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 company owned by Amazon, and the journal, book series editor, or individual author (the publishing partner). These publications are set up via Michigan Publishing's account with CreateSpace, using 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 for any users who wish to purchase a paper copy. In addition, the publishing partner can order copies, at manufacturing cost plus shipping, 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 interiors in black & white or full color, although color costs more (see below).

Print copies

Michigan Publishing can order print 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 retail price of each item for sale. Publishing partners receive 20% of net revenue (the sale price less production costs and Amazon's percentage).

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 a separate PDF 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 submit to Michigan Publishing. This 13-digit ISBN should also appear on the title page verso within the book block (along with the copyright information), in the form "ISBN 978-1-xxxxx-xxx-x".
  2. Send your contact the following:
    • title
    • volume number
    • issue number
  3. PDF files should be prepared according to CreateSpace specs for interior PDFs and exterior PDFs. Note that CreateSpace can provide Microsoft Word templates to help with your typesetting of the interior and a JPEG template for the cover, sized to the book's page count and trim size. Michigan Publishing cannot provide direct assistance in preparing these files, but can answer questions about the preparation procedure not explained in the documentation. There are also some helpful resources available from Create Space
  4. 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 a CD/DVD, 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
      • 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, with or without bleeds (Note: covers are always printed in color.)
      • page color: white or cream (Note: cream paper is not an option for books with color interiors)
      • trim size (in inches)
      • one applicable BISAC subject heading (this refers to a list of subject headings used by booksellers)
      • short description:
        • cannot exceed 4,000 characters
        • cannot contain phone numbers, addresses (mailing or e-mail), website URLs, reviews, quotes, testimonials, or time-sensitive information
      • optional:
        • author biography
        • search keywords (up to five)
  5. If any print copies are desired, specify the quantity and shipping address, and your contact will email you the printing cost and estimated shipping for your approval. If you are within the University of Michigan, you may reimburse Michigan Publishing for the printing and shipping costs using a departmental shortcode. If you are outside the University, you will be invoiced for the amount due. The invoice 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 print copies on your behalf.
  6. 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 specific item on

(Note to staff: see node 1145 in the intranet.)

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