CreateSpace or KDP Print? Which One Should YOU Use?

Tell me your requirements and I'll tell you which one is best!

With this super simple breakdown, your decision is super simple! (and easy too ;-)

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As you can see in the table above, I put a lot of weight on the ability to update your print books “on the fly.”

When you update your print book in CreateSpace, they will “freeze” your book during the changes and review process.

Your Amazon salespage shows “not available at this time” !!!! — and will instead put a link to other suppliers (if any)!

That means you get ZERO sales.

But it is much worse than this. The problem is, this also “breaks the algorithm.”

If you just launched your book, and it is enjoying a good run in Amazon, i.e. Amazon’s A9 algorithm has picked it up and is showing it more and more — well you just broke that connection.


This can be the end of your sales for a long time :-(

When you publish your book with KDP print however, it is just like your Ebooks, you can make changes on the fly, and it doesn’t matter! Your book will be shown, and the older version will still be available until your edits are live.

This is a big deal for me because I like to “bang” the books out as fast as possible and make updates as I go.

I will be publishing my print books with KDP print from now on.

There is however one big reason to still use CreateSpace.

Buying copies at cost.

With CreateSpace you can buy copies at your cost (wholesale) and send them as gifts or as ARC’s (advanced reader copies) to your Beta-readers or street team or ambassadors.

This is also a HUGE point.
Because if you are launching a book, and getting your beta-readers involved, well that can get quite expensive if you have to send everyone a copy of your book through the KDP interface.
With CreateSpace you just buy a copy at your price and send it to your readers = awesome!
With KDP print, you have to buy the book through the normal Amazon salespage! That means you pay full price for the book, and get royalties later. Which does work out to be much more than buying at cost.
I want to be able to change my book on the fly, AND order ARC copies at cost.
For my specific requirements, and my way of publishing though, KDP Print works better.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in ONE Basket.
Another Suuuuper important point is that CreateSpace, although owned by Amazon, is stil a different company with a different customer service.
This can become an issue reeaally quick!
For example, Amazon blocked one of my Ebooks because I had included an open domain pic from Wikipedia.
After days and days of pleading with them — they kept it blocked — even though I had corrected the “bad” pic.
Solution: I published the print version on CreateSpace — boom! — no problem!
Amazon are real JERKS about using Wikipedia as a source.
CreateSpace is not.
As a matter of fact, I no longer include the word “wiki” in any of my books anymore.
I have even had books temporarily blocked because I included a citation from wikipedia!
This is seriously lame, because it is totally normal and acceptable to reference Wikipedia nowadays. But it looks like Amazon has some kind of checker in their review process that automatically scans your manuscript for “wiki” and if found — blocks it!
So if you are writing a book, ebook or print (remember I recommend to make BOTH) and you have a lot of citations and notes to wikipedia, I seriously recommend you start the print book in CreateSpace.
The above are my three main criteria. You can also see in the table above that I don’t place much weight on expanded distribution, ease of use, 5 vs 7 keywords, and having one dashboard.
The first point (changes on the fly) and second point (ARC copies at cost) are the two that really break the bank for me.
So in order to make it SUUUPER simple, we can put it this way:
  1. If you are like me and need to make a lot of changes after publishing — use KDP Print.
  2. If you have to order A LOT of ARC copies — definitely use CreateSpace.
Another hybrid method comes to mind. What if you want both, like me?
Well you could publish your print book on CreateSpace FIRST, order tons of ARC copies and send them to your readers.
Then when your launch is over, and you find you have to make some updates or changes, MIGRATE your book to the KDP platform.
This is a ONE click issue, and Amazon makes it really easy.
Now this does entail some work, and you will indeed have to input or change some stuff in your KDP dashboard when the migration is over, but this is the only way to have the best of both worlds.
So make sure you have all of the ARC copies you need before you hit that button.

What about the keywords and categories?
In KDP you get 7 keywords, in CreateSpace you get 5.
In KDP you also choose categories according to Amazon’s own category structure, or tree. In CreateSpace they use the BISAC categories (Book Industry Standards and Communications) which are much different than Amazon’s.

I don’t consider this to make a big difference, because you can add the Amazon categories to your CreateSpace book after publishing it.

Createspace customer service is very good and all you do is write them an email and tell them to add your book to a chosen category.
You send them the exact AMAZON category like this: Books>childrens books>animals>crocodiles . 
This way you can add your book to TEN AMAZON categories! I’ve done it(!), just give CreateSpace ten “>chains>” and they will add your book to them.

For example, I noticed my book “Navy SEALs for Kids” was only showing in ONE category. So I quickly went and looked at the categories that the Bestseller “Extreme Ownership” was in. I copied and pasted and sent them to CreateSpace (through the help desk) and they added them within two days.

So it is after the fact, or better said; after publishing, but for that reason I don't consider it a big difference. I put all of my CreateSpace books in specific Amazon categories (after lotsa research!) right after I publish them.

KDP = 7 and CreateSpace = 5.

This does bug me indeed. So I make sure to make every book I publish part of a series. Even if it is a ONE book series. This way I get more keywords.
Those keywords are a gift — use ‘em!
That’s it for now my friends — please leave your comments on my YouTube Channel:

KDP Print VS CreateSpace - Which One is "Best" ?

From Visually.