Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

ostrich head in the sand

“Where, oh where are my royalties?”

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted Createspace customer support, who gave assurance that all sales were being accurately reported.   FLYING SOLO was now also on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select, as well as expanded distribution channels, which included Amazon affiliates in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.    Sales were being reported to the author from readers and bookclubs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The first note of apparent discrepancy came when a dear friend of the author ordered three copies of the book from Amazon in June.    These books were ordered all at the same time, from direct.   Yet, that cluster of three sales was never posted as such.      Another instance in early July involved the same issue.    Again, a customer ordered three copies, yet no sales were trackable through Amazon’s channels for three sales purchased on the same day.

In the meantime, the author was making public appearnances, being featured on blogs and radio, and rounding with booksignings.   During the months of June and July, no expanded distribution channel sales were posted on the royalty report, yet customers were emailing the author letting her know how much the book was being enjoyed overseas.   More than 15 five star reviews for the novel were posted on Amazon.

What should have shown as a surge of sales, as the book peaked, never appeared on the royalty reports.   The author was suspect.   She contacted Ingram directly, only to be informed that they were not supposed to reveal information to an author directly.  So, the Indie publisher, AgeView Press made the call.    Ingram showed 16 copies of the book ordered through their system total since May.   Those sales never showed on the June or July royalty report.    The author filed formal complaints with Createspace customer service, but received only canned letters in response explaining  that indeed there was an issue with reports in Expanded Distribution and it was being investigated.   Advice to the author from Createspace?  Please be patient.

By August, it was clear there were gross inaccuracies.  The 30 copies ordered from Barnes and Noble never showed up.   Few, if any, sales were listed for August.    Yet. the author had confirmation of over 4,000 copies in distribution worldwide.    The crowning blow came in September.   A plan was devised.    A friend, agreed to help with the investigation.   She ordered a copy of FLYING SOLO on September 7th, taking screen shots of her order and confirmation of payment directly from Amazon.    She printed out her receipt showing date and time of purchase.   The book arrived on September 13, to San Jose, California.   Photos were taken.   The sale was complete.    Copies of all screenshots and receipts were scanned and sent to the author.    By September 20th,  no sales were shown at all on Createspaces report.    Phoning Createspace, the author was informed that no sales were showing for Amazon for the month for that title.    It was time for outrage!     What had been suspected, had now been proven.  Not once, but twice!

Time to climb up the foodchain.  After many phonecalls and emails to Createspace, a Senior customer service “executive” phoned personally and stated he would investigate.    Talk about a wacky result.    Due to the print on demand status of Createspace books, sometimes they are one or two books ahead.   Thus even though your book was printed in one month, but sold in another, a royalty might actually show up in the prior month for that sale.   What???

No one expects to get rich off of writing a book.    Few and far between experience the Oprah Bookclub golden orbs of success.    But how are authors to trust a system, happy to take their money for assisting to create and publish a book, which does not thoroughly, detail accurate sales?    Simply outrageous.   What options does that leave the Indie publishers?     How can they possibly track the success of their marketing efforts.   Is the publishing world doomed to be controlled by the big six?     Are small bookstores and Indie presses to be overrun by powerhouse chains which offer the Indie published writer no turf?

How can the press or the author be sure those sales are accurate with no detail?   Rise up Indie authors!    Repost this story!    Tweet it, facebook it.    Make it go viral.   Print it and send it to your local newspaper and the Associated Press.   This abject fraud is outrageous and MUST STOP!

John R. Clark, Managing Editor, AgeView Press

241 thoughts on “Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

  1. smfernand says:

    Making a federal case out of this would likely be an expensive, drawn-out, and behind-the-scenes process.

    What if an investigative reporter for a major news organization dug into this story? Goliath cheats David. Sling a stone of bad publicity into the eye of Amazon, and let’s see what happens then.

    I, for one, shall be forwarding this blog string to whomever might want to scoop this up and run with it. Please do so, as well.


  2. I, too, have have the same problem with discrepancies between BookScan and CreateSpace reports and I got the same runaround that many other posters have gotten. I sell few enough books that I could correlate when BookScan said I sold a book with the jump in rank at Amazon, so I believe BookScan was reporting real sales, but they never showed up on my CS reports. I got tired of the runaround and gave up complaining about it, but I am certain that something was wrong. I asked CS if someone could be printing my book and selling it without my permission and they said they couldn’t answer that. They assured me that they were paying me for all the copies they printed and so the other sales must be used books, but that was simply not possible.

