If you haven’t yet heard the news, Amazon recently rolled out a new feature on its KDP site: paperbacks! The new paperback features are considered to be in beta, but if you want to get your books into the program, Amazon has thrown open the doors to let authors start using it now.
Even better, Amazon allows you to import your existing CreateSpace books (remember, Amazon owns CreateSpace), so there’s no new ISBN to assign. You can bring in any paperbacks you already have set up on CreateSpace and get them onto the new system right away.
But do you want to? Let’s look at the pros and cons of Amazon’s new paperback offerings.
Why You Might Want to Use It
This new option offers the same royalty plan as CreateSpace for distribution on the Amazon store, only now it’s explained more clearly: 60% minus printing costs.
Everything in one place
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked that I have to check both my KDP and CreateSpace earnings if I want to accurately track everything. Putting paperbacks into KDP makes it a whole lot easier to see what you’re making.
You get to use Amazon’s catalog system
CreateSpace’s catalog was a crazy mess of the BISAC system. You never knew which category would map to which Amazon search term. With the new KDP Paperback features, you can use the same categories you picked for your e-book, plus you get keywords! And we all know how important great keywords are, right?
Distribution to Japan
Kind of a ho-hum option if you ask me, but KDP paperbacks are distributed to Japan through Amazon, which wasn’t available through CreateSpace. If you have a big potential Japanese audience, maybe this is a good thing.
Convert your KDP e-book to paperback
If you don’t already have a paperback version of one of your e-books, the new paperback features can import your e-book data and do most of the setup for you. But KDP takes it farther than CreateSpace did: You can upload your Kindle-formatted Word document if you don’t have a PDF of your book’s interior. KDP will try to format a paperback based on your Kindle book’s appearance. It may not be perfect, so you’ll want to double-check everything if you use that method. (I attempted to play with this option with my only non-paperback book, but it’s two pages too short for conversion to paperback.)
Speculation: KDP-style promotions?
Pure speculation mode: Amazon may eventually offer some KDP-style promotions for paperbacks. What if you could do a Countdown deal or something similar? It doesn’t look like any such options yet are available yet, but you never know what Amazon may have planned.
Why You Might Not Want to Use It
No CreateSpace store
There’s no CreateSpace store with KDP paperbacks. That means you can no longer offer your readers a coupon for a discount off your paperback when they buy through CreateSpace.
No author/proof copies… yet.
Amazon says they are working on allowing you to purchase wholesale copies, but that option is not available with KDP paperbacks right now. If you make a lot of use of the CreateSpace option to purchase wholesale copies for giveaways, advance reader copies, book shows, and to sell through your own website, you might not want to jump to KDP paperbacks just yet. Or stock up on a big supply of wholesale copies through CreateSpace before you switch.
No expanded distribution… yet.
One of the cool parts of CreateSpace was the expanded distribution channels, which got your paperback into the Ingram catalog so bookstores and libraries could easily purchase it. That’s not yet available as part of KDP paperbacks, but Amazon says those features are coming later.
No special trim sizes
The new KDP paperback features support the industry standard trim sizes, but not the non-standard custom sizes CreateSpace offered. If your book uses a custom trim size, you’ll want to stay on CreateSpace for now—and possibly even start looking for another option. (See below.)
An Important Consideration
It’s very important to note that the transition from CreateSpace to KDP paperbacks is a one-way street. There is no way to put things back if you decide you’d rather stick with CreateSpace after you’ve moved your paperback to KDP. The process actually deletes your paperback from CreateSpace, so make sure you are good and certain you want to move to KDP before you pull the trigger!
Amazon has folded CreateSpace products into itself before, then killed off that part of CreateSpace. Not too long ago, after Amazon launched its own Video Direct platform, it removed the CreateSpace option to publish digital videos on Amazon. In fact, all of those videos on CreateSpace were eventually forced to move to Amazon Video Direct to continue selling. I suspect that once KDP paperbacks are out of beta, the same thing will happen here. So if you’re using a custom trim size at CreateSpace, now would be a good time to start looking for other options.
I decided to jump to KDP paperbacks now. Because neither of my paperbacks need to be proofed, and I don’t need wholesale copies, it made sense for me to get everything to the one dashboard and start taking advantage of the better marketing tools on the KDP side. What about you?