I welcome the announcement in the latest KDP Newsletter that ‘Author and Proof Copies’ are now available to order – bringing parity for UK writers with the Createspace version currently available to those in the U.S.
BUT – I urge caution for anyone ordering more than ONE copy!
Once I uploaded my files to the stringent specifications of KDP last December I had to reduce the list price to the lowest possible so that I could order some copies for my immediate needs. Then I had to return the page to show the full list price. Thank God I won’t have to do that anymore! But once my books arrived I was disappointed to notice some slippage to the cover design affecting four out of the six printed by KDP. The yellow colour of the back cover had started to edge onto the green area of the spine, and it gives an ‘amateur’ impression for what is sold at a professional price… Not good!
I approached KDP about it and received an apology. They reassured me this was an isolated incident, and that they sought to produce a quality product for every customer. It would not happen again.
Except it did.
I’ve just received a second batch of five that have the exact same problem. Copy No 1 is fine, but then the slippage progresses up to two millimetres – and bearing in mind how strict to the millimetre KDP are on the file to be uploaded, I find that kind of result unacceptable.
So I’ve withdrawn my paperback from sale until I am reassured KDP have resolved the issue – and I’ll take some convincing! Am I being too fussy, or does this sort of thing come under the description: ‘a small amount of printing and color variance in a given book is expected’ given by KDP under their advice regarding defective copies?
Let the author beware!
Whenever there's a problem like that, contact them and they should make it right--for free. At least that's what Create Space does.
I had an issue with ONE author copy where the text was printed on a slight downward angle. I contacted them, sent an image of the issue and they sent me another copy free of charge (and next day, too!).
I have dozens of books on CS and that was the only issue I ever had with them. I'm sure KDP Print Beta (also a 'Zon company) has the same policy.
Maybe I can get info here. I had assumed that with modern print methods, they can "make" a very small "run of some
book. Right? I mean, long ago, you had to pay lots to get big runs of, say, 100,000 books. Per volume. The more the
copies printed, the faster, the cheaper. The more profit. That was always so.
If with this "POD" way of yours, they can print and deliver one, 2 or a few dozen books, then that may work out as economy.
That nobody ever told me about. (They told me more about sex.) No joke, even. I imagine that is done in Seattle, and in
local very fast, smart, printers in Europe, the UK, Australia, and other places to avoid high shipping costs from one
continent to the other. The normal publishers do this. I have seen reports on one certain company like this. They
may be "hybrid". Latest wisdom. We think.
This sounds nerdy, but since (we know) they do the same in the modern steel industry, why not the same
in book publishing. It is of course, less dangerous and much cheaper. But you can confirm this. As for
Formatting, some of the others must have wondered about my obtuse act. They have appeared out of
nowhere as mysterious Beings. yet were benign.
Notjohn and co – really appreciate your comments, but I will just throw one extra ingredient into the mix: There is no longer any difference between Createspace and KDP so far as printing is concerned!
I looked at this forum in December just after I’d uploaded my files for printing by KDP. I saw those same comments about one being good at one thing and poor at the other. So I thought ‘Oh sh*t – maybe I should have gone with Createspace.’ Well, I decided to put the theory to test after my initial supply of books from KDP, and I submitted the exact same files to Createspace. Result? They ALSO produced copies that were suffering from slippage!!! BUT – their customer service was quick and responsive, I’ll grant you that. They offered to do an extra check if I wanted more copies, which was nice, but not practical. And they did refund my money.
What it comes down to is postage. It will cost my readers in the UK more to order books from Createspace in the US. So this is why I welcome the ‘same’ type of service being available in the UK. They even use the exact same paper for printing now on both sides of the pond (unlike the initial run I had from both suppliers – different matte cover).
I’m happy to say KDP do seem to be treating my complaint seriously, and they state it will take them up to 11th February to investigate fully. Watch this space.
Actually, Alan, your UK readers won't order from CreateSpace. They will order from Amazon. So they will pay the same shipping (free if they're Prime members) whether you published through KDP-print or CS. They will have no way of knowing which it was.
So the difference is not for readers but for authors. European/UK authors can now get author copies with much cheaper shipping through KDP-print than they were able to get through CS.
But glad you're getting your weird color-slippage taken care of!
Here’s the promised update – with IMPORTANT ADVICE FOR POTENTIAL NEW AUTHOR/PUBLISHERS:
Much as I expected, KDP have elected to describe this issue as ‘allowable production variance’ which they describe as being up to 3mm. (That measurement also covers the bleed edges around the circumference of the cover.) ‘Because of this variance, cover designs with spines that have hard edges or lines that end on the fold line may experience some wrapping to the front or back cover.’
That advice, together with some very specific ‘tolerances’ now appear in the KDP PRINT PUBLISHING GUIDELINES, which is a document they produced towards the end of January. (I published my book a month earlier.) Potential authors looking to use KDP to publish are strongly advised to check out the advice there to avoid the situation I found myself in. Links to it are now found in the pages of KDP.
Please note that my book only has 213 pages, and the physical width of the spine is 14mm – so a variance of 3mm is quite dramatic. I have recommended to KDP that they review this ‘allowable variance’ on books that contain less than 250 pages, so that action could be taken at the printing stage to improve the process on books with smaller page counts.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and my designer has now had to revise my cover to get round this ‘variance’. I have learned more of KDP’s limitations through this exercise, but I hope they too will learn, and make suitable adjustments to lessen the risk of further incidents like this.