    • Credit Whisperer says:

      I posted this the other day, but it has other printing over it on my screen.

      Alexis Stuart says: January 29, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      I was told they could also be guilty of Racketeering laws. Check out the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

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      Dean Browning Webb is the author of “Rico Conspiracy Law and the Pinkerton Doctrine”

      Alexis Stuart, Broker Credit Whisperer® (805) 929-2839 Bureau of Real Estate Lic. # 01199688

      I specialize in Credit Power Building and Real Estate Consulting.

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      The following is how we obtained your email address: You gave me your email address.

      On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM, jeanettevaughan wrote:

      > Donna Gielow McFarland commented: “I, too, have have the same problem > with discrepancies between BookScan and CreateSpace reports and I got the > same runaround that many other posters have gotten. I sell few enough books > that I could correlate when BookScan said I sold a book with the jump” >

      • We need to put our evidence together. The only way to collect evidence is to get copies of the proof of purchase from everyone we can. You will not get the proof from Amazon, Create Space or Ingram.
        We can post the evidence on a webpage for all authors to see. I would be happy to upload the documents.
        You can reach me at

  3. Small publishers and authors could be loosing intellectual property rights to Amazon thru Daily Deals. Buyers of books are complaining they are getting ripped off thru reseller Daily Deal via Amazon. If your a small publisher with a published book with Amazon search on Amazon marketplace and watch who is selling your book and how. This thread might give you some insight on Amazon reseller Daily Deals tactics:

  4. normapadro says:

    Hello. I couldn’t see some of my sales either. I got in touch with them, but they explained why. I get my royalties when I’m suppose to. I got a few royalties when I couldn’t see them in the reports and they explained everything. I’m glad. At least I’m getting my royalties. I’m very grateful for that.

  5. Mica Jay says:

    Mica Jay says
    Hi, Thanks for raising this problem. I published with who negotiated a global ISBN to place the book (“Worlds Apart”) on Ingram’s database allowing retailers like Amazon to sell it.
    So the original agreement with Amazon was with Lulu.
    Having sold copies in UK bookshops but seen zero sales from Lulu I checked online and found the book for sale on 65 websites, many under the name Kessinger Publishing, with at one stage 2,900,000 “reviews” on Amazon. Amazon explained these were from booksellers and nothing to do with sales. Lulu sees no problems anywhere.
    Recently I started tracking orders. One was made via on 4 January which arrived 4 months later on 10th April although the buyer and printer Lightning Source (LS) are both in the UK!
    (Since LS is part of Ingram’s it is included in the ISBN contract with Lulu). Whereas Lulu charges £6.82, the buyer paid Amazon £10.30.
    The second was ordered via on 28th February on a site showing Kessinger Publishing at $14.48. It arrived six weeks later with a slightly different ISBN on first and last digits. After several emails to Amazon asking where the money went, I was told it went to them (LS).
    When I checked Author Central on Amazon they recorded “No sales”.
    A recent TV programme on Amazon claimed the one thing that worried Jeff Bezos was customer complaints. There must be thousands of authors whose copyright is being stolen by Amazon but non US residents cannot make a legal claim against a US based company.
    If some proposed legal action was mentioned in the Press this could force them to do something. One man tried to sue Kessinger for stealing his father’s books but was told by his lawyer that a US judge might well find against him instead!

    • menieux says:

      I would talk to copyright lawyers here in the United States. The main media in the United States is owned by conglomerate corporations who will not tackle Amazon for financial and political reasons. Also, if you can get proof of the copyright infringement by Kessinger (get someone to order the book with the different isbn number), file a complaint with the FBI here in the states. I would keep contacting copyright lawyers here (most are in New York City) and suggest a class action. This is happening to a lot of authors here. There are a lot of lawyers here who will tell clients stupid things because they do not want the case. Janet at Good luck and keep posting.

