Books written by Ray Sullivan

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Createspace Expanded Channel - What's the Point?

Like most sensible self published authors I publish through Amazon and all the other mainstream publishing outfits via Smashwords distribution. Not that I'm selling particularly significant numbers, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords itself have all sold copies of my books recently whereas Amazon has literally flat-lined following the launch of Kindle Unlimited. I can't join that club because I refuse to publish exclusively through Amazon, my choice and one that I'm sure Amazon don't care about.

I also publish through Amazon subsidiary, CreateSpace. This permits those who want to read my books but prefer to kill trees as opposed to reading eBooks. The quality is good, the service is really author-friendly but the unit costs are high. Consequently I sell even fewer paperbacks than through any other channel and expect that most other self published authors have similar experiences.

A few months ago CreateSpace invited me to add some new sales channels to my books - they call it expanded distribution and it aims to get your books in front of libraries and universities in the US. I didn't pay too much attention when I added the new channels - I hardly sell paperbacks -but did notice that the US prices were automatically hiked by about $3 - $4 a book, making them even more expensive. I did briefly consider reversing the choice as I don't want to penalise readers for choosing print, but I guess I ran out of time and never revisited the situation.

Then the other day I discovered that a copy of Project: Evil had been sold in the US at the inflated price and had net me $0.06 in royalties. Now I guess Amazon, CreateSpace and possibly some middleman bookstore have all made some money from this sale and I'm guessing I'm the only one who only racked up $0.06, less 30% US tax as I can't get my head around the exemption documentation for the IRS, so nearer $0.035 by the time we're done. I'll take a cheque if it's alright with Amazon.

Needless to say I've removed the expanded distribution option and dropped all my US prices to suit, so if you've been looking at my print books and thought they are pricey - they are but they were more so - then please note I've trimmed the price pretty much as low as I can without paying Amazon for the privilege of printing them for you. If anyone knows of an author benefit from this distribution channel then I'm all ears, because I can't find anything on the CreateSpace site that explains it.

If you are a self published author using CreateSpace then I suggest you review your channels.

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