Create Space vs. KDP for Paperbacks

Last month I blogged about publishing an existing ebook as a paperback using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform (as opposed to Create Space, also owned by Amazon). Because I experienced some problems and delays during the KDP process for Crimson & Cream, I decided to publish my next paperback (Mirrors & Mist) on Create Space and compare the two.

As you may expect with platforms owned by the same company, both the Create Space and KDP systems are very similar. The online digital review interface is essentially identical (once Amazon bought Create Space, they appear to have used the same software for KDP). Regarding the final product, the paperback quality appears indistinguishable, and I was satisfied with the book quality from both services (see photo below). It's possible that since Amazon owns both companies, they may share a common printing process, but I don't know this for certain.

KDP allows you see your digital cover sooner in the process than Create Space, which requires the book be reviewed by them before you can see the digital cover proof. Having made some size formatting mistakes in my cover (i.e., spine width), waiting for Create Space to review the digital proof added several days to the process. If I could have seen a digital proof upon uploading the cover file (like you can with KDP), I could have fixed my obvious mistakes immediately, instead of having to wait a day or two for Create Space to review (and reject, due to the errors).

Another drawback with Create Space is that their sales don't show up on your KDP dashboard, so you have to log in and view your Create Space account to see your paperback sales. If you publish your paperback through the KDP process, these sales will automatically appear on your KDP dashboard, along with your ebook sales.

Despite these two relatively minor issues, Create Space proved the smoother experience, with no bugs or lockups that required me to contact customer support. For now, I recommend using Create Space, but depending on how each platform continues to develop, this may change. I'm currently printing Warlock & Wyrm with Create Space, and waiting for the final proof to be shipped to me.

I hope this provides some insight on Amazon's two paperback publishing options. I'd be interested in hearing your experiences and tips, if you have a chance to share.

Also, as a Thanksgiving special, the Mirrors & Mist ebook is on sale for $0.99 on Amazon. Happy holidays!