Can You Change Paper Trim Size and Colour on CreateSpace?

Before publishing your first paper book with CreateSpace there are a couple of things to consider. Even though you can update it and change the content, once the book has its ISBN and is live for sale you can’t change its size and the colour of the paper. Also, once it’s linked to its Kindle book on Amazon they keep a certain amount of printed books in stock for their quick delivery system, so if you find any major errors in it and rush to fix them, those in stock books will still have to sell first before the corrected ones become available. You could order them yourself I suppose, but I’m not sure how many are printed for this and I don’t see how you could get them from Amazon’s other country sites.

Most of the CreateSpace books that I have bought are 6” x 9”, mostly printed on white paper, as are two of my own books, but there are actually quite a few size choices. I wanted to change the first book in my series to 5” x 8” with cream paper and only then discovered that it couldn’t be done, so now I have no choice but to use the same for all the books in the series. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s nice to know these things before rather than after publishing.

When you’re ready to publish in paper, take your time making sure you’re totally happy with all of your choices. First grab a handful of books from your bookshelf and see what finished product you prefer. Measure those puppies. Unless you have lots of pages, the 5” x 8” with cream paper looks really good. I will only be using cream paper for my fiction books from now on because I love the way it looks and feels, and you don’t see many fiction books with white paper. CreateSpace actually does a great job quality wise when you compare their finished products to some traditionally printed books. White seems the obvious choice for non-fiction, although that would depend on the look you’re going for.

Once your paper book is live and for sale on Amazon you can’t unpublish it and take it down and then republish it again if you hate the way it looks, because they won’t allow that in case someone who bought it wants to sell their copy. It’s so easy to chop and change or even unpublish eBooks that we’re not happy with, but once the paper books are published and selling, it seems they’re forever.

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30 thoughts on “Can You Change Paper Trim Size and Colour on CreateSpace?”

  1. I enjoy using different trim sizes depending on the project I’m working on. I favor cream paper for fiction and white one for nonfiction. One thing I also do is using the maximum “regular” font size (i.e. 12 points) for my print books, because it is easier to read. It also depends on the market and length of the project, for the trim size. Since I tend to do shorter works (between 25 and 40K), having smaller trim size makes sense so the book isn’t too thin. I find Createspace pretty intuitive to use and allows for interesting flexibility.

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    1. I also use the 12 point size – it looks great. I think a lot of us went for the 6″ x 9″ white paper because it’s the default, but really, fiction has always been cream paper, and looks much nicer. Agree about CreateSpace – it’s amazing the results we can get with minimal effort.

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  2. Jo, I use CreateSpace and I spent a lot of time in bookstores before I published my book, looking at various sizes and formats. I ended up with 7.5″ x 9.2″ for mine and I couldn’t be happier. If my book ever gets picked up by a publisher (ha ha! That’s a joke…) I’ll want the same size. My pages are white, which looks good with the photos I have in the book.

    One last point to add to yours about books in stock with errors: An indie author can make the mistake of thinking – or assuming, rather – that just because the book is published, and just because he thought he corrected/edited out the last remaining error, there aren’t more errors hiding out somewhere. I picked up my book (Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways) every few weeks after it was published and reread it cover to cover and found new little fugitives each time.. And of course sent up new files to Amazon. They usually approved my new file by the following morning.

    By now I think I have it just right!

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    1. You went the right route Jane! I wish I’d spent time in bookstores before hitting the publish button. Those fugitive errors are amazing too – those little guys keep on giving. 🙂

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  3. Interesting about the color choice. I got the proof in cream and changed it to white for the final. I have fiction books on my shelves in both so was undecided. I went with the 6 x 9 because my books tend to be tomes otherwise. This is all so fun! I love it. 🙂

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    1. It is fun, isn’t it? And our books on Amazon get to live forever too. You’re right about the 6″ x 9″ being good for the bigger books and the CS quality means that they look good in cream or white. I love both but lean towards the cream for fiction now because they look totally like traditionally printed books. 🙂

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  4. A very helpful hint. I never thought of publishing my books with cream paper; I’ve always used white. I do agree that Createspace do a good job with the books. As I’m fairly new at this game, I get a kick out of seeing my books in paper, although I don’t sell many. People mostly buy ebooks these days. But I love to give people my books as gifts and a paper book is good for that.

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    1. Agree Jeanette. I reckon those massive paper book sales are all traditionally published and non-fiction, with eBook sales as our bread and butter. Nothing like the feeling of your own book in your hand though. 🙂

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  5. A couple of points: formatting your document for print is way more complicated than formatting for ebook — you have to pay attention to details such as positioning of headers and which pages should have page numbers — if you want the book to look professional, that is. I’ve published only one of my books in print and am generally pleased with the way it looks; the professionally designed cover really helps, but I think I did a good job on the interior design. Inevitably, though, a few infuriating little errors crept in — things like forgetting to bold some text and not deleting one of my private editing marks — aargh! But it is satisfying to heft the tome and flip through the pages, nevertheless.

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