Sunday, 15 November 2015

CreateSpace Versus BookLocker: Comparing Service Agreements


RA Williams Publishing is just over a month away from a monuments occasion! December 28th is launch day, and the magazine goes live!

RA Williams Publishing is a magazine dedicated to helping Indie Authors get started and on the road to success. Our first issue will showcase an article all about choosing the right publisher.

Ahead of that, I plan to showcase the differences between BookLocker (our chosen selection for POD publishing) and CreateSpace (the usual choice). By contrasting their service agreements, you'll be able to decide for yourself which of these options is right for you when your big publishing day comes. Let's get started.

Photo Credit: Blue and white flower set - Large sketchbook and small memo pockets 
via photopin (license)

Cover Design and Formatting

If you've completed your manuscript and have a cover and all your formatting done, great! Most authors wait until the last possible minute to get thee important tasks done. If this sounds more like you, don't fret!

CreateSpace offers a DIY option for help designing your cover. This online option leaves a novice graphic designer (i.e., the author) with a short list of options in the cases of cover size and specs. Eventually, you'll end up calling customer service.

BookLocker does not offer the same DIY option. Instead, they offer to help the author with formatting and setup to speed the process along and ensure a primo result. In fact, they offer several publishing packages to best suit the needs of Indie Authors.

Photo Credit: Accounting via photopin (license)

Costs and Royalties

Both sites boast the highest payouts, and lowest fees, in the industry. Which offers them in reality?


After combing through each of their service agreements, and WritersWeekly, I've found that BookLocker's setup fee is the lowest in the business! Including a cover, color and graphics, BookLocker will set you back $675. In addition, as an incentive for returning authors, they charge just $199 for print setup on the second and subsequent works. And there's never a charge for images, be it one or 100!

CreateSpace, on the other hand, asks $1,151 for a complete setup in black and white, with additional charges if you'd like more than two images on the cover. You're also limited to 10 interior images. Images 11-30 will set you back $25 or more.


I'll start with BookLocker because theirs is the easiest to describe. After an initial $250 payment, they'll deduct $50 per month until you've reached the $675 setup fee. How much do they pay in royalties? A flat 70%, always, regardless of whether it's color, black and white, or has 100 graphics. Their payout is always the same. Your monthly fee is deducted from this until met in full. Then, the entire 70% is sent to you.

Createspace uses this handy dandy calculator tool to aid Indie Authors in calculating their payouts. The payout amount is dependent on the number of pages, the trim size, and whether or not it has colors. It can prove confusing if you're just trying to figure out your amount.

You may be thinking, "But they boast a 70% payout on their website!" You'd be right. They do! This, however, applies only to ebooks, which they sell exclusively on Even these royalties are subject to garnishment to pay your set up fees. Their Understanding Royalties page lists the many scenarios under which they could charge additional fees.

Photo Credit: HPe via photopin (license)Production Files

Production File

A production file is the result of converting your manuscript, cover, and any images into a e-reader-ready file. This is something everyone will charge you to do. Which of our selections will let you keep it if you decide to change directions?

BookLocker sends you your production file upon request. It belongs to you because you paid for it. What's their request process like? You pick up the phone (or email them) and ask. Their turnaround time can be as long as a few days, but they'll let you know ahead of time.

Createspace owns your production file. They won't send it to you (that you paid for) under any circumstances. This can affect you if you choose to move to another publisher because you'd have to pay your new house to set it up for you...again.

Photo Credit: el ateneo - avenida santa fe via photopin (license)


While both other printed distribution through Ingram (the industry's top name in book distribution), only BookLocker offers significant ebook distribution. They'll make it available in whatever format is necessary for iBooks, Nook, and many, many more.

Amazon is the only place anyone will find your book on an ebook platform through CreateSpace. Now, before you argue that it's the largest, and fastest growing of them all, think again! Apple is the most widely used form of anything tech the world over. Easy integration into their reader, iBooks, could mean more sales and higher royalties.

In Conclusion

If you've decided to go with Print On Demand publishing for your new magnum opus, remember there are benefits to both.

Both will:

  • Obtain an ISBN number for you finished product free of charge
  • Distribute your printed book through Ingram, making it available at many retailers
  • Offer support with cover design and setup

Whichever you choose, remember you aren't married to this decision. Yes, it'll cost you more money if you start with CreateSpace and decide to move somewhere else, but it can be done.

Remember to weigh the good and bad. Make a list of your available options, a pro and con list, if you will, and think about long-term solutions for your book. In either case, you are responsible for your own marketing, so don't neglect that part either.


  1. Several corrections to your article: Booklocker pays 70% for ebooks, not print books. They pay only 35% for print books. Create Space charges no setup fees unless you need them; Booklocker charges $675 regardless. Also, Writers Weekly is owned by Booklocker, so of course they're going to recommend it.

  2. One correction. BookLocker does have a DIY program. It costs $78 and includes an ISBN and manual inspection of your interior and cover files. (CreateSpace's process is automated and does not pick up many formatting errors, which results in the author needing to pay for more print proofs each time they receive one with errors. Also, BookLocker's fee includes the cost of the print proof. :)