Because I’m a Canadian author and often blog about self-publishing in Canada, Canadians contact me with questions. One frequent query is how to get print books onto Amazon.ca. It’s easy. Use either CreateSpace’s expanded distribution program, or go with Lightning Source.
Advantages: CreateSpace is easy to use. It was created to work with the individual self-publisher, so there’s lots of help as you’re stepped through the publication process. It’s also cheaper to setup a book than it is at Lightning Source (LSI).
Disadvantages: Even though Amazon.ca is essentially Amazon, you have to put your book into the expanded distribution program if you want it on the Canadian site. CreateSpace takes a whopping 60% cut of each sale you make through expanded distribution, so you’ll earn less per sale on Amazon.ca than you will at Amazon.com.
UPDATE (October 18, 2013): It has been brought to my attention that the CreateSpace expanded distribution program might not get your books into Amazon.ca. When an author asked CreateSpace about Amazon.ca, she received the following response:
“We currently do not have direct distribution to Amazon.ca. While some people may have found that there (sic) title was made available to Amazon.ca because they enrolled there (sic) title in Expanded Distribution, this is not something that we can guarantee.”
Advantages: LSI treats Amazon.ca the same as it does Amazon.com, so you’ll earn the same amount per sale on both sites. You can also set your discount as low as 20%.
Disadvantages: LSI only works with companies, so you have to create a company to get an account with LSI. That sounds more onerous than it actually is. All you have to do is register a company name and get a business account at your bank. Also, LSI doesn’t do much hand-holding. It has recently started to put up tutorials, but it still expects you to provide print-ready files without any help. Finally, it’s more expensive to setup a book than it is at CreateSpace.
It’s a money vs. ease/convenience decision. If you’re determined to squeeze every penny out of a sale, then go with Lightning Source. If you want a more user-friendly experience and you don’t want to create a company, go with CreateSpace.
If you’re wondering how to get Kindle books onto Amazon.ca, it’s simple. When you’re filling in your book’s details on Amazon KDP, selecting worldwide rights or Canada will make your Kindle book available on Amazon.ca.
Being Canadian Doesn’t Mean You’ll Sell More on Amazon.ca
I often hear, “I’m a Canadian author, so I need to have my book on Amazon.ca because that’s where it will sell.” That’s not true for most books. If you’ve written Canadian literature or on a subject that’s of particular interest to Canadians, or you’re well-known in your community, then sure, Amazon.ca might be the prime Amazon venue for your book. But if you’ve written genre fiction, or on a subject that isn’t of specific interest to Canadians, Amazon.ca won’t be the be all and end all. Amazon.ca shoppers won’t know, or care, that you’re a Canadian author.
Even though some of my books are set in Canada and use Canadian spelling, I sell many more books on Amazon.com than I do on Amazon.ca.
Do you know of other ways to get print books onto Amazon.ca that don’t involve hefty transaction fees? Let us know in the comments.