  6. Peter Penit says:

    Many 3rd party marketplace sellers on Amazon undercut prices on books. The money from 3rd party marketplace sellers does not go into the author’s pocket. Books seem to be available for sale even if they are out of print for years especially indie titles. Amazon gets a cut of the sale regardless and seems to do nothing to stop this practice even when notified by copyright holders. Amazon also has a patent to sell used Mp3 and Mp4′s which means Amazon can resell mp3 files as used, virtually stealing copyrights through first sale doctrine. When a publisher hits the accept button on Amazon-Createspace they are agreeing to arbitrate through mediation any future claims against Amazon instead of using the court system. Furthermore, even if a publisher decides not to use Amazon-Createspace as a publisher Amazon still lists the item on their site allowing 3rd party marketplace sellers to sell the item. Hopefully these links are of help:

    • Thanks so much for the excellent post and links!!!

      • Thank you all for your input because I too have wondered most of my book sales came from family so it was easy for me to keep track but did I receive the royalty? Only once ever and it was for 2 books. But, they make sure to sent out their tax statement stating that you got paid an incorrect amount. And twice they reported to me that I had a couple of sales right after they changed the method of pay as to how much need be sold before any royalty would be deposited in account. Now mind you I keep a close eye on my banking account almost daily and would recognize any difference in either direction small or great and they never showed up. So, I’m moving on to publish or promote my books myself.
        I wish you all the best success
        Jeana M Jeffers

      • I took my book “CAPITALIZE on CREDIT POWER” out of Ingram’s catalog two years ago. NO reseller should be able to sell a new paperback, yet AMAZON still is offering my book for sale as a new book and I do not get paid. Once you offer your book as Print on Demand, you no longer have control of your book.

  7. Wow! I found this blog just now as I was googling for info about discrepancies in CreateSpace sales reporting. I published a book at CreateSpace 13 days ago and am already seeing discrepancies. Not bad so far — only 2 “I know for sure” sales aren’t recorded yet on my report. But having had similar problems with traditional publishers, I’m always wary.

  8. So, who took over for CS with you? Ingram or an indie? We pulled our eBooks from Kindle this morning to protect our rights. I don’t want to sell on Amazon and don’t want to business with them again.
    Our Story:
    I feel your pain. I had different issues with KDP. People reading for Free – Posting the Free comment on Goodreads. An Amazon company – no one knows where the Free eBook came from but it was read on a Kindle… HMMM. Goodreads protected the person that we wanted information from regarding our Copyright Materials. We posted our interactions everyday on Goodreads – the Battle to find out where the Free Came From – we kept pushing – they removed anyone that agreed with us. Including our editor in Toronto – who wasn’t even involved. Don’t trust them either… My advice. They are still using our Copyrighted Images – they say if it’s on Amazon – They can use it…

  9. J Kabay says:

    I’m having this issue as well. No bueno. Who do I contact besides customer service?

  10. […] Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with … – Sep 28, 2012 · Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?… […]

  11. seedypoet says:

    I had a similar problem. Not only was I not seeing all my sales, but the royalties that were reported sat in their system for months without any indication of when they would be transferred to my bank account. Everytime I called, I would just be told to wait. So I finally reported them to the better business bureau. The next day I get a call from a createspace sales exec. I didn’t actually pick up the phone. And I didn’t call them back either. On the third day and the third call I finally picked up. They claimed to had identified the problem and was fixing it. I told them I would close BBB case when I actually got my royalties. I finally got them in about five days. This is after waiting for them to fix the problem for over four months with no progress. Seems there was a problem with their royalty payment system that was holding up the sales. Previously, they had actually blamed me a couple of times, saying I must have changed something in my account that was holding up sales, so I was surprised that they actually admitted to the problem being on their end.

    All in all, only after filing my complaint with BBB, they not only identify the problem, but fixed it, paid my royalties, and gave me 10 free books.

    The company is shady, no question. And if they weren’t owned by Amazon, they would have been sued out of business by now. Needless to say, I do not sell through them. I buy the books and sell them through my own website. But this is not an ideal solution. I dread having to deal with createspace again, so I think I’ll give lulu a try.

  12. Reblogged this on Andrew Toynbee's very own Blog and commented:
    Anyone else experiencing problems with Createspace? Pass it on!

  13. Yoshiko says:

    Reblogged this on Yoshiko and commented:
    This makes me question about selling at amazon. What do you all think?

