The Truth About CreateSpace Expanded Distribution Channels (EDC)

While we intended to do our own write-up on this topic, research led us to something else. We stumbled upon an older article that covered the topic succinctly, even if it was lacking in citation. In addition, our own investigation shows that little to nothing has changed at CreateSpace (Amazon) since that article was published. If you know otherwise, then let us know with cited and verifiable sources/facts.

Only verifiable facts matter to us and others interested. In the meantime, for those who have always wondered about CS "Expanded Distribution" Channels (EDC), look to the following as food for thought:

"CreateSpace Connections" by Aaron Shepard

At this time, NDAS does not recommend the use of Expanded Distribution Channels at CreateSpace. It will not gain you either (1) exposure to actual readers or (2) profits of any note.

This is based on our own research, work with independent authors and other self-publishers and direct experience, as well as knowledge of how the retail book industry actually works. The result of using CS EDC appears to be little more that 1-2 dozen "parasite" listings on Amazon from others reselling your publication for their own profit. There is no evidence that the publication must be purchased wholesale before they do so.

If you have used EDC on one of your CS print publications, you will see these other listings directly under your publication's listing page on Amazon. These other sellers are merely taking the order, which is routed through CS, and delivery is routed to their (not your) customer.

Exposure to the public on bookshelves will not occur through using CS EDC. Book retailers have access to any ISBN registered publication's overall sales. Until your book sells quite widely, retailers will not stock (purchase) it. Thereby, you gain no exposure to new readers until you already have a growing reader base for that individual publication. In some cases, a retailer might stock a new publication on speculation, if the author has other titles that are selling well currently. That is about 0.01% of self-published authors.

On a $9.99 USD retail publication, you will make $0.14 through CS EDC, which is a royalty rate of about 1.4%... if you get any sales at all through such 3rd party distribution. In other words, though the choice is up to you, selling a print edition through CS EDC is not a wise choice. Use CreateSpace to distribute on Amazon and then look into using your professionally prepared print materials at other major print-on-demand (POD) portals such as Nook Press (Barnes & Noble), IngramSpark, etc.

Yes, that's a lot of extra work. And yes, you should have professionally prepared materials to do so. In the long run, your profits will improve, if your product's content pleases your audience enough to tell others.

Do not detract from your reader's experience of good content, and this requires professional "packaging," whether with NDAS or another professional consultant. Word of mouth is still the number one way to sell more books. Content and presentation of product are king and queen, not the hype of any single distribution system or the advice of do-it-yourself SP "gurus".

A good book deserves good presentation, and readers (customers) know the difference. The latter will always impact the former, one way or another, and is part of the difference between a self-publisher and independent author.

N.D. Author Services [NDAS]

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