Things have been hectic around Catherine HQ over the last few days, and so when people started saying to me “Great news about CreateSpace and Europe, right?” I didn’t really have time to go and check if it was good news. I presumed it must be, because up until now, paying for CreateSpace’s expanded distribution channel upgrade did not guarantee that your book would appear on Amazon.co.uk which, for self-publishers on my side of the Atlantic, was very important indeed.
So if CreateSpace was now saying that your paperback would appear on Amazon.co.uk (and Amazon.de, and Amazon.fr, and Amazon.etc) in the same way it would on Amazon.com—automatically, and only a week or so after you published—that would be A Very Good Thing.
Which it is.
But now that I’ve had a chance to go investigate, I’ve realized that it’s even better that that.
No More EDC Lottery
Up until now, using CreateSpace only guaranteed that your POD paperback would appear for sale on Amazon.com. It might show up on Amazon.co.uk (and other international Amazons) but if it did, it could take anywhere from a couple of weeks (as it did with Mousetrapped in March 2010) to a few months (as with Self-Printed a year later), or it might never appear at all— or appear and disappear at will (as with Backpacked). If you were lucky, you got the next best thing: a third party seller flogging your book on Amazon instead. But that would mean that your book was unlikely to qualify for Super Saver Delivery, or ever be discounted. In short, it was a bad deal and the alternative, i.e. directing people to buy your book from Amazon.com, would mean higher shipping costs and a longer wait for your customers.
Now CreateSpace is saying that international Amazons are going to be just like Amazon.com: publish, and you’ll be on there. For free, as part of their publishing service. And on the same time schedule, which is 5-7 days. You don’t even have to upgrade to the EDC. (Now, that’ll just be for getting on the likes of Barnes and Noble, I presume.)
So, yay for guaranteed availability!
This is what I didn’t realize until I went onto CreateSpace to find out for myself what had changed: this means more money.
Flashback to a year ago. I’m selling Mousetrapped, a 232-page paperback in a 5.5 x 8.5 trim size, and I’ve paid a one-time fee of $39 to upgrade to CreateSpace’s “ProPlan” which gives me cheaper unit costs and enrolls me in their Expanded Distribution Channel, or EDC. If I sell a copy on Amazon.com, I pocket around $4.52. If I sell a copy through the EDC, I make around $1.53. And because every online retail site except Amazon.com falls under this EDC umbrella, I only make $1.53 from paperback sales on Amazon.co.uk.
Now that the international Amazons are on a par with Amazon.com and have been taken out of the EDC, there’s a lot more money to be made from paperback sales there—and I don’t have to pay for any ProPlan to avail of it.
There’s yet another bonus to this whole CreateSpace Europe thing: more information. Up until now, you could only find out how many books you’d sold through Amazon.com and how many books you’d sold through the EDC. You had no idea if those EDC sales were from B&N, other Amazons or a guy with a trunk full of books. (Well, you could probably guess it wasn’t the last one…) But now you’ll know—or at least know more, because your sales will be divided into Amazon.com, Amazon Europe and EDC. Furthermore, your payments will be divided into dollars (Amazon.com + the EDC), British Pounds (Amazon.co.uk) and Euro (Amazon.de, Amazon.it, Amazon.fr and Amazon.es), so it should be fairly easy to figure out where your paperback sales are coming from.
This leads me on to the one real downside of this I can see: separate cheques. Right now if you publish on KDP Select, you receive three different cheques: one in dollars, one in pounds and one in euro. That’s all well and good, but in order to get them, you have to reach the minimum threshold for them, which I believe is a hundred apiece. Up until now, you only ever received one cheque from CreateSpace and it was in dollars. Now, you’ll have to wait to meet that $100/£100/€100 threshold before you receive the cheques, so chances are you’ll be waiting longer to get paid.
The other sorta downside is shipping charges. According to the CS website, if I order stock of my own book, they’re still being shipped from the US and still costing me a small fortune to get to my house ($112 at economy/6 weeks speed for 100 books). That’s approximately a third of what the books themselves would be costing me. But fingers crossed, that’ll get sorted out eventually…
Come Join the Party
If you have titles already for sale through CreateSpace, they won’t be entered into the Amazon Europe channel automatically. You need to do a few things:
- Log on to CreateSpace and update your royalty profile information
- Go into each title and manually open the Amazon Europe channel
- Select your prices: automatic conversions (as with Kindle books) or set your own GBP and EUR prices.
I did this just after midnight yesterday, and this morning I already have a few euro and a few pounds in my CreateSpace kitty. Also yesterday, Backpacked‘s paperback was showing “out of stock” on Amazon.co.uk, but now it’s in stock and reflecting my new end-in-99p price. So the switch-over must take effect as soon as you do it on your account.
Now that’s customer service for you.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I LOVE CreateSpace.
(And isn’t it nice to be talking about actual books for once?!)
Thanks to Sally Clements for alerting me about this!