    • Hi, Yoshiko:

      As Amazon is the biggest retailer of books, you really don’t have a choice! But keep your other options open, for example do NOT do expanded distribution through Amazon, use Ligthning Source. Also…use bookbaby for all your ebook conversions. Even Kindle. That is just our advice. Best of luck and thanks for reading. Please facebook and share the post!

  14. Sales usually reported end of month. Sometimes royalties take longer to record esp overseas and sometimes they wait until a decent amount accrues. Forget lawyer.Unless many thousands of dollars provable damages you loose. Lawyer may want $5,000 retainer. But suit against big company may be taken anyway for law infraction.

  15. […] Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?. […]

  16. kgorman717 says:

    I literally JUST published my book on Amazon using CreateSpace and KDP. I’d already heard about the reporting problem with Amazon at a Writer’s conference over 2 years ago at which time I was told there was NO WAY TO ACCURATELY TRACK YOUR NUMBERS through Amazon. I was floored! How could a mega huge online bookstore who served self-publishing authors NOT have a system in place for authors to track their sales (let alone do it accurately)?

    Why did I publish on Amazon? Because for me, it’s not about the money it’s about my message and Amazon is the biggest go-to for online book sales. I can honestly say the only reason why I’m using them is to help spread my message. If anyone has a better choice, I’m open to hearing what it is! No sarcasm there, only sincerity 🙂

    I’m going to tweet, fb, etc this right now!

  17. seedypoet says:

    Of the top four POD publishers, Createspace actually comes in last after Lulu, Blurb, and Wordclay. So I am left wondering why we keep going back to Createspace when we should be supporting the competition in light of Amazon’s shady practices?

    In the past it was because Createspace offered free Amazon listings. But amazon listings with the other PODs are now inexpensive, if not free. I think we are voluntarily under the delusion that because it is Amazon, they will do a better job at listing on their site. I don’t believe this to be the case. The vast majority of Amazon’s catalog is added third party. So what other benefits are there? Promotion, distribution, book listings, superior quality in book printing, better royalties? None of these apply. I honestly think people are just in love with the name Amazon, which carries on a terrific love affair with its customers, but not so great with its publisher clients. The same can be said for Apple iBooks.

    • The only almost safe way to get paid for our books sales is to use a standard book printer and take possession (printers still have your originals, so??) This does mean an investment in inventory and doing the shipping. I started this in 2007 when I learned of unethical publishing practices. With Amazon the discount rate is high and they have me pay to ship to various warehouses, but I get paid quarterly and it is accurate. For large volume sellers there is a serious need for reputable distribution! And Ebooks how and the heck do we really control this??

      • I am curious how you get Amazon to print and you pay to ship the books. I did not know they had a program like that. Ingram Spark is another alternative, but they distribute through all channels and you can get hard copies to sell on your own. I thought you had to use Create Space and disenable expanded distribution to go through Amazon, which owns Create Space for printing. Janet

      • I’ve not used Amazon as the printer. Amazon orders books directly from me and I ship to Amazon distribution centers.

      • That is probably a good plan!

  18. I ‘Liked’ this story, but actually I am appalled! What a rip-off! I sincerely hope the author receives the royalties that are due to her.

  19. […] Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?. […]

  20. marichristie says:

    Reblogged this on Mari Christie and commented:
    Interesting. I have wondered about this myself. I *know* I sold more copies of the cookbook than were reported. I, in my infinite cynicism, just assumed *other people* were lying about it.

  21. Reblogged this on Sally Ember, Ed.D. and commented:
    It makes my heart sink. How on earth are indie (or any) authors supposed to be able to earn and receive the money we deserve from book sales when the publishers, distributors and other middle-vendors are dishonest, incompetent, untrustworthy, inaccurate and unwilling to make corrections? I despair. I am outraged. What to do?

  22. tcarle62 says:

    Reblogged this on Free to Be Me and commented:
    How Do We Know?

    • Hi, Carle:

      Well…in my case, I have copies of the orders place from a Barnes and Noble store via Ingram. I also have had several friends send me screen shots of when they ordered the book and their receipts…yet the sales never showed.

      Just saying….I think it is pretty widespread. Amazon is just too damned big to keep up with all of it.

      Just ask Stephen Colbert!


