CreateSpace has been helping authors prepare their books for sale for years. While most of the books ended up on Amazon, they also offered Extended Distribution. This was a paid service that allowed your book to come into the hands of many powerful businesses and retailers, but the cost was often too much for indie authors who were on a shoestring budget. However, those days have changed. Extended Distribution is now free, and this can change the face of self-publishing forever.
What is Extended Distribution?
Normally when you used CreateSpace, your book would only be sold on Amazon and perhaps some other ecommerce outlets (like your own online store). However, Extended Distribution allowed retailers, libraries and other businesses to find and purchase your books in much larger quantities, which could lead to massive sales and increased exposure.
Being able to cater to business customers, rather than just regular consumers, has many obvious benefits. However, the biggest one is the massive (and consistent) orders of your books. Instead of buying one, most businesses will buy dozens or even hundreds if it’s successful.
How does Extended Distribution really make a difference? Why can’t businesses just find and buy your books from Amazon? The thing is that businesses and libraries go through special channels to buy books. They do this to get the best price, and also to ensure the best profit by choosing successful books that match their demographic.
This would be impossible by just searching Amazon because thousands of books would show up that wouldn’t match the store’s needs.
You could also try to talk to the businesses yourself, but there’s also a problem with that. Businesses don’t like working with independent authors. They would rather work with publishers because they better understand the business side of selling books. If you didn’t have a relationship with a publisher (or pay for Extended Distribution), then you were stuck selling to regular consumers.
Think of it this way. Businesses like working with large distributors that can order a massive number of books, and that know what successful books are. If your book isn’t listed with one of these large distributors, then the business won’t even know you exist. Even if the business asks for your book by name, it would be impossible to get your book because the distributor won’t have access to it.
Not only does Extended Distribution make your book available on the large commercial lists that businesses prefer to work with, but this also gives you access to different channels while boosting the business’s trust in your book.
Retail and Online Channels
Who exactly does CreateSpace work with to get your book into libraries and businesses? Sometimes CreateSpace works directly with large retailers, such as Barnes & Noble. CreateSpace will also work with other on-demand printers and online retailers like Ingram and NACSCORP, which serves colleges, retailers and many other businesses and establishments. They will also work with distributors that stock libraries, such as Baker & Taylor.
You are also eligible to be part of CreateSpace Direct. Professional resellers will sell your book to their clients. All of these companies want to make money by selling popular and relevant books to their clients. If your book starts to make waves, then you can expect to find the book on store shelves. Not only that, but they will make sure that the right people see your book, which can lead to big orders.
So, businesses can order the books whenever they want, but how long will it take until the business has them? Since CreateSpace functions as an on-demand printer to keep costs low (there’s no reason to print thousands of books if they’ll never be bought), it might take a little longer than a warehouse that’s full of popular books. However, the business or library won’t have to wait long.
Most businesses will just have to wait six weeks until the books are printed, shipped and at their store.
This is obviously a great way to improve your exposure and selling opportunities, but how much can you make per sale? CreateSpace takes four things into account when computing your royalty: your price, the sales channel percentage, fixed price and per-page price. You can find out more here:
While the price can change rapidly depending on how the book is sold, how long it is and the number of colored or black and white pages, you can expect about $2 to $3 for each book at a standard price of $9 to $10. This is less than you’ll make through Kindle, but you have to remember that these orders are typically bigger, and they’re more important because they serve as a marketing opportunity.
Getting Extended Distribution
Making your book available through Extended Distribution is now incredibly easy since you don’t have to pay for this service. You just need an ISBN number. If you don’t currently have one, then CreateSpace can provide you with one. Here are the specifics:
- CreateSpace Direct: You can have your own ISBN, or CreateSpace can assign one.
- Bookstores and Online Retailers: You can have your own ISBN or a CreateSpace one. However, if you have your own, then it must not be listed with another distribution service.
- Libraries and Colleges: You must have a CreateSpace ISBN.
Now that Extended Distribution is free, every indie author has the ability to see his or her book in bookstores, libraries and other retailers just like if he or she went through traditional publishing channels. This presents a great opportunity, and it gives you the respect of being able to sell your book at an actual business and not just online. Be sure to take advantage of this major change to boost your sales.