CreateSpace eStore is Closing Effective October 31, 2017

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CREATESPACE ESTORE IS CLOSING

Beginning October 31, 2017, customers will no longer be able to purchase paperbacks directly from the CreateSpace eStore.

If you have a link to your CreateSpace eStore and a customer clicks on it, the customer will be redirected to the corresponding page at Amazon.com.

According to CreateSpace, the reasons behind the change include:

  • It’s much easier to search for books across Amazon’s site than it is to search for books on CreateSpace.
  • Amazon offers a much better checkout process than CreateSpace does.
  • Amazon offers better shipping options, including Amazon Prime.
  • Amazon sends out tracking notifications for orders placed through Amazon.
  • Amazon’s storefront is a much more familiar interface for customers.
  • Several customers have requested the features described above.

Unfortunately, when a customer clicks on a link to a CreateSpace eStore and is redirected to Amazon, authors will earn Amazon.com royalties (not eStore royalties).

Since Amazon offers all of the features listed above, this will improve the customer shopping experience. However, these features cost more (on average) compared to CreateSpace’s simplified eStore setup, so authors will no longer earn eStore royalties—but see my note below about improved Amazon.com royalties for the next 6 months.

Although authors are losing 20% from their eStore royalties, there are a few benefits which help compensate for this loss:

  • Some customers who would have visited your eStore, but who would not made a purchase through CreateSpace (because they didn’t qualify for free shipping, had to setup a new account with CreateSpace, or didn’t trust CreateSpace like they trust Amazon), might now make a purchase from Amazon. The redirection might help a little with a higher percentage of sales.
  • Some customers who would have purchased one book from your eStore might buy a few of your books on Amazon (because your Amazon page features your author page, or because your other books show up on your customers-also-bought list).
  • When a customer buys your book from Amazon.com after being redirected from your eStore, your Amazon.com sales rank will improve, whereas eStore sales had no effect on sales rank.
  • When a customer buys your book from Amazon.com after being redirected from your eStore, the customer’s review will be a Verified Purchase (except for the rare customer who chooses not to let this designation show), whereas reviews from eStore sales were unverified.

Although the new program goes into effect on October 31, 2017, CreateSpace will be adjusting your Amazon.com royalty for all Amazon.com sales made between November 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018. CreateSpace is calculating what percentage of your sales (for each book) were made through your eStore and through Amazon.com over the past 12 months, and is using that to determine your adjusted royalty for the next 6 months.

So if you drive just as much traffic to your eStore over the next 6 months as you did over the last 12 months, you should earn (on average) about the same royalty as usual until May 1, 2018, at which time your Amazon.com royalty will revert back to normal.

Most authors sell very few books, if any, through their CreateSpace eStores: Those authors are virtually unaffected by this change.

However, there are a few entrepreneurial authors who are fairly successful at driving traffic to their CreateSpace eStores. If you usually get a significant percentage of sales from your CreateSpace eStore, you may wish to consider getting other options into place by May 1, 2018. Following are a few suggestions.

  • Accept payments directly (perhaps through PayPal). Either drop ship from CreateSpace (ordering author copies sent directly to customers, although this process isn’t ideal), or order author copies in bulk and then mail to customers directly (you wind up paying more for shipping/packing this way, but you gain the ability to include a bookmark, business card, or thank-you note and you get to inspect the quality of the book firsthand).
  • Setup a website to replace your eStore. It’s very easy to setup a website that processes payments, though it comes at a cost. Then ship copies via one of the methods mentioned in the previous bullet point.
  • Use Amazon Associates. Change all of your current links to your eStore to Amazon Associates links to Amazon.com. This way, you can earn a commission on all of the traffic that your drive to Amazon. In fact, you earn a commission on anything that the customer buys (within a set time period), so if the customer buys another book instead, you earn a commission for that—or if the customer buys a Kindle Fire HD, you earn a commission on that (which is even better).
  • Consider using an alternative print-on-demand service that offers a storefront, such as BookBaby’s BookShop or Lulu. For most authors, I recommend CreateSpace for Amazon sales, but if you can drive significant traffic to a smaller storefront, it may be worth exploring other options. Some print-on-demand services may  let you continue to use CreateSpace for Amazon, while supplementing by using their storefront for traffic that you can generate (however, you must check on this point, as some publishing services may not allow it).

Most of my customers purchase their books directly through Amazon.com, so personally I’m not really affected by this change. However, for two of my better-selling titles, I will be earning 61% royalties (instead of the usual 60%), minus the book cost, for the next 6 months—although it’s just 1%, those two titles sell frequently enough for that to add up to a cool, unexpected bonus. (Thank you, CreateSpace and Amazon.)

Copyright © 2017

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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