  23. I live in the tropical forests of Southern India. After all the research and efforts there is sheer helplessness. May God grant me salvation than to suffer in this unrighteous world.

    God help us all
    Babush Bharthi

  24. I am new at this game. Please help me to understand something. Are you saying that when people buy my book from one of the third party sellers listed on Amazon, I don’t get royalties? Is this Amazon’s official policy?

    • With a company the size of Amazon, it is most definitely policy. It is just not a policy they would ever tell anyone outside the company about because it is most definitely also illegal.

      I had a volume coming out this past January, and because I expected a limited run, I decided to try Createspace again just to see if they had fixed the problems (missing royalties, late royalty payments). This time, I had some people buy the books on Amazon before I put them up for sale to the public. Two of those purchases never showed up in my royalties. They were two purchases that were ordered through a local barnes and nobles store in person. The ones ordered on Amazon’s website and through the Createspace portal showed up.

      On top of that, it took Createspace three months to pay me the royalties in my account, and only after I had complained about it.

      The company is a real dog. And not the cute, fluffy kind.

  25. Darell T. Researcher, writer, musician, movie maker, self publisher. Radio Producer. I’ve got numerous books, music, radio show archives, documentaries, a couple movies up on Amazon-Createspace, with radio blogs, & air coverage about such things to promo them on a regular basis, but hardly seen any royalties. Was because people didn’t like what I had to offer, I thought? Or was there another reason that makes more sense and needs to be investigated. So after reading this stories, I’m back in investigation mode, radio reporter press mode. This is my nightmare story with Amazon-Createspace. I thought that being a radio producer, going on the radio now and then, to promo my books, etc., would generate sales. But no! I also spent over a year uploading music too, then Createspace took it all down. Said they were going to do away with the MP3 formate. So all that work was for nothing, & I hardly got any royalties anyways. Here some e-mail exchanges with Createspace that tells more of the story, about getting movies up there on line and other productions. I was very suspicious then, but now am even more, & I’m inviting those who have similar stories to contact me by e-mail to get a radio show going, where each one can call in and tell their story, get it out there.

    E-mail exchanges: I kept getting the run around about why my movies, etc., took so long to go up on line for sales, they kept telling one thing was wrong after another, when I knew I had “fixed” what they said I needed to fix. Here’s the exchanges:

    “Jeremy, & CreateSpace, this is totally unacceptable, to what you are doing to in the final production, distribution stages of this item. It’s already by a run around, stall, approval then unapproved “art work don’t match” game that has going on since Sept. 2013, now you’re telling me that “No further action is required on your part. Currently Instant Video processing is running about 60-70 days.” That’s another two months!, plus! It should be going up immediately at this point, because of all the stalling, and other documented cases I’ve listed here below. I’ve got another music movie in the works, and don’t plan on being treated in the same ways as this first music-movie has been. What I’m concerned is that after 60 or 70 days has gone by, the same bull crap as what happened below, will start up again! So, if I don’t see this music-movie going up with in a few days, further investigations will be done by this radio producer to find out what’s the real story is, what really going on at CreateSpace.

    I’ve already found some disturbing complaints on the internet which has me extremely curious & concerned, which would also make some radio show stories I’m sitting on right now, wondering if I should go ahead with shows! Or should investigate further into the complaints others have made in how they’ve been treated, stalled, don’t get the royalties due them they thought they would get, etc. You really got me curious now & I’m about to go multimedia, as a reporter, blogger, documentary maker, radio show producer, etc. I’m not waiting another 60 to 70 days to see what happens with this music-movie, it’s already been months!

    Darell, an extremely curious investigative reporting Radio Producer.” I’m a radio producer for: Drive Time Live, The Mills Crenshaw Show, airs M-F, 3-6 PM Mountain Time on KTKK 630 AM radio, K-Talk, & still am.

    More e-mails: “Same old issue! No one there able to solve this?

    To the Supervisors at CreateSpace:
    From: Darell Thorpe of CCC.
    Regarding same old issues going back to 9-2013, (Repeated claims, “art work” for music/movie covering is “not right!”)

    Item: 1st Movie of COVERT COSMIC CRUISERS’ BEST MUSIC – 2006-2013; Title ID: 380460 UPC: 887936632105.

