CreateSpace vs BookBaby: Which One is Best?

CreateSpace vs BookBaby: Which One is Best?

By on Mar 2, 2018 in Publishing

createspace vs bookbaby

Time and tide wait for no man.

This adage is applicable to the publishing industry to a great extent. The traditional methods of publishing and writing have made way for the current trend which is self-publishing.

For years, the author or the writer was the underdog, the David to the Goliath of the behemoth corporations but with digital technology and self-publishing, he can fight back.

Over the years, self publishing has also evolved from something new, untested to a complex and strong method on its own with a variety of options for writers to choose from.

The self-publishing market is one built on reputation, integrity and authenticity because a lot of ‘hybrid’ or ‘vanity’ publishers can end up offering false hopes and dreams to writers.

As a new writer or author, you need to be aware of fraudulent self publishers and instead choose companies that have a track record proving their intent and success.

We understand as an amateur writer you will need to research and compare your options while getting self-published. That’s why we have compared two of the best platforms CreateSpace vs BookBaby to give you our two cents on what platform is the optimum one for writers.

Both the platforms are industry leaders in their own right, provide an excellent range of services and are trustworthy. Before you read this article, you would have an idea about what your project is, the genre, the length and the stage it is currently at.


What is CreateSpace?

Originally launched as CustomFlix in 2002 and acquired by Amazon in 2005, they were renamed CreateSpace in 2007. CreateSpace is a platform providing publishing, printing, distribution, design, marketing services for authors, writers, film-makers and musicians.

CreateSpace has the advantage of Amazon behind it and every writer or struggling author wants the globally popular brand to publish their book.

According to a report published by Bowker in 2016, CreateSpace ranks number one in the self-publishing platforms in terms of ISBN output for print and e-books. The top three service providers (CreateSpace, Smashwords and Lulu) account for 84% of the market share of self-published books in print and digital.


What is BookBaby?

Aimed at writers across all levels and fields, BookBaby is a self-publishing platform. Offering print, e-book, Print-On-Demand, distribution, marketing, design, editing, it also is the only self-publishing company that sends the author a finished proof of the book.

They have managed to be relevant and constantly innovate in this relatively new field by holding conferences for writers, offering free editing services during particular periods and in 2017 they did the largest self-publishing survey ever conducted. This helped them gain insights into the thinking of writers and authors. Interested writers and authors can find the results of the survey here as it will provide them with a deeper understanding of the current trends and things successful authors do to reach where they are.


bookbaby vs createspace


How much does it cost to publish a book on CreateSpace?

CreateSpace understands that not all first time authors and writers can afford expensive publishing packages so they offer certain design and formatting tools for free. The downside is you will have to do everything and it can be a challenge. But they provide guidelines and instructions for anyone wanting to do it their own.

Even with the Print-On-Demand option, CreateSpace will only charge authors for printing costs and shipping. The competitive pricing is a vital benefit writers avail through their platform.


How much does it cost to publish with BookBaby?

BookBaby offers a complete self-publishing package for writers starting at $1,499. Giving the writers the freedom of publishing both print and digital versions, marketing, distribution, formatting, design and ISBN, they claim to have a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee. You get the benefit of having a huge distribution service for your book, customized and elegant cover designs matching the interior and style, high quality paper printing and print-on-demand. Writers can get a quote by entering their preferences and book details. The quote calculator is specific and gives you an exact amount for any service you choose.

Before you think since CreateSpace is free, I should just opt for it, let us add that only certain tools are free on CreateSpace. When it comes to services like editing, e-book, book review and interior layout, they are charged depending on concept, words and copies. Get a rough idea on this blog about the approximate publishing package on CreateSpace.


How much royalty does CreateSpace pay?

Royalty is calculated on the price you set. CreateSpace takes a share out of your royalty for the services they provide in US and European markets. A secret for all upcoming authors is and something you may have noticed, but never realized is that Amazon often sells the book at a lower price than the listed price.  CreateSpace will still pay authors the royalty on the listed price set by them and not at the price the book sells. For example, if you list the price at $25 and the book sells at $22, you will get royalties at 40% of $25.

The royalty rate remains the same for books under the Standard and Expanded Distribution plan.


How much royalty does BookBaby pay?

Unlike CreateSpace, BookBaby doesn’t have a fixed rate of royalties.  The sales, the specs of your book and costs involved in creating the book will decide the percentage the author receives.

BookBaby pays its authors and writers on a weekly basis which can be a great way of adding to your income slowly and steadily.


How do you prepare your manuscript and format it with CreateSpace?

As mentioned above, CreateSpace lends free tools to authors and writers to format their manuscript. The instructions are quite detailed and go through all the steps in a simple manner.  Authors and writers can download a PDF explaining the process. You may save money but the concept is tricky to execute and can be tiresome for someone with zero to minimum knowledge about design and formatting.


