hardcover” mentioned in connection with my book and I don’t think it’s ever been in hardcover. Their accountability is questionable. I can’t spot where to write for a complete picture of what they have done. They did a good print job for me but I get the feeling I’ve been taken to the cleaners. I’ve had good reviews on GoodReads, which Amazon owns, but they’ve never made it to the Amazon listing. My book is a 426 page book with bibliograpy called “An Incest Survivor Talks to Sex Offenders (and others) plus her journal.(I lent my copy to someone) for the balance of the title).. Who should I write to request someone do an audit of Create Space’s books/procedures? I am a retired state licensed clinical psychologist.