Shucks, thanks Amazon

Well shucks, thanks for that, Amazon. I finished making hard copies of Tedrick and putting together a compendium of Adaptation and felt pretty chuffed. Rather than going through Lulu, I decided to use KDP instead.

It’s a different experience, better in some ways, worse in others, but altogether things were looking up. Then I clicked on the option of ‘order proofs’ because, hey, I want to make sure the books print properly. It’s something that Lulu insists upon so that you, the creator, are satisfied with how your books come out in the physical world and I totally agree with it.

So I press the button and it tells me I’ve got 24 hours to check out my cart. Fine, but first let me add a couple of other proofs. Aside from a couple of weird issues, all good.
Then I go to check out. Houston, we have a problem. There’s a big, fat splash of red writing across the page (that’s never good) telling me that what I want isn’t possible. Why not?

What’s the issue?

It turns out that Amazon.com ain’t delivering to Australia no more. That’s right. I can’t purchase my own book. I mean… really?
Looking this up online answers my question: Really.
It seems that because Australia has the GST (A 10% tax on sales), purchases from overseas websites need to attract that tax. I’m not sure of all the politics behind it, but it seems to be something like a dummy-spit by Amazon.

“We don’t want to apply your taxes, so we’re not going sell anything to you unless you purchase from the Australian website.”
Great, but that doesn’t help me because the KDP proof doesn’t allow an Australian marketplace shipment, so I’m forced to use the American one. And around we go. So the tokens expired, I ordered it all again and this time sent it through a freight forwarding company, MyUS.com. The idea is that Amazon ships to them in Florida, then they ship it to me in Melbourne.

It looks legit. Only thing is that now delivery will necessarily take longer and cost more because there are now two shipments involved. Ah, well. So long as I can get the rotten things, I’ll be fine.

Still, I think the whole thing is a bit stupid from a buyer’s perspective – I am willing to pay money for available goods, but because of a spat between a corporation and a government, I have to go the hard way around, pay more and wait longer. What’s more, with Lulu, who also sell through Amazon, they seem to outsource the printing locally anyway, meaning I don’t have the book being sent from half way around the world.

Strange thing is that I just tested purchasing a gas tank from Amazon, and that seemed to be shippable from the US. So A petrol tank can be shipped, but books can’t? I don’t get it.

Even stranger, when looking at the page for Adaptation, it says it can be shipped to Australia, whereas Tedrick Gritswell cannot. Now I’m really confused.

If anyone has any insight, I’d be glad to hear it.

KDP – The End Result

After doing all the setup and tweaking and uploading and tweaking again, I got to the point where I could actually submit the book for publishing.

As I’ve already explained, while CreateSpace does allow Author copies, Amazon does not. No big deal, let’s just order the damn book already and make sure it looks as it should.

Postage to Australia is a bit on the hefty side so I ordered a couple of copies, clicked on the PayPal button, forked over the cash and sat back.

And waited.

Not that long, it turns out. The estimate was about three to four weeks, but the book arrived in two. I’m guessing they err on the side of caution, and it’s a bit of a bonus when you get that big, fat package in the mail and you know what it is, even though it’s early. Oh, the excitement!

So how did it go? Did it work out? See for yourself:

TedrickGritswellHardcopy

Ta-da! Not bad, not bad. I quite like the matte texture of the cover. That’s a nice option. I’m used to a glossy one, but I think the feel comes out alright although the darks are very dark indeed. It’s always the way – how things appear on the screen is not a true indication of how they’ll come out when printed, and that’s true of every book I’ve printed.

You can see this more clearly on the rear, where there’s a lot of dark:

TedrickRear.jpg

And the positioning of the ISBN comes out trumps as well. Chuffed with that. The spine looks like this:

IMG_20170704_130713.jpg

It doesn’t come up too clearly in the shot, but the front bleeds about a millimeter or two onto the spine. Nothing drastic, but it does demonstrate that you cannot have absolutes in your printing – always assume that the cover might shift a little this way or that, and don’t stick anything sensitive onto the edges.

Internally:

TedrickInside.jpg

Yup, that’s cool. I like the choice of cream over blanch white, it feels better and the print isn’t so hard on the eyeballs. I’m glad I fiddled with the margins so much. You can see that the distance fro the spine to the text is comfortable, not squished into the binding, and the distance from the outer to the edge is also comfortable.

The ISBN and front matter is all good. I don’t mind the table of contents, that’s fine. There is an extra page or two at the back (not shown here) with “Made in the USA, San Bernadino, CA.” Which is interesting. I think Lulu out-sources its printing to be closer to the point of delivery, whereas – guessing here and please correct me if I’m wrong – Amazon would have its own presses.

In future, I might consider putting page numbers at the bottom, leaving the chapter heading at the top. We’ll see.

So that’s that! The process is similar in many ways to how Lulu does things, with certain differences involved, mostly around the uploading and proofing side of things. KDP is not heavily restrictive in the way it does things and there are some smarts that help you out along the way.

If you’ve got any questions, just drop me a line.

Happy writing!Mini Jeztyr Logo