    This is the same old rejection, and claims for it “NOT” meeting the 1200 wide by 1600 pixels high, claim! As the many months before. I’ve sent in art work of that size over, and over again. So I can only assume now, FOR SURE, OF ATTEMPTING TO meet this required size, AND MEETING IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, plus many other “rejections” that there’s some other issue that you all there aren’t telling me about. So what is it this time?

    Back in 9-2013, I started getting notices by e-mails about the same thing. This has gone on now from months! Same issue, same response, same answer. Do you think I don’t know how to get this art size right? I’ve got many CD art works, books, & a movie up there already. So the problem is not on my end, it’s on who ever is not approving it on your end. So a supervisor needs to handle this at this point.

    Track record: 9-16-2013 e-mail sent from Createspace, claiming that the art work to the movie is not 1200 by 1600.

    After getting more e-mails about the same issue, I wrote in an e-mail, 12-29-2013: “I did change the Title art work to the 1200 by 1600 and sent in several copies, months ago!”

    12-30-2013, Lauren e-mailed: “Upon further investigation I can see that your files are currently undergoing our file review. They will contact you once the review has completed.”

    I start getting real mad and wrote: “This is the 3rd or 4th time that I keep on getting the notice that the graphics for this Music film CD doesn’t meet the required size, when the others before them did, because I sent them again, and again, and again.”

    1-11-2014, email from Joshua: “Upon reviewing this title I was able to see you have updated your artwork to the correct size and resubmitted it to our Disc team. They will review your artwork within ten business days and notify you of the results.”

    Then Jeremy, 2-1-2014: “Clarify, “cannot include the DVD logo” do you mean by this it can have the title of the music-movie that it is going to be listed as, on the art works itself?”

    “I am sorry to say the artwork does not meet our requirements, I understand that this can be frustrating please resubmit following the requirements exactly.

    “To upload artwork to your Amazon Instant Video title, go to the Sales Channels phase of your Project Homepage and upload to the “Image” field. Please keep in mind that your artwork must be a JPEG image (1200 x 1600 pixels), cannot include the DVD logo or an image that is a product shot of a DVD or VHS tape.”

    So I changed it, made sure it was the right size, didn’t have any so called logos. Then I get this, AGAIN!

    2-1-2014, after so many attempts to get this resolved, I sent a real pissed off e-mail, send an attachment to show that the new art was the right size, was a jpeg, didn’t have any CD logos.
    All of which have been the rejection notices. The e-mails I got back said it would take 60 days for anything to be done with the new work, 60 DAYS? This has been going on since 9-16-2013, if not earlier! Another 60 DAYS!


    Given Proof that there are no CD logos from others’ music CD, including my own, which I have done for CCC.

    Then I get another e-mail from, 2-4-2014, from Nadene: “Your artwork was previously rejected as it was sized incorrectly. You submitted your artwork at 1448×1600 pixels instead of 1200 x 1600 pixels.”

    So I double checked it, IT WAS THE RIGHT SIZE!

    So I wrote, : “Here is the art work again, I checked it, it’s 1200 X 1600 pixels, this is now the 6th or 7th time attempting to meet all your required issues. Now what?

    2-6-2014, Brandon: “Thank you for contacting us in regards to your Amazon Instant Video title. I reviewed the image you attached and I can confirm that it is sized appropriately at 1200 x 1600 pixels.

    So now, as of this date, it suddenly becomes the RIGHT SIZE!

    Then, about a month goes by and I get this from Tony, 3-8-2014: “Thank you for contacting us regarding your title ” 1st Movie of COVERT COSMIC CRUISERS’ BEST MUSIC – 2006-2013.” I got your message, and can see that we need to do some more research. I am connecting with our Disc team in order to get the best answer. You will hear from us within one to two business days.”

    Then, from Tony again on 3-12-2014: “Thank you for your patience while we investigated your support request. After connecting with our Disc on Demand Team, I can advise. I can confirm that we have approved the artwork for your Amazon Instant Video title “1st Movie of COVERT COSMIC CRUISERS’ BEST MUSIC – 2006-2013.” We will make every effort to have your Amazon Instant Video content live in approximately 60 business days on your detail page. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced. Best regards,

    60 DAYS!? IT’S ALREADY BEEN 9-2013 TO 3-12-2014!

    Then on 3-21-2014, from the CreateSpace Team: “The Amazon Instant Video image we received for this title doesn’t meet our specifications for proper viewing. This image needs to be a JPEG and measure exactly 1200 pixels wide by 1600 pixels high.