How do you prepare and format a manuscript with BookBaby?

BookBaby provides writers with customized and personalized formatted books and manuscripts to ensure the book stands out. The packages for print books start at $349 while e-book formatting costs $299. In self-publishing, often companies will give you template formats to design the book. It may seem trivial but the design and format of a book, the way it is prepared can affect its sales and the manner in which readers perceive the book and its message. Depending on the word count, writers can gauge the approximate costs. If you overestimate, they refund the excess amount.

The design element is crucial because a badly designed cover can put your book to the back of the shelf. They have different packages for print and e-books, the print one starting at $399 while the digital cover version starts at $249.

BookBaby has a wide range of paper to choose from if you have a design specific element in your book.


How do you publish a book with CreateSpace and how long does it take?

Writers should create an account with CreateSpace to get started. Once logged in, they can then avail of all the services depending on what they need. They have explained the process in the FAQ Section of the website making it easy for writers and authors to begin.

The time required to publish a book is variable. The author’s experience, expertise, the team working on the book, editing required and size of the book dictate how long it can take to get your book published. Once your book is completely designed, edited and reviewed, it can go to get published. Since CreateSpace primarily only sells to Amazon, they can publish and have the book up on Amazon in 5-7 business days. If writers opt for expanded distribution to channels such as bookstores and online retailers, it may take up to six weeks for your book to be available.


How do you publish a book with BookBaby and how long does it take?

BookBaby has a simple 5 step guide to publishing they encourage authors and writers to read and download. The guide details everything from how to get started to how to have your book on Amazon. They also have a specific publishing plan for Amazon.

BookBaby reminds you that each book and story is subjective. It may vary from author to author on the timeline and speed at which they work. Since BookBaby submits the final proofs to writers for review, the turnaround can also decide the time taken to get a book published.


Where does CreateSpace distribute your book to?

Global distribution means maximizing the chances of getting your book in more stores and to more readers. CreateSpace, thanks to Amazon has a massive distribution reach in US and Canada. If you self-publish with CreateSpace in their Standard Distribution plan, your book gets sold in the European markets that Amazon delivers to. The Expanded Distribution implies that your title can be available for order through bookstores, online retailers, libraries and institutions in the US.

Both the plans make your book available for sale in European markets.


Where does BookBaby distribute your book to?

BookBaby has a strong distribution network of online platforms, book stores, retailers, libraries and novelty retailers. They have a Print On Demand facility for self-published authors who don’t want to print thousands of copies and have small print runs. You pay an additional $299 for orders of 25+ books.

They state on their website that they have the largest wholesale book network which can be a boon to writers who want their story to be read by readers all across the country and the world. You need to fill the details, list your retail price and upload your files for printing. In approximately 3-4 weeks, your book will available for distribution and on all online stores.



As a first time writer, your decision about whether to use CreateSpace or BookBaby is going to depend on your project and your budget. Both platforms have their pros and cons, so it is not an easy or obvious choice. If you have financial constraints, which are understandable because you are writing your first book or choosing to self-publish, then CreateSpace is the right platform for you. Realistically your first book will not make you a profit, so if you pay $1499 to BookBaby, you have to be confident about at least breaking even.

If you want a team doing the whole work of editing, designing and formatting for you and price isn’t an issue, you should consider BookBaby. All you need to do is send your manuscript, pay them and wait for them to compile everything together the way you want. This is where CreateSpace falls short since authors have to end up doing a lot of leg work themselves which can be daunting. An option to avoid paying almost $1500 while opting for BookBaby is you can just select the service you want, such as designing or editing or distribution.

An indie author or first time writer needs to have global distribution which even though both platforms offer, CreateSpace will only distribute through Amazon. Amazon may be a big fish in the sea but it’s not an only fish. BookBaby has a wider distribution channel and can put your books in all the appropriate stores and sites. But CreateSpace has the upper hand in terms of online sales and distribution since it has exclusive deals with Kindle.

A positive thing about BookBaby is that their website is sleek, clean and simple. It makes it easier to find all the pertinent sections and services. CreateSpace has a basic website that looks slightly dated.

There is a reason though why CreateSpace is the top platform in the self-publishing industry. It is because it pays the highest rate of royalties to its authors. Writers may need a bit of patience to manage the formatting and designing but it will be worth it when you get paid handsomely.

To sum it up, CreateSpace was created specifically as a do-it-yourself option for writers wanting to self-publish without paying exorbitant amounts as packages. And that is why it trumps BookBaby because of its cost effectiveness, services and royalties.

CreateSpace vs BookBaby: Which One is Best? is an article from Writing Tips Oasis.
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Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.


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