Future Problems with Publishing my Family Histories

For the past few years I have used Createspace.com to published family histories that have been well-received by my family. These are self-published, print-on-demand, economical and private. Amazon is changing and my perfect solution for sharing my family histories just got harder to do.

Amazon owns Createspace.com for their print-on-demand books. They also own Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which they used to publish eBooks. Today, they announced that Createspace.com production is being moved to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I also got a second email that informed me that all of my print books would have to be made available on Amazon. This second emailed makes it almost impossible to keep my family histories private and limited distribution to my family members. On Createspace.com I could deselect all channels of distribution which meant only I could order my family history books. This kept non-family members from order the books but now this option will disappear when all of my books are transferred to KDP.

I still recommend organizing our genealogy research into summaries and then into large Word documents. This allows me to be more efficient when doing research, makes it easier to share information with family members, and will probably be saved by family members. However, publishing in book form will increase the chances that it will be saved for future generations.

Amazon is just beginning to implement change and many details are not available. Hopefully, they will allow some way to allow for some books to be private.

Because publishing my family histories for family members is very important, I will continue to look for platforms to do this. Stay tuned for future developments.


4 Responses to Future Problems with Publishing my Family Histories

  1. Karen Miller says:

    This is an interesting situation, Steve. I have just this summer completed a family history and published it on CreateSpace per your recommendation during a presentation you made at the North Shore Genealogical Society. My family is delighted to be able to order additional copies on Amazon without going through me. I included only the first three generations in my book all of whom are now deceased. Privacy wasn’t as essential with that approach as including the living would have made it. It does limit the book to older generations only. In any case I have been intending to write to thank you for lighting a fire under me to write up 20 years worth of notes.

    Karen Miller

    • sszabados says:

      It sounds like the change will not cause problems and I think I most of my information also fits. My only worry is that I mention some living people who may feel uncomfortable with their names appearing in a public book. This may change my style. I hope the thank you is still there from you. I wish everyone who hears my talk on writing their family history does the same thing.

  2. martyacks says:

    Thanks for the article. I am still a ways away from publishing but am looking at options right now. Maybe this steers me towards keeping the information more private or bit using Amazon at all. I’d be curious to see how your journey goes with Amazon. Were there other changes, such as min/max price or royalties/fees? I am thinking about having a surname (Lenover, Malicote/Mallicoat, Acks) focused genealogy written at some point in time. Perhaps if I avoid living generations I might find even more distant relatives with that surname or descended from that surname by publishing using Amazon while not raising privacy issues.

    • sszabados says:

      I started moving all of my family histories to Lulu.com. Their costs to print are slightly higher and their cover templates are not as fancy but they offer the privacy we need for family histories.

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