BEA 2012: We Compare Amazon's CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing

Yesterday we brought you a look at the perks of using CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to self-publish your manuscript. So why would you opt to use CreateSpace versus KDP, or vice versa? Well, today we outline the two platforms to help you decide which to use to take your book from manuscript to moneymaker!


CreateSpace in one easy phrase … is for authors looking to self-publishing print books.

What does it cost? This process can be completely free, and that experience comes with several no-fee tools to help you go from manuscript to print book. These include a cover creator, a way to preview your book in order to get customized feedback, share your work with a select audience and make updates to your manuscript based on what people say, and finally an updated way to take a look at your manuscript before it becomes a book with Interior Reviewer.

You can also opt to check out CreateSpace’s paid services (which includes working with a design team, an editing team and a marketing team — or all three — depending on the options you choose).

How does it work? You can opt for the Guided (step-by-step) process to turn your manuscript into a book, or use the Expert process if you’ve created books before with CreateSpace. Either way you opt to go, the process is simple: You pick a name for your project, fill in some basic information about the soon-to-be book, select some publishing options and design elements by picking between several clearly explained choices and then upload your ready-to-print document (from either .doc, .docx, .rtf or .pdf format). All along the way there are clear illustrations, helpful hints and simple choices that will lead you to a complete and finished product.

What are some of the tools available? You can use the Interior Reviewer to make sure that any problems with your manuscript’s format and images are addressed. This is a change in the way that CreateSpace works, you used to have to buy a physical proof, but now you can use the online digital proof of your print book. This has streamlined the process and is just one more free tool that helps you turn your manuscript into a printed book.

After you upload your book you can use the Cover Creator to create the outside of your print book. The website boasts that you can, “Use your own photos, images, logos, and text to create customized cover artwork that represents your unique vision. Choose from several designs, themes, and colors from our professional templates.” But during a seminar at BookExpo America 2012, Thom Kephart, Amazon's Community Outreach Product Manager, revealed to the audience that you can change your book’s cover as many times as you want after you’ve published the book. If you want to change your book cover every day for the next fifty years? You can do that, and you won’t run out of options. There are over three hundred, thousand cover combinations in the cover creator — and that’s before you’ve uploaded your own art and designs.

After you have put your book together you can visit Marketing Central to help you build your marketing plan — for free! You can learn about the key elements of how to market your book, discover ten keys for quick tactics to help your book get noticed, find your niche audience and more!

If you get lost along the way: CreateSpace offers 24/7 support staff available by phone and email, in addition to a CreateSpace online community where you can get answers and meet other authors.


Kindle Direct Publishing in one easy phrase … is for authors looking to self-publish e-books.

What does it cost? It is a completely free process.

How does it work? By uploading your manuscript using KDP’s four-step process you can create an e-book within 24 hours! So what do you need to do?:

1) Fill out information about your book (such as the book’s title and description)

2) Upload an image to be used as book cover and your ready-to-be-published manuscript

3) Walk through a similarly simple process to confirm the rights to the book

4) Set the book’s pricing and publish it!

What are some of the tools available? You can track your sales and royalties in real time. And it’s easy to access the reports that are generated about your books.

You can earn up to 70% royalty if you set the price of your book between $2.99 and $9.99.

You can make your e-book available on KDP Select by giving Amazon exclusive rights to the e-book Amazon for 90 days. KDP Select books are included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. This means that Amazon Prime members that own Kindles have access to the book. And authors who take part in KDP Select are eligible to receive part of a share of $6 million dollars being offered during 2012. Furthermore, during the time that your e-book is enrolled in KDP, you can offer the book for free for five days. Learn More About KDP Select >>

Reach a large audience digitally, even if you don’t enroll in KDP Select. KDP e-books can be read on any Kindle Device and any Kindle app. These apps are available for Macs and PCs, as well as iPhones, Androids and the iPad.

If you get lost along the way: You can visit the help page, it is easy to access the KDP community forum, to ask questions and if you’ve tried those other options, you can send the KDP team an e-mail to get assistance!


So how do these two services stack up? “You should use both, it’s not one or the other.” Kephart told us. These self-publishing functions create two different products. After using CreateSpace you have a finished print book that is ready for readers to buy. Authors using CreateSpace are provided the tools to publish their print book an e-book with KDP. Kephart explained farther saying, for CreateSpace authors, "in short, we 'pack the bags' (provide interior file, cover file, excel of the metadata) for the author so they can easily go to KDP and publish." To learn more about how CreateSpace facilitates their authors' creation of e-books click here.

Want to see more of the action at BEA 2012? Click here. And for more writer-centric tips and tricks, click here for more aspiring author posts.

UPDATE 6/14/2012: We've just learned that Amazon's CreateSpace has rolled out a free service that helps CreateSpace authors turn their print book into a KDP e-book by providing the cover and manuscript in the appropriate files. You can click here to learn more.

Learn More About Self-Publishing With Amazon >>

Promote Your Books With Amazon's Author Central >>