In the second of our two-part feature on Amazon’s offerings for Insurgent Creatives, today we talk about Createspace, the production and distribution tool for physical product (well, initially, but there’s more to it, as I’ll discuss below).
Createspace began as CustomFlix Labs, a service that made distribution easier for independent filmmakers by providing on-demand DVD production, and Booksurge, a print-on-demand book service. Both companies were acquired by Amazon in 2005, and four years later, they were combined under the banner of Createspace, offering on-demand manufacturing of books, DVD’s and music formats, and distribution through the Amazon.com storefront.
Essentially, the process works along similar lines to Kindle Direct Publishing, which I covered yesterday. The creative uploads their particular file (although, given that we’re talking about physical merchandise here, manufacturing specs are much more important — and Createspace provides clear guidelines on these for each category), provides the details, and then activates the product, which is then made available for sale via the Createspace storefront (which earns you the highest royalty rate), the main Amazon storefront (which earns you a slightly lower royalty rate — but still good, and obvious reaches more customers), and, in the case of books that have signed up for the Pro Plan, wholesale sales to other retailers (bookstores, etc.).
The site is no longer limited to physical merchandise. Music can now be offered not only via CDs sold on Amazon, but as DRM-free mp3 downloads via AmazonMP3, which launched in 2008. Films have the option of being sold as DVDs on the site, or being made available as Video-on-Demand via Amazon’s streaming service. Books, however, remain physical — if you wish to digitally release, that must be done via the separate KDP program — it is my hope that eventually they fold all of their independent production and distribution functionality under a single site.
Obviously, given the wider array of product, along with the variables due to formats, size, distribution options, etc., Createspace is far more complex than the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program — and I’m only barely touching on the tools offered and resources available. I urge you to kick around the site for yourself. Certainly, there is also an argument to be made for not putting all of your eggs in one basket. However, when a distribution source has as massive a market share as Amazon does, an Insurgent Creative could easily make a comfortable living just by focusing on having product available there. There are many other platforms available, and you should take advantage of as many as you are comfortable using — but the old marketing adage holds true: Fish where the fish are. Getting your products available via Amazon will definitely drop your line in the most heavily-trafficked waters.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.