amazon on demand 08.08.2007, 12:04 PM
posted by ben vershbow
CustomFlix, Amazon's on-demand DVD distribution service, has just been rebranded as CreateSpace, and will now serve up self-published media of all types. Getting a title into the system is free and relatively simple. Books must be a minimum of 24 pages and have to be submitted as a PDF. Seven trim sizes are available for color interiors, five for black and white. Each title automatically receives an ISBN and is displayed to shoppers as "in stock," available for shipping immediately. You set the list price on your media, Amazon sets the selling price. CreateSpace is listed as the publisher of the book unless you provide your own ISBN, in which case you can appear under your own imprint.
CreateSpace titles apparently are eligible for the SearchInside browsing program (I wonder what the threshhold, or price, for entry is). I assume they will also be open for reader reviews, ratings and such. One thing I'd be very curious to know, however, is whether, or to what extent, CreateSpace titles will get factored into the social filtering and recommendation engines that power Amazon's browsing experience. In some ways, that would be the best indicator of how much this move will blur the lines - ?in the perceptions of readers - ?between traditional publishing and the new, less authoritative POD channels.
Obviously, this presents a major challenge to other on-demand services like iUniverse, Xlibris and Lulu. It will be interesting to observe how the publishing cultures on these sites will differ. Lulu.com seems to hold the most potential for the emergence of a new ecosystem of independent imprints and publishing storefronts, with the Lulu brand receding into a more infrastructural role. iUniverse and Xlibris still feel more like good old-fashioned vanity presses. Amazon theoretically offers good exposure for self-published authors, but again, as I queried above w/r/t social filtering, will CreateSpace titles be ghetto-ized in an Amazon sub-space or fully integrated into the world of books?
Barquentine on August 11, 2007 8:13 PM:
It all depends on whether Amazon
(a) Construct their own printing plant, or
(b) Use the same one(s) used by iUniverse, Booksurge, et al.
There are really three tiers of publishing:
I. The big houses whose books are returnable, remaindered, ruin the environment, monopolise bookstores.
IIa. The indies who imitate their big cousins and use short run offset and who (occasionally) get into (usually indie) bookstores.
IIb. The indies who use LS to print on a POD basis and are generally sold by the online stores.
III. The "POD publishers" like iUniverse, Booksurge, Lulu, PublishAmerica and hundreds more, who print with LS and then double the price and sell it to the author at 50% margin - the author then finds trouble selling it of course.
Which of the above do you think Amazon will be?