    Darell, a way beyond pissed off movie-music maker for CCC.

    Something crooked is going on at Createspace, & further investigations need to be done. Anyone that has similiar stories, e-mail this radio producer, and I’ll arrange a show to help get the word out.

  26. I am just hearing about all this and now questioning how and if I get paid for books sold. There see to be a lot of people selling my book on Amazon – under various names and prices – some even say “autographed” which could only be the someone who I autographed a book for resold it – but that doesn’t see that likely. I assume the pattern is SUPPOSED to be if create space prints it then that’s when the credit is given? I really don’t know now that I’ve read all these disturbing posts.

  27. I am having the same problem and will be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau today. Maybe it is time for a class action law suit.

    • I wish I could that the BBB could or would help. Amazon is just too big a monster to which we are all slaves. I have written post after post about this. Steven Colbert talked about it and he is a “star” and very wealthy, but to no avail. My customers understand that I make so little when selling off Amazon…yet that is still where they order!!!! Amazon makes it just too easy for them. Click, click and they are done. They won’t take the time to order off the website I have even though it is only a few more clicks to order…..very frustrating, yet I would make twice what I do off Amazon. Thus…this a broke author!

  28. Paul Darrow says:

    CreatSpace somehow got hold of copyrighted material from myself and has been selling this for over a year. Even after Twelve emails to the Copyright Infringement department, with evidence that they are steeling my work CreatSPace are still refusing to remove the illegally reproduced material and will not cooperate. Stay away from them

  29. Amazon and Create Space sold my book for six year and up to today have not received one cent in royalties from them.They put an artificial no. of dollars ($62) e.g. in my account but the monthly reporting shows 0 zero amount,every month.My book sold as bestseller on Amazon Kindle,no.1 on the bestsellers list, I have a copy of Amazon’s buying choices where all my books are sold as used.Meaning my book was sold as new first,for which I have not received a royalty,and on this page it also say’s my book is a huge seller and selling millions.Contrary to what they report in my account every month.Who does the law protect?

  30. If so many people have a similar experience with Amazon and Create Space why is this supposedly dishonoring of their contract with the author’s still allowed to carry on and nobody seems to report this to the justice department for investigation and IP enforcement by the courts? Isn’t it our own fault that we are loosing all the way? Perhaps with a new President things might come right.Have you tried the FBI?

  31. It seems that this is the norm, theft from authors…I am still debating whether or not to go ahead and publish anything. I don’t want to be cheated,

    Im going through hell with lulu right now and I am left with nothing but the taste of regret. I wasted a lot of money and thought for something pointless.

  32. aafrias says:

    I swear this is happening to me. I’m also with CreateSpace. My mother purchased 25 copies of my book to give out to friends and family back in the beginning of February when the book first launched. She purchased through expanded distribution, so I didn’t think much about the purchase not being reflected on my royalty report at the time. It does say on their website that expanded distribution takes 6-8 weeks to be reflected on the report. Well, now that it’s the middle of March, those numbers should have shown up by now, but still nothing.

    On top of that, I keep having friends inform me that they’ve bought my book. They’ve even sent me pictures of the book when they received their copy so I know they aren’t lying about purchasing it. It’s halfway through March and so far according to CreateSpace, I have sold 16 copies of my book since it launched on February 1st when I know for a fact and can prove that I’ve sold at least 35 copies or more.

    Contacting customer service is a complete waste of time. They just insist that I’m wrong and their numbers are correct. It doesn’t matter what I send to them or what I say. I’m wrong. They’re right. It just goes nowhere.

    • Expanded distribution is a HUGE rip off. Amazon etc makes about ten bucks and you make one!!!!

      • aafrias says:

        I doubt I’m going to make my second book available through expanded distribution at all. At first, I thought reaching a wider audience would be beneficial, even if the royalties were smaller, but very few people buy my books through expanded distribution because my website and all my social media pages direct readers to the Amazon page. In light of that, I’m wondering if expanded distribution is worth having at all.

