Thanks to one of our intrepid authors, we’ve learned some more details about CreateSpace’s policies around the availability of your application files after April 20, 2018.
Those of you who have been following this space know that CreateSpace will no longer provide editing and book design (formatting, typesetting) services to self-published authors after April 20, 2018. They will, however, provide print-on-demand services for the foreseeable future. Your book will not disappear from Amazon and you can still order copies of your book from CreateSpace.
If you’ve never used CreateSpace for book design or typesetting (i.e., you hired 1106 Design or another third-party provider of self-publishing services other than CreateSpace, or you formatted your book pages and cover yourself), this news does not impact you. You can read a different blog post!
If, however, CreateSpace didn’t just print your book, they typeset it as well and/or designed your book cover, then heads up.
In our last blog post on the issue, we reported that CreateSpace was making available all book files to authors, both PDF and application files, but that there would probably be an issue with font and image files. No biggie. If you know what fonts you used, any designer worth their salt can purchase and install the fonts and fix up your files.
What’s an application file you might ask? Great question.
Basically, when you are publishing a book, three types of files are being used:
- Your original manuscript file, most likely a Word file with minimal formatting and looking nothing like your final book.
- The application files, which are the files created by the book designer hired to design the cover or typeset the book. The pages in these files look almost exactly like the final book, and any changes made to the book after typesetting (e.g., typos found by a proofreader) or made after publication (e.g., a new, updated edition) are usually made to these application files. Application files include the files for your book cover and interior pages and may be created using InDesign and/or Photoshop or Illustrator.
- The PDF files, which are the files submitted to CreateSpace or IngramSpark for print-on-demand.
The aforementioned intrepid author set out to do some investigating. He had used CreateSpace to typeset his book interior and design his cover, and has invested a lot of time, money and effort around creating his brand via the image on his book cover. He wanted to make sure that CreateSpace would give him his application files so that he would have the flexibility to make changes to the cover and interior in the future.
When queried, CreateSpace gave our friend some unfortunate news. While they were happy to provide their design clients with any files originally given to them (e.g., the original manuscript file, images purchased by the author and given to CreateSpace), along with the ready-to-print PDF files, they would not be giving authors the application files. The reason given is that they’re unable to send native files due to licensing restrictions for fonts and cover images.
What this news means to our author friend, is that should he wish to make changes to his book, he would need to take his original manuscript to another third-party service provider, make the edits, and get the entire book typeset again.
We’re at a bit of a loss of what to say, having just learned of this information recently. But here are a few words of guidance:
- If you have revisions planned for your book and are ready to go, you can purchase changes for your files until March 15, 2018, as long as you can complete these changes by April 20, 2018.
- Please contact CreateSpace and ask for your files—any files—ASAP. Ask them about your application files. Get it in writing (i.e., an email).
- I’m not qualified to discuss the legalities of this issue. Given that the application files will not be released to you but will still exist in someone else’s hands, I advise you to consult an intellectual property attorney for advice on how the PDF files they are willing to send may or may not be used in the future.
Here’s one thing that has occurred to us: When giving someone an InDesign file – the application of choice for book design – it’s quite useless unless the person using it has the fonts and images that belong to that file. Without the proper fonts, the book will be unreadable when you open the file. However, if the file is given to a designer and the proper fonts and images are purchased again, in theory the designer can marry up the file and the fonts and images and, with a bit of tweaking, it should look like its old self. Since this issue leaves so many authors stranded, I wonder if CreateSpace might consider releasing the InDesign files without the font and image files? They have already stated that they will provide the names of the fonts used and the file names of the images used so that both can be repurchased. Even this measure would save a lot of time, effort and money in reformatting a book and leave authors who trusted them in a much better place.
As always, we will keep you posted with any news on this issue.