CreateSpace going out with a bang as self-published print books boom by 50%

Amazon’s CreateSpace print book platform is going out with a bang as new figures from Bowker show there was a 50% rise in the number of print books with ISBNs published through CS in 2017 in the US compared with 2016.

CreateSpace is being merged into Kindle Direct Publishing but Bowker in 2017 says there were 751,924 print books with ISBNs from self-publishers published on CS, up by half from the 2016 total of 501,043.

CS has been the runaway market leader for print indies since the early days of the new self-publishing age in 2012 but this is by far its biggest annual increase.

Previous years’ print book totals for CS (with ISBNs) are: 131, 456 in 2012, 186,926 in 2013, 292,167 in 2014 and 423,718 in 2015.

Lulu Press is in second place with 36,561 titles during 2017, a 12% annual fall  from 41,907 in 2016. Blurb is third with 19,223 print books with ISBNs, a fall of 10% from 2016.

For ebooks with ISBNs, Smashwords has led the way since 2012 but it is seeing continued declines. In 2017, it distributed 74,290 ebooks with ISBNs, down by 14% from 2016 while second-placed Lulu Press saw an annual fall of 7% to 30,747.

Ebooks don’t, of course, require ISBNs and the vast majority of self-published ebooks go direct through Kindle Direct Publishing which does not release official figures. Also, you can get a free ISBN for print books through CreateSpace and it’s unlikely that the Bowker figures include the titles that use this service.

It was certainly a good year for Bowker, which has the monopoly on issuing ISBNs in the US, as it says 1,009,188 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles (including print and ebooks) in 2017, the first time that the total has topped a million.

The company charges $125 for a single ISBN, although you can get 10 ISBNs for $295, so the self-publishing boom has certainly benefited Bowker.

Bowker calls 2017 ‘a landmark year for self-publishers’ and adds, ‘The clear message communicated by the 2017 data is that self-publishing is still evolving, still growing at a rapid pace, and shows no signs of slowing down.’

You can check out the full report at the Bowker website.

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