Print-on-demand publishing through CreateSpace

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Michigan Publishing operates a robust print-on-demand service that sells high-quality, low-cost reprints of public domain books from Michigan’s digital collections, of previously out-of-print titles by University of Michigan faculty, and more. We can also make issues of our hosted journals available as print-on-demand softcover copies.

For these serial publications, Michigan Publishing acts as a broker between CreateSpace, a print-on-demand printer owned by Amazon, and the journal, book series editor, or individual author (the publishing partner). These publications are sold on Michigan Publishing's account with CreateSpace and are submitted to CreateSpace by Michigan Publishing staff with an ISBN assigned (and paid for) by Michigan Publishing.

Do we really need an ISBN if our journal already has an ISSN? Yes. An ISSN is a unique identifier for the journal title. Its use aids in tracking subscriptions. An ISBN is unique identifier for an inventory item, like a book or a journal issue sold individually. For items published in the US, while ISSNs are free, ISBNs, unfortunately, cost money.

Items are included in the Amazon catalog, and links are provided from Michigan Publishing's online version to Amazon for any users who wish to purchase a paper copy. In addition, the publishing partner can order copies at manufacturing cost through Michigan Publishing.

Below is a more detailed description of printing capabilities and costs, as well as instructions for Michigan Publishing's publishing partners.


Printing capabilities

CreateSpace can print items in a wide range of trim sizes, subject to minimum and maximum page counts. CreateSpace can print in monochrome or full color, but color costs more (see below).

Sample and complimentary copies

Michigan Publishing can order sample and complimentary copies on behalf of publishing partners at the cost of manufacturing plus shipping.

Revenue model

As in our publishing agreements for POD printing, Michigan Publishing sets the sale price of each item for sale. Publishing partners receive 50% of revenue (not of the total sale price, which includes the cost of manufacture and Amazon's profit).

In the past, Michigan Publishing offered other revenue models to publishing partners. If you have an agreement using one of these models, you'll find separate information for you.


Our publishing partners are responsible for providing Michigan Publishing with ready-to-submit files: a print-ready PDF of the cover and one of the interior pages. Here's the procedure:

  1. Ask your contact at Michigan Publishing to give you an ISBN for the new issue of the journal. You will need the ISBN in order to name files that you submitted to Michigan Publishing. It is also good practice to include this ISBN somewhere in the book block, such as on the title page verso (with the copyright information). Send your contact the following:
    • title
    • volume number
    • issue number
  2. PDF files should be prepared according to CreateSpace specs for interior PDFs and exterior PDFs. Note that CreateSpace provides Microsoft Word templates to help with your typesetting of the interior and a JPEG template for the exterior. Michigan Publishing cannot provide assistance in preparing these files, but Michigan Publishing has a representative at CreateSpace who is happy to be contacted if you have questions about the preparation procedure not explained in the documentation. Your contact at Michigan Publishing can provide you with the contact information for the CreateSpace representative. There are also some helpful resources available from Create Space
  3. Send the files to your contact at Michigan Publishing for submission to CreateSpace. These can be sent as email attachments or mailed to Michigan Publishing on disk, or Michigan Publishing can download them through FTP. The files should be named as such (where 978123456789x is the ISBN assigned to the issue by Michigan Publishing):
    • 978123456789x.pdf —the PDF for the interior (the "book block")
    • 978123456789x-cover.pdf — the PDF for the cover
    • 978123456789x-metadata.txt — a text file containing the following:
      • title as it should appear in the Amazon catalog
      • primary author:
        • prefix
        • first name/initial
        • middle name/initial
        • last name/initial
        • suffix
      • short description
      • additional contributors (names broken down as above)
      • subtitle as it should appear in the Amazon catalog (optional)
      • volume number
      • interior style: black & white or full color (Note: covers are always printed in color.)
      • page color: white or off-white
      • trim size (in inches or millimeters)
      • one applicable BISAC subject heading (this refers to a list of subject headings used by booksellers)
      • optional:
        • author biography
        • search keywords (up to five)
    If any sample or complimentary copies are desired, specify the number and whether you require an invoice for this amount.
  4. Your contact at Michigan Publishing will set the issue up to be printed and sold. (Note to staff: see node 1145 in the intranet.) If sample or complimentary copies are requested, your contact will calculate the cost and invoice you (if you require it). The amount due may be paid by check (from US banks only), wire transfer, money order, or credit card. Once the invoice is paid, your contact at Michigan Publishing will order the sample or complimentary copies on your behalf.

Once the item is available for sale, Michigan Publishing staff will add a link from Michigan Publishing's online version of the journal content to the item for sale on Amazon.

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