Publish on KDP or CreateSpace: Where to Self-publish Your Paperback


1106 Design

July 04, 2018

CreateSpace has merged with KDP.

Existing CreateSpace Customers: All CreateSpace titles have been migrated to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Use your Amazon account username and password to log into your KDP account. Click here to go to the KDP page on Amazon. If you did not create an account on KDP, go back to CreateSpace and reclaim your account by entering the email address you use to access your CreateSpace account, then go from there. Your published book on Amazon is not impacted by the closure of CreateSpace’s self-publishing services division.

CreateSpace has been replaced by the Amazon service Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). KDP is used to set up both paperbacks and ebooks on Amazon. Click here to go to the KDP page on Amazon. KDP does not offer services to authors other than linking the books to Amazon to sell and providing sales reports.

Want to Self-publish Your Book? Exporting your book from CreateSpace to KDP Paperback or IngramSpark and need to make changes to your files first? Contact us for assistance. A package that includes cover design, interior layout, proofreading, and eBook formatting for books 50,000 words and under starts at $3,000 USD.


In the spirit of Self-Publishing 3.0 (direct sales from author to reader: true self-publishing), 1106 Design provides self-publishing services to authors and encourages authors to maximize their profits by managing their own print-on-demand and distribution.

CreateSpace and IngramSpark are the only two companies that provide print-on-demand services. We recommend authors use CreateSpace for selling books on Amazon and IngramSpark for expanded distribution to other online retailers, brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries.

However, there’s a new(ish) kid in town: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for paperbacks. Should you publish on KDP? In this blog post, we examine the similarities and (ever decreasing) differences between KDP for paperbacks and CreateSpace.

Like CreateSpace, KDP provides authors with the gateway for selling paperbacks on Amazon. Authors previously used CreateSpace to sell paperbacks and Kindle to sell their eBooks. Now, authors have the option to publish on KDP and sell both versions of their book on Amazon via the same platform, thus saving time and consolidating all sales reporting on one platform.

Now that CreateSpace no longer offers editing, proofreading and book design services to self-published authors, it is simply a print-on-demand gateway to publishing on Amazon. Both KDP and CreateSpace include:

  • Distribution to Amazon in the US and other countries
  • Creative control over your book
  • Availability on Amazon quickly once the proper PDF files are uploaded to the platform
  • The ability to order proofs and copies of the book for authors to sell directly to customers or as giveaways
  • “100%” availability through digital print-on-demand—printing just enough to fill orders without ever going out of stock.

Note that neither platform allows for the printing of hardcover books, while IngramSpark does.

Using the KDP platform for both paperbacks and eBooks makes it more convenient for authors; no longer must you enter your account and tax details twice—once for the paperback in CreateSpace and once for the Kindle version in KDP.

When you publish on KDP (just as when you upload files to the CreateSpace platform), authors must upload PDF files that meet KDP’s strict specifications. For book cover and interior page design and formatting, authors may hire self-publishing services or do their own work. KDP encourages authors to use their handy manuscript templates, but in the best interests of authors who want beautiful and unique book covers and interiors that compete with the bestsellers in their genre, we discourage the use of templates. (See our blog post on making the best use of your time).

So with both the KDP and CreateSpace platforms seeming so similar, what are the differences? Not much. Here are some issues authors should take into consideration before making the move:

Royalties on KDP vs CreateSpace

First, let’s be clear: the word “royalties” is a bit of a misnomer. The word “royalties” is associated with publishing, and is the amount paid to an author by a publisher. KDP and CreateSpace are not the publisher; you are (unless you’ve used an ISBN issued by CreateSpace, but that’s another story). “Royalties” are your per book profit.

Let’s do a comparison between the royalties from KDP and CreateSpace for the following book:

184 page black and white paperback, 6×9 trim size, with a list price of $8.99 distributed through Amazon US.

KDP Royalties

KDP Royalties = 60% of list price – printing costs – applicable taxes or withholding

Printing costs = fixed cost + (# of pages x per page printing cost)

For a 184-page book, the printing cost would be:

.85 + (184 pages x .012) = $3.058

Royalties = (60% x 8.99) – 3.058

Royalties = $2.34 per book

CreateSpace Royalties

CreateSpace Royalties = list price – (Sales Channel %) – fixed charge – per page printing charge

Sales Channel % – $3.60 (for, this is 40%)

Fixed Charge – .85

Per Page Charge – $2.20

Royalties: $2.34 per book

Thus, it appears that the royalties for paperbacks distributed through CreateSpace and KDP are identical. If you decide to transfer your book over to KDP Paperback however, please check the royalty calculation to make sure you are being paid equally. For example, the above calculations are for black ink; the cost for color printing may differ between the two platforms.

Ink and Paper Options

Covers can be printed in color regardless of the paper and ink choices for the interior of the book. Both offer matte and glossy cover finishes.

Currently, three options are available on KDP and CreateSpace for ink and paper for interior pages:

  • Black ink & 55# cream paper
  • Black ink & 55# white paper
  • Color ink & 60# white.

Like CreateSpace, KDP offers a full range of standard book sizes (trim options).

Distribution on KDP

Currently, KDP and CreateSpace distribute to the same Amazon sites, including the US, Canada, Europe and the UK, with the following exceptions:

  • KDP does not distribute to Mexico (yet)
  • CreateSpace does not distribute to Japan.

Unlike CreateSpace, KDP does not offer Extended Distribution to other online retailers, bookstores and libraries. We continue to recommend IngramSpark for Extended Distribution.

In Summary: Should You Publish on KDP?

Our prediction is that Amazon will eventually consolidate CreateSpace and KDP (authors: please don’t panic about your books on CreateSpace; it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere yet!).

We cannot vouch for the ease-of-use of the KDP platform for paperbacks, nor do we know how the experience of uploading files differs from CreateSpace. Author David Gaughran recently published this blog post about the process of moving his book from CreateSpace to KDP. He recommends that, despite the bumps along the road, authors move thier books now before the impending rush. (See this page on the KDP website for instructions to move your book from CreateSpace to KDP.)

Given the above disclaimer, we recommend that indie authors who don’t mind that they can’t distribute to Mexico at the moment, should consider skipping CreateSpace and going to KDP with their paperback. It’s probably only a matter of time before the two platforms are consolidated once they are able to extend distribution to Amazon worldwide (on their website, KDP says they will be adding extended distribution in the future).

Note that if you decide to move your book from CreateSpace to KDP and wish to make changes to your book before doing so, major changes to book files would make the book a new edition, which requires a new ISBN. The other challenge to making changes to your book currently on CreateSpace is that CreateSpace is not releasing application files to authors. Read our blog post on what this means to authors.

Exporting your book from CreateSpace to KDP Paperback or IngramSpark and need to make changes to your files first? Contact us for assistance. A package that includes cover design, interior layout, proofreading, and eBook formatting for books 50,000 words and under starts at $3,000.

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