        Thanks so much for the comment and the advice!

  33. seedypoet says:

    Trying to take on Amazon directly doesn’t do much. They already receive thousands of complaints a day for various issues and it doesn’t phase them. In order to sue them for money owed, you have to prove they owe money. And with no transparency in their sales, you are basically asking them to prove they owe you money.

    Good luck with that.

    The only other option is to hire lawyers to investigate the issue and track down where the sales were made. Very expensive process, and you can guarantee when it’s all over in ten years, the lawyers will be getting most of the settlement, if any.

    The only real way in which average people can take on Amazon is in the court public opinion. Make Amazon’s POD publishing such a stinker in the public view that it gets the attention of the legislature and they have no choice but to fix it before someone does it for them. Because that is the only people they are afraid of. Our congresspeople, not us.

    That being said, you don’t have to go after Amazon directly. Go after Createspace. That is what I did three years ago when they weren’t paying my royalties. I reported it on the Better Business Bureau website. It only took about a day for Createspace to get back to me and finally admit their server was the problem. Up until the point I reported it, they kept saying it must be a problem with my bank accounts and had no interest in helping me resolve it.

    My case link is:

  34. […] Source: Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales? […]

  35. I am n Author . And I discovery that . Book surge is not payin my royalties , I know for thr readers who buy my book

    E – Mail .

  36. SO frustrated. I had no idea this was an issue. Until I paid for a promotion for my ebook that I published through Ingramspark. The promotion went well. My book charted at #31 in its category on I waited for the sales to reflect on my Ingramspark dashboard, excited to find out how many copies sold. Nothing. I waited longer. Nothing. They show zero ebook sales. And yet’s bestseller ranking proves copies of the ebook have been sold. 2 copies? 20 copies? 200 copies? I’ll never know. I paid for the promotion which generated sales that Amazon apparently gets to keep all the money for. I emailed Ingramspark. They said they have no idea how Amazon calculates its ranking. I emailed Amazon Author Central. They replied that they do not have the sales info and that it is reported to my distributor. I am disheartened that this is the result of months and months of hard work as a self-published author. I have 3 books published. 2 with Ingramspark and 1 with Createspace. I have 2 more books poised for publishing and I am thinking of pulling my original 3 and finding another way.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Jeannette, what ever happened with this issue? At the end of your update, you wrote: “A lawyer, David Berke has contacted AgeView Press about joining forces with other authors to draw publicity to this dilemma.” Did you actually try to move forward with legal action? If so, what was the outcome?

  38. seedypoet says:

    Things have gotten worse, not better. The Createspace estore has been discontinued with those links going automatically to the Amazon page. Where you earn about 20% less royalties as Amazon takes a bigger share than the estore did. Royalties you can’t be sure you will ever get.

    On top of this, there have been problems even getting your manuscript ready because Createspace has laid off experienced reviewers. Most of the books are reviewed by less paid technicians now running more automated systems. The result is unexplained errors and miscalculations that keep a manuscript from being approved. Support will get back to you in three days and flip a switch for you so that your book can finally pass their standards. Createspace’s response to this? A solicitation to pay for their in-house editing services.

    I’m sure they are about to end the ebook option in Createspace as well and make you us Kindle Direct.

    I submitted a manuscript in December which came back with no problems. I decided to change a page in the interior (the text, not the specs). Then suddenly the cover was no longer acceptable. Mind you, I didn’t upload a new cover. Just a new interior layout. But now there was a problem with the spine and barcode.

    I’ve started putting my clients on Lulu instead of Createspace. I may still list it for Amazon on Createspace, but all direct sales will go through the Lulu page. They average $0.70 more in price on the production of the book, and they have fewer printing options unless you pay more. But at the same time, they are constantly running discounts on books without cutting your royalties.

    Lulu’s system is also a little bit antiquated compared to Createspace. They actually came before Createspace but hasn’t done much to update their process. But it is not that much of a loss in function. They also don’t offer discount codes. You have to reduce the cost of the entire book if you sell direct from their page and want to give a discount. Or create a second book file and reduce the price for the second.

    Buying books and them selling through paypal or some other eCommerce option is probably the best method of tracking your sales, but sometimes calculating the shipping is a hassle, and if you start to do a lot of sales, this becomes a